We need to have quality time with our dogs not only to build trust and bond, but to provide them with essential mental stimulation.
But building a good relationship with your dog may take time and work. Though our favorite animals are so easy to please and will be game for almost anything, spending and planning out quality time and bonding properly is crucial. Here are 12 wonderful ways to strengthen your bond with your pet:
1. Snuggle On The Couch
Take a break from your busy routines to snuggle with your pooch and spend a lazy day on the couch. This is the easiest and most satisfactory way to bond with your dog, as cuddles can be such an excellent de-stressor. You may not realize that canines experience serious amounts of stress in their lives, butt hey certainly love these cuddle moments with their owners as much as they love feeding times and play times.
2. Go For A Drive
For many pooches, car rides could be associated with a trip to the vet. But canines can learn to love going for a drive once they get used to it and the only way to do that is to regularly take your dog out for an activity they enjoy. Go to a short drive-thru at an ice cream shop for some tasty dog ice cream treat.
3. Exercise Together
Physical exercise is vital to your dog's physical and mental health as well as for your own well-being. Walking your dog, for instance, can be a fun bonding activity if you do something different, like taking new routes and exploring new territories. Plan out a longer dog walking trip to see a new neighborhood and give your dog more stimulating smells to learn from. You could also try playing Frisbee or tug of war together.
4. Make Your Daily Walks Count
Speaking of walking your pooch, when you're walking your dog, do allow for a few times to stop so you can rest and your dog can smell what's around him to stimulate his mind. Do not be always in a rush, pulling on your pooch's leash. That said, always be mindful that he doesn't wander off too far from you.
5. Make Routines Fun And Positive
You know that dogs don't like bath times. They also make a fuss when you brush their teeth or clean their ears. But you can make this a positive bonding time if you introduce a few games or tricks to make this activity a pleasant experience. For instance, you can teach your dog how to handshake in exchange for a low calorie treat before you trim his nails. Pretty soon, he won't have any issue with grooming.
6. Do Hand Feeding
Speaking of treats, feeding your dog with your hand is an effective way of building trust and strengthening your bond, according to the American Kennel Club. But if you don't want to do it with his actual meals, try hand feeding him treats or snacks from time to time. This practice will also help your dogs learn about impulse control, especially if he's a fast eater.
7. Enjoy A Picnic At The Park
Being at the park with your dog is a wonderful way to boost his social skills. As you soak up the fresh air, your dog can also observe and learn about his environment. Don’t forget to bring a basket of treats and water for your dog. Let your pooch wander around the park and engage with strangers or other dogs, provided everybody agrees to this and it's done safely. Otherwise, this may result in some of these dog park horror stories.
8. Join Positive Reinforcement Training
Positive reinforcement training lays down a solid foundation in the way dogs see their owners as the giver and provider. They'll also learn how cooperation and good behavior pleases their masters, which in turn shapes their behavior, as per The Humane Society. Scientists have found this to be not only the most effective method for training dogs but also the most rewarding for their mental health.
9. Go To The Beach
While they don't love bathing, most dogs certainly love the open waters and particularly the ocean or sea. So take a trip to the beach with your dog. They'll love the salty water and the way the sand feels on their paws. It's a delight to their senses, according to dog trainer Colleen Demling via She Knows. Just make sure your dog doesn't drink too much seawater or get too far in the water as dogs can also drown, and be mindful of other potential dangers of water intoxication in dogs.
10. Play With Your Dog
This goes without saying, but I've decided to include it on the list anyway to reinforce the idea. Play is such an important activity for dogs not only for strengthening the bond between dogs and their owners, but it's extremely important for canines mental health. You have to devote a few hours in a day to play with your pet. The more time you spend together, the stronger your bond will be, and the healthier your canine will be, particularly if your pooch is already a senior.
11. Give Them Space
Sometimes, you also need to give your dog some space to chill, especially if there's something new in the environment, such as the arrival of a newborn baby or you having just moved to a new place. Give your dog time to gather his bearings and get used to this new addition or changes in the family.
12. Travel Together
On your next trip out of town, consider bringing your furry best friend so you can experience new adventures together and strengthen the bond between the two of you. Enjoy a camping trip or plan a dog-friendly getaway or explore the new hiking trails together in a new location. The change in scenery can be beneficial for both of you in more ways than one.
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