As a dog owner, we want to create the best possible relationship we can with our special four-legged friend. Doing so helps make their life far more harmonious, balanced and full of happiness. While for us, a great relationship with our dog brings joy and contentment.
To achieve this, there are specific things you can do to help to grow and strengthen your relationship with your dog. We've collated our top five - read on to learn more.
Spending Quality Time Together
The amount of time you spend with your dog, and the type of activities you share together, is important to building and strengthening your relationship with your dog.
Engaging in an active lifestyle together, like going for a run together or going bush walking, are great examples of enjoyable shared activities that help to form close bonds.
As dogs are not critical or judgemental of you as the owner, deliberate efforts taken by you to create memorable moments together ultimately allows for your dog to naturally provide unconditional affection and attraction towards you. This of course, then strengthens your relationship.
Also, the longer you have a relationship with your dog, the higher the attachment bond that will develop. This is because trust and positivity – especially from within your dog towards you – forms over a period of time.
Training Your Dog
Closely associated with memorable shared activities, is your dog’s responsiveness to obedience and/or behavioural training.
Engaging in a shared training exercise together – for example agility training – can result in higher emotional closeness as it reflects a shared activity. This is because working together in this capacity allows for trust to develop, better communication, and simply sharing a hobby-based activity together.
Alternatively, keeping a dog for company only and failing to engage in a shared training activity can result in a much lower level of emotional closeness.
Being the Caregiver
Simply being a caregiver to your dog and being intrinsically aware of your dog’s needs and motivations, will serve to strengthen your relationship. This is because a real focus on caregiving allows for attachment bonds to develop in a two-way link between you and your dog. Even more so over time.
And given that dogs are so reliant on their owners to fulfil many needs and aspects of their lives, this bond will only continue to strengthen.
Bringing Your Best Self
As part of your ongoing relationship with your dog, exhibiting particular personality traits can act to strengthen this relationship.
One such trait involves the capacity to display conscientiousness towards your dog. In particular, demonstrating that you are a good handler that possesses the responsibility to care for your dog’s wellbeing and livelihood. In responding to these actions and behaviours from you, your dog exhibiting energy, affection and intelligence towards you can have a corresponding positive effect on the closeness you feel towards your dog.
Likewise, a display of empathy can lead to a greater perception by your dog of closeness between you both. Dog’s have been shown to be more reactive to your positive emotions and are more likely to have far less behavioural problems in comparison to those dogs in which the relationship with their owner is poor.
This reflects your dog’s innate ability to quite accurately read, and respond to, your emotions at any given moment and in any given situation. This can involve reading your facial expressions, interpreting your body language, or understanding language and tone of voice. Importantly, you can use this special ability in an advantageous way in helping your dog to be more relaxed, calm and far happier. In doing this, you can help to avert behavioural problems such as fear and anxiety from either developing or becoming more prominent within your dog.
When out and about with your dog, acting as a secure base at all times for your dog to knowingly return to safely, will go a long way to strengthening trust, confidence and compliance with your dog. A failure to provide this sense of safety can ultimately lead to your dog developing a fear response – one of the most common origins for the occurrence of aggressive behaviour.
In essence, this sense of safety provided to your dog continues to build secure attachment bonds, strengthening the relationship and helps to avoid behavioural problems developing within your dog.
Want to learn more about creating a better connection with your dog? Talk to Active Creatures.