10 Ways to Bond With Your Dog

Are you looking for ways to create a stronger bond with your dog? Maybe it was love at first wet nose kiss? Are you staring at your dog or puppy and wondering, “How do I bond with this adorable creature?” 

bonding with your dog
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Budget Tip:

You don't have to spend any money to bond with your dog. It takes a bit of time. But the results are priceless! Your dog needs it and you do as well. This is part of the commitment of having a dog. So, taking the time to bond with your dog and giving your dog space to do it, is a valuable asset that can't be measured.

Patience for bonding with your dog 

First, let me tell you it does take time to establish a bond with most dogs. Remember that your whole dog’s world was just turned upside down. He needs time to know that it won’t soon turn upside down again. If it’s a puppy he may be missing his siblings. If it’s a rescue, you may not know his history. Give your dog time to adjust to his new home and you.

 

How do you help your dog adjust to his new home and build a bond with you? There are a few steps you can take to make this process easier. 

Top 10 Ways To Bond With Your Dog 

1. Petting   

Bonding with your dog

By putting your hands on your new dog you allow him to know you more. Just as a dog can pick up on your stress or anxiety level. It can also pick up on your love for it. This is a nice way to do it in a bonding way. Additionally, petting your dog releases “oxytocin”, which is considered the “feel-good hormone.” Basically, petting your dog will make him and you feel better and help the bonding process.

Of course, always pet your dog in a loving and kind way. Make sure children also pet your new dog kindly as well. 

2. Massage

As you’re petting your dog, you can get to know your dog more. You can massage your new dog. Where dog does he like being massaged? Does he prefer you not to touch certain areas like his ears? Will he relax and fall into the massage more with other areas?

For example, my dog, Henry will sit for hours for a back massage. When I stop he looks at me as if to say, “more please.” Honestly, a good massage for a dog can be better than a good cookie. 

In this article, I walk you through how to do dog massage therapy at home.

3. Training Classes 

bonding with your dog while training

Sign-up for obedience or any training class with your dog. Although I recommend obedience training first, other classes such as trick, agility, and smelling classes are fun for bonding as well.

Additionally, these classes will give you time to get to know your dog more while you both learn how to interact in an appropriate manner. There are even puppy classes. It’s a fun way to bond and interact with your dog. I’ve taken many classes with my dog. He loves going to class and he really loves our out-of-class practice and training time. 

Of course, treats are always part of any training class or session.

In this post, I talk about how to find the best dog treat for your dog, his situation (such as training), and his personal needs. 

4. Cues 

The other great part about dog training classes is that you will learn to pick up on your dog’s cues or body language. You’ll recognize when he’s tired, agitated, confused, and, of course, happy. Some of a dog’s cues can be very subtle and some are unique to each dog.

For instance, if your dog is extremely furry, fluffy, or curly it may be a bit more difficult to see him if he raises his fur in anger. Or if his tail is bobbed, you may not know if he’s trying to tuck it because he’s scared. My dog is very curly, fluffy with a bobbed tail. I learned how to recognize my dog’s specific body language in a dog training class. By attending dog classes, the instructor will assist you too in recognizing your dog’s cues.

5. Consistent And Routine 

I equate consistency with learning a language. Think if you’re learning Japanese. You may learn how to say “Hello” in Japanese. You think you’re starting to get it. So, you decide to go to a Japanese restaurant. The waitress greets you and says, very quickly in Japanese, “Hi! How are you today? How many are in your party?” You look at her completely confused. Nothing sounded familiar. That’s the same as if you say to your dog one day “sit” and the next day “sit down”. Consistency is key. 

Additionally, if you are training your dog to come with his toy in the morning and you play with him for a few minutes. But then you don’t. He’ll be confused. This is also part of building a routine with your dog. Routines can be part of almost everything you do with your dog, including food time, playtime, bedtime, “snuggle” time, and bathroom break time (which is critical when potty training). 

For instance, I can say to my dog each morning about 7 a.m. “walk” and he comes running with tail wagging. This is a routine and it’s a consistent time for him. He’s not confused by strange language, like “would you like to go outside?”. Trainers will tell you to keep things simple, like saying “walk”. 

 6. Playtime 

Playing is another great way to bond with your dog. You can throw a toy or play tug-of-war. However, if you have a dog, like mine, who doesn’t understand the concept of a “toy”, you can play other games, such as tag. Interestingly, my dog taught me “his” game of chase. He likes to be chased. That’s his playtime. 

7. Reading 

bonding with your dog by reading

This is another fun way to bond with your new dog. All you need to do is simply read to your dog. Sometimes I will read something I’m reading to my dog in a funny voice. He’ll sit there completely memorized. Sure it could be the voices, but he still likes it. Basically, it’s a time to bond. He gets to know me better, even after three years. 

8. Talk 

Like any new relationship, talk to your dog. He may not be able to understand exactly what you’re saying, but he’ll know that you’re talking to him. He’ll also know the tone. If you’re using a loving tone, he’ll know it and respond to it. If you’re using a loud, angry tone because your new dog just had an accident, he’ll respond to that as well.

Thus, there’s a lot to be said for the tone of your voice. I can say just about anything to my dog in a loving tone, like “I need to wash the dishes” and he’ll respond positively. If I raise my voice in the least, he’ll sit and look at me thinking he’s done something wrong. Again, if you’re in “training time”, always be consistent. Don’t confuse your dog with unnecessary words.

In this article, I discuss how self-talk with your dog can improve your brainpower. 

9. Exercise 

bonding with your and doing yoga

Go for a walk, hike, jog, or bike ride with your dog. Exercise is good for your dog and you. Plus, it will help to burn calories together. You’ll get to learn what your dog responds to outside. However, remember to have your dog on his leash and always have potty bags to pick up when he leaves his “marks”. 

You can even have fun doing yoga with your dog in the same room. My dog likes to try to join in on the process. This can be the same for weightlifting too. I’ve even lifted my dog for exercise, which he likes. However, make sure your dog likes to be lifted before you use him as an exercise prop.

In this post, I talk about fun exercises you can do with your dog. Some of these may surprise you. 

10. Together Time 

The more time you spend with your new dog, the more he’ll get to know you. This could just be him in the same room. Or him outside with you as you tend to your garden. Think of your new dog like with any new relationship. You can’t expect him to love you the first day. Give it time. Let him get to know you in a positive way and he’ll respond accordingly. 

It should be noted that while you are building a bond with your dog, he is also building a foundation of trust with you. As you have become your dog’s family, trust is very important. Treasure this gift. 

Summary Of How To Bond With Your Dog 

A few fun and easy ways you can help with the bonding process with your new dog is by petting or massaging him. You can also attend dog training classes to build your bond with your dog and learn about his cues. It’s important to be consistent and routine with your new dog to help with your bond and not confuse him.

Additionally, you can play with, read to, exercise with, or talk to your new dog. In general, spending time together with your new dog will always help with your bonding process. If you can include your dog in whatever you’re doing, such as gardening, it will help with your bonding.

While it can take a while for some dogs to bond to their new humans, others are bonded at first sight. Focus on your dog. I was worried about my dog for the first 48 hours I had him. He didn’t make a noise. He sat next to me and was very alert to where I was at all times. But he didn’t make any noise at all. Not even a peep. Then suddenly, he started snoring. He needed to know I was a safe place and could fully relax. I think I would’ve done the same thing if I were him. 

bonding with your dog

How are you doing bonding with your new dog? What ways work best for you to bond with your dog?

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