Though dog is known as man’s best friend, you may sometimes feel like your dog is more of a close acquaintance. If you really want to bond with your dog to deepen your relationship and feel more connected, then the most important thing is that you’re willing to put in the time to try new things together as well as to improve your love, affection, and communication with your favorite pet. Bonding with your dog is all about letting him know how much he means to you, while spending enough time with him to put your money where your mouth is.
One fun thing you can do to create a stronger bond with your dog is to go on a hike with him or her. Just spend the morning or the late afternoon checking out a new mountain, park, or nature-filled area with your dog and enjoy exploring the outdoors with him. Keep your dog on a leash unless you’re in a safe area where it’s okay for him to run free. Make sure the hiking area allows dogs in advance, and that you have some water and treats on hand for your favorite creature.
Making a routine of going hiking with your dog at least once a week can help strengthen your bond.
As you hike together, pay attention to what your dog likes or dislikes. See if he prefers climbing up mountains, playing in wooded areas, or exploring the ground near water. Don’t make him do something he doesn’t want to do.
Go on a picnic.
Dogs love being outside, and if you want to bond with your dog, you should find as many ways to be outdoors with your dog or your whole family as possible. Take your dog out to a nice, pretty park on a warm day, bring some dog-friendly food, and some regular food for your family, and have a nice time bonding with your pet. Just make sure that you’re giving your dog the attention he deserves if you’re with other people. You can even take your dog for a walk around the picnic area.
This can also be a great time to play Frisbee or catch with your dog, or just to let your dog run free. Any time you’re letting your dog be happy and free, you will be strengthening your bond because he’ll associate you with good feelings.
Give your dog your attention when you go on walks.
When you take your dog for his daily walks, don’t chat on the phone the whole time, scroll through your phone, talk to your friends or neighbors, or let your mind drift. Instead, talk to your dog and let him know what a good boy he is, take the time to pet him, and even try to get your steps in sync with your dog’s in order to deepen your bond.
Look at your walking time with your dog as a time to be together, not as a time for you to multi-task.
You can also go running with your dog, if he likes doing this with you. Running and breathing in sync can really make you feel connected.
Play “hide and sniff.
” If you have just a few minutes in your day, you can show your dog his favorite treat, and then hide it in an easy-to-find location. He’ll love playing this game and will be rewarded with the treat once he finds it. You can tell him what a good boy he is for playing the game and for being so smart. If he can’t find the treat and starts to get frustrated, then let him have it so he doesn’t start resenting you or feeling like he can’t win the game.
If you have just three spare minutes a day, that’s all you need to play this game. You can make this ritual a part of you and your dog’s bonding routine.
Play Frisbee with your dog.
Another way to bond with your dog is to play Frisbee with him. Take him out to a park or to your yard, if you have enough room, and spend at least 15 minutes tossing the Frisbee to your dog, letting him catch it in his mouth, and waiting for him to bring it back to you. This game can give both you and your dog a great workout and can make you feel even closer to each other.
You can make a ritual of it by taking your dog to a park every weekend, letting him know that this will be your “Frisbee time.”
Play catch with your dog.
If Frisbee is too fancy for you and your dog, you can always play catch with him, whether you’re using a baseball or an old bone. Whatever treat or toy you’re using, make sure your dog really likes running after it and bringing it back to you. If he’s a puppy, you may have to spend some time teaching him to properly play.
Playing catch lets your dog see that your time together isn’t all about business, and that sometimes, you just need to have some good clean fun together.
Pet your dog with purpose.
Another thing you can do to deepen your bond with your dog is to pet him with purpose. Don’t just pet your dog absentmindedly when you’re staring at your computer, talking to a family member, or watching TV. Let your dog see that you really care about him by petting him while looking him in the eyes and telling him he’s a good boy and making sure to give him a little love.
You can even call him toward you to begin the petting session. Using his name as you pet him reinforces your bond with your dog.
Let your dog pick out a toy.
Another thing you can do to reinforce your bond with your dog is to let him pick out his favorite toy at the pet store. Take him to the store and give him a few minutes to explore the options and to pick the toy that he’s the most drawn to. Often, it won’t take very long for your dog to zero in on a new addition to his toy bin. Take the time to let him pick something out, buy the item for him, and then go home and play with it. This will show your dog how committed you are to his happiness.
You don’t need to get him a new toy very often, either. This won’t necessarily help you bond, but taking the time to pick out the perfect toy every once in a while will strengthen your connection.
Do tricks with your dog.
Building a bond with your dog shouldn’t be hard. Doing tricks with your dog teaches them new things.This can build your and the dogs self-esteem. Being a teacher to your dog can make them feel greatly about you.
Take care of your dog.
Feed your dog or give your dog water, this shows your dog you love him/her. Take them on a walk. Unless they are old, have leg/hip problems then this is fun for you and your dog. It gives you both exercise and can make you happy. Give them a bath. Even if your dog doesn’t like it, it gets them use to you and builds trust.
Spend time together.
The best thing you can do to bond with your dog is really to spend some quality time with him. Just carving out the time to really pay attention to your dog and to give him the love that he so badly deserves is the best thing you can do to strengthen your bond. Though trying new activities to keep things interested and to keep your dog happy can make a difference, the important thing is that you’re spending time with your dog, whether you’re watching TV in bed together, going for a walk, or just hanging out in the yard.
It can be hard to make time to be with your dog, especially if you have a demanding work or school schedule. Though giving your dog your full attention when you’re together is the best thing you can do, being around the home when he’s there while doing something else is better than nothing. If you can find a way to do some of the work or studying that you would normally do away from the house at home, your dog will appreciate it and will feel closer to you.
Being consistent is just as important when you’re disciplining a child as it is when you’re trying to bond with your dog. If you want to develop a strong relationship with your dog, then you should make sure to be consistent in your words and deeds. If there’s a certain part of the house where your dog can never go, don’t forbid it one day and then him go there the next, when you’re too tired to enforce rules. If you give him love and snuggles and positive verbal reinforcement when he does something good, like go to the bathroom in the right place, then make sure you always do that so your dog doesn’t get confused about whether or not he’s doing something right.
Dogs love having a routine that they can follow so they can better understand the world as well as your relationship. Try to be as consistent as possible in everything you do, from giving him praise to trying to teach him a lesson.
Another thing you can do to strengthen your bond with your dog and to give him the love he deserves is to be affectionate with him. Pet your dog, tell him he’s a good boy, scratch him behind his ears, or do whatever else you need to do to let him know that he’s really special and that you care about him. If you let him get in bed with you, then do that and snuggle up close to him, to let him see how much he means to you.
You can be affectionate in your words as well as your actions. Tell your dog that he’s a good boy whenever he deserves it, and shower him with praise as well as snuggles. You may not think so, but your dog really will be able to tell the difference between your voice when you’re feeling upset and when you’re happy with him.
Be encouraging. When your dog is trying something new and fails, let him know that he’s a good boy and show him that he should try, try again.
Though it may not be possible to always remain calm, especially if your dog has done something to really upset you, you should work on maintaining your cool while letting your dog know he’s misbehaved when he does something wrong. If you start yelling, losing your temper, or throwing things, then your dog will be scared of you and may feel like he can’t really trust you. If you feel yourself getting angry, take a deep breath, walk away, and return to your dog when you feel more calm.
Dogs are very intuitive. They’ll be able to see that they’ve upset you and will feel bad about it even if you don’t yell or lose your temper.
Make sure to communicate clearly with your dog. Instead of getting emotional, tell him what he did and make your rules clear to him.
Have the right body language.
If you want to deepen your bond with your dog, then you should be careful about your body language. You want to be approachable and non-threatening to your dog, and to make him feel as loved and as welcome as possible. You may not even realize that you are sending him negative signals without meaning to. If you want to have positive body language when you talk to your dog, here are some things you can work on:
Get down on eye level with your dog when you talk or play with him as much as you can.
Maintain upright posture when you’re training your dog, so he knows you mean business.
Don’t hit your dog or point at him in a negative manner, or he’ll be scared of your hands.
If your dog is small, don’t tower over him or crowd him, or he’ll feel suffocated.
Don’t stare right into your dog’s eyes for more than a second or two. He may take this as a threat or a challenge.
Get to know your dog’s personality.
If you really want to be able to bond with your dog, then you should get to his personality. Dogs are just like people. Some are shy, some are more outgoing, some are mellow, and some are easily excitable. Get to know what your dog is like, from when he tends to get the most tired to what drives him crazy, whether it’s your neighbors, loud music, or a certain type of food. Taking the time to get to know your dog will help you strengthen your bond because you’ll feel more equipped to deal with him.
If your dog is more outgoing, then you should spend time hanging out with other dogs and people. If he’s more shy and needs a while to warm up to people, then he won’t appreciate it if you try to introduce him to fifty of your friends at once.
Get to know your dog’s energy peaks and valleys too. If he’s more hyper in the mornings, make sure you get in a lot of activity then instead of forcing it in the evenings, when he will be more mellow and may just want to lie down.
Give your dog a relaxing massage.
Most people don’t take the time to give their dogs a massage. Though it may sound silly, just spending 20 minutes once or twice a week giving your dog a nice, relaxing massage can help deepen your bond. Massage him as you would a human — behind the ears, on the neck, on his back, and anywhere that seems to make him feel good. Start off gently and deepen your massages if your dog seems to like it. This will be a great way for you to physically connect with your dog.
Every dog is different. Some like to be massaged, while some may wrangle out of your grasp. Get a feel for what your dog likes as you try this new bonding activity. If he just prefers to be petted, then don’t force it and stick to that.
Take your dog to work or to a bar or restaurant.
If you work in a more hip office that lets you bring your dog to work, then take him to work with you once in a while, if you can swing it. Though you’ll have to tend to your dog a bit and may not be able to have him there the whole day, just taking the dog to your workplace can reinforce your bond in a completely new environment. Make an effort to incorporate your dog in other aspects of your life. If there’s a dog-friendly bar or restaurant in your neighborhood, bring your dog there once in a while, so you can have fun with your friends while letting your dog roam a bit.
Making the effort to take your dog out with you will help you bond because he’ll be happy that you don’t want him to be cooped up all day.
Plus, your dog may meet other dogs at these bars or restaurants that he may like to play with, so he’ll love the extra social time.
Enter your dog in training competitions.
If you have trained your dog well and think training competitions are the way to go, then another way for you and your dog to bond is for you to enter him in competitions. You can then spend more time grooming your dog, teaching him tricks, and traveling with your dog as well. Though this isn’t for everybody, if you’re committed to training your dog, this can be a great bonding activity.
Entering your dog in competitions will mean that you have to spend a lot of quality time with your dog. What could be better than that?
Watch a dog-themed movie together.
Though it may sound silly and your dog won’t really know that he’s watching a dog on television, you can have a nice time watching a dog-themed movie with your dog. You can watch Lassie, Homeward Bound, Lady and the Tramp, or a number of other dog-themed flicks while hanging out with your favorite creature for a few hours. Pay attention to your dog while watching the movie and make sure to give him lots of affection, petting, and maybe even a few treats.
Setting aside some time to watch a movie with your dog will let you slow down and just hang out with your dog without creating a bunch of elaborate plans for your bonding time. Though activities are nice, so is just hanging out, the same as it is when you’re hanging out with people.
Take your dog to a nursing home or hospital.
Some nursing homes or hospitals have programs that allow you to bring in your dogs to help cheer up sick patients. Look into your neighborhood hospitals and nursing homes to see if you can bring your dog to one of these programs. This can be a great way for you and your dog to share the love with people in need and to bring joy to their lives. Your dog will love the social time and the attention and will appreciate the effort you’ve made to bring him to a new environment.
It’s a win-win situation. Not only will you be helping out your community, but you’ll be bonding with your dog in a new way.
Go on a road trip with your dog.
Another thing you can go to go above and beyond in your bond with your dog is to go on a road trip with him. You don’t have to go very far — just a weekend trip or a long drive to a lake or a park will do. Let your dog sit in the front or back seat, roll down the window, and let him feel the breeze on his face. Your dog will appreciate this special time you spend together and will love the freedom of the open road as well as the time you spend together.
Take the trip to a fun, dog-friendly destination like a park or a beach. Make the experience all about letting your dog roam free while having fun with you.