Bonding with your dog is so important for both your family and your dog to have a nice home environment. It’s mutually beneficial to incorporate your dog into the family home and strengthen your relationship, as they will be more responsive to you and well-behaved in social situations. Find out how to do this with our top bonding tips. 

Top 11 Tips To Bond With Your Dog 

1. Spend Quality Time 

Spending time with your dog is key to creating a bond with your dog. It is particularly useful to spend 1-1 time, so they can improve their socialisation, mental stimulation and exercise levels. Not only does this help your dog, but studies have shown that dogs can improve your own mental health by decreasing anxiety symptoms, providing companionship and boosting self-esteem. 

2. Sometimes Feed By Hand

Feeding your dog by hand can strengthen the bond between you two because it promotes you as a positive figure. You will be seen as trusting and approachable. This is particularly useful for shy dogs or if you have had trouble getting your dog to come to you or listen to you. 

3. Look Into Their Eyes

By making eye contact with your dog, it releases a hormonal response called Oxytocin, which is key for bonding. This happens both in humans and dogs. Studies have shown that this is key to generating trust and is a sign of mutual affection and understanding. 

4. Showing Affection

Hugging, patting the head, or simply being close to your dog is also a great way to strengthen your bond. It gives off positive signs that you are welcoming and a trusting caregiver. 

5. Training 

Dog training is a great way to incorporate 1-1 time and keep your dog mentally stimulated. Having quality time and teaching them new commands is always a good way to create a bond. Find out more information about dog training with our best dog training tips and best dog training methods

6. Keep Commands Short 

Your dog wants to understand you and be responsive to hand or voice commands. Keeping commands three words or under, will make what you are saying clear and concise for them to understand. By having that mutual connection and receiving positive praise will make your dog react more positively to you. Frustrations may run high if you are being too overwhelming, and they don’t respond how you want them to. 

7. Be Consistent With Rules 

You will strengthen your bond by keeping consistency with the house rules. If you don’t want your dog to do a certain thing in the house, you need to be clear and reinforce it should they continue. If one day an action is OK and then the next day it is not, your dog can get frustrated with the miscommunication. 

8. Patience 

Showing patience with your dog will help them to understand expectations and perceive you as a positive figure. By also understanding that they are not going to react to everything like a human would in the same way, it will help you understand your dog’s nature and behaviour patterns. This will pay off in a mutual understanding in the long run. 

9. Involving Your Dog In Day to Day Family Life 

Making sure your dog is involved in day-to-day life will help them feel part of the family and home. They will feel more settled with you and the family and be included. This could be as simple as interacting with them while doing household chores. 

10. Respect Your Dog’s Emotions 

Having an understanding of how your dog is feeling day-to-day will help you improve positive boundaries. If they need a bit more attention? Try to give it to them. Do they act a little more disinterested? Don’t try to overstimulate them by giving a lot of commands. 

11. Creating Structure 

Creating a solid routine and structure will help strengthen your bond and increase communication. Your dog will have expectations for the day and appreciate the set task times. This could be as simple as meal times, walk times and evening winding downtime. 

How Long Does it Take to Bond with a Dog? 

If you have adopted a dog or get an older dog into the home, there’s usually a 3-3-3 rule that outlines the bonding and settling-in process. The breakdown is the following: 

  • 3 days settling in period to get used to the routine and environment.
  • 3 weeks to be further settled into the environment and realise this is a permanent home. After this period, you will start to recognise personality traits, behaviour patterns or issues.
  • 3 months to have a strong bond and feel comfortable in the home.

This is how the process usually goes but don’t be alarmed if it takes a bit longer or even less time. Every dog is different and how they react to their new environment may be affected by how previous owners have treated them.  

How Do I Know I Have A Bond With My Dog? 

The signs will be fairly obvious in the behaviour of your dog if they feel they have a good relationship with you. This could be shown in the following: 

  • They will rest their head on you or feel comfortable with physical contact 
  • Actively seek your affection 
  • Be responsive to training and obedient to your commands 
  • Be happy and enthusiastic to see you 
  • Have a positive response to your things and smell 
  • Make eye contact 
  • Look around for you and keep tabs on your location outside the home

A&T Trained Dogs Can Improve Your Bond Through Training 

A fully trained dog can help strengthen your relationship with your dog, as it will reduce frustration and increase socialisation. For expert advice or for further information on dog training classes, get in touch with us online or call 01524 587315.