*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through one of my links, at no cost to you.
Having a dog is like having a best friend. And that’s why bonding with your dog is super important.
Only, how do you do that?
You might have just adopted your dog or he might be the anxious type. Or maybe you’re just wondering how you can strengthen your relationship with your pup.
Well, here are 11 ways to bond with your dog to help you get started.
11 Ways to Bond With Your Dog
Maybe you’re a new pet owner and are looking for some good ways to bond with your dog. Or maybe you’ve had your dog for a while, and you just want to strengthen your relationship a little!
Whatever the reason, bonding with your dog is a special experience. As you get closer and closer with each other, you’ll both know that you’ve got a true friend for life in one another.
But when it comes to bonding with your dog, what exactly should you do?
The good news is that bonding with your dog is a natural thing that will occur over time. As long as you treat your dog well, he’ll love you quickly.
There are lots of other great ways you can work on building up your relationship. And they’re all super fun for both you and your dog.
So, without further ado, let’s get into some fun, creative ways you and your dog can build your bond.
1. Snuggle up on the couch
Who doesn’t love a good snuggle on the couch? Next time you’re planning on just hanging out and watching some TV or reading your book, invite your dog to join.
Cuddling on the couch together is a really great way to build up your relationship. That’s because it makes both of your brains release a hormone called oxytocin. This hormone is often called the “love hormone,” because it’s what causes feelings of love and affection.
Plus, cuddling reduces the amount of cortisol in your brains, which is known as the “stress hormone.” This will relax both of you and help you feel more at ease.
2. Give your dog a massage
Another great way you can increase your bond with your dog is by giving them a massage.
Massaging your dog will help them relax, plus it will release some of that oxytocin, helping to strengthen your relationship.
A massage will also help relieve tension in your dog, and it could be beneficial for his muscles and joints. If your dog has any chronic pain issues like arthritis, then a regular massage is a great way to manage that.
There are lots of different ways you can try massaging your dog. With some regular massaging, your dog should feel calmer, experience less stress, have better circulation, and feel much closer to you.
3. Take long walks or hikes together
Another really great way you can strengthen your bond with your dog is by performing physical activity together. There are plenty of ways you can do that. One of the best is by heading out for a long walk or a hike.
Not only are hiking and walking both great exercises for you and your dog, but that will also get you some quality one-on-one time together doing something you both love.
Have some questions about walking or hiking with your dog? Make sure you check out these related articles:
- Can Small Dogs Hike Long Distances? 9 Tips to Make It Work
- How Far Can a Dog Hike in a Day? Probably More Than You Think!
- How Long Can a Dog Walk?
4. Play brain games with your dog
Physical activity is important for your dog’s health—and yours! But if you’re neglecting his brain, that’s not a good thing either.
You should make sure that you’re providing your dog with plenty of mental stimulation. If that seems like it might be complicated, think again.
Brain games can be pretty simple, and they’re super fun for you and your pup. Plus they tend to be more stimulating than physical exercise, which means you can do them for shorter periods of time.
Looking for some fun things you can try with your dog? Take a look at these 10 brain games for dogs to play at home.
Mental stimulation can also be a wonderful training tool if used correctly. Check out Braintrainingfordogs to learn how to train your dog to be the best dog he can be by using mental stimulation! Or have a look at Dogpackr’s review first to see if it’s a fit for you and your dog!
5. Do dog sports together
Getting in enough physical activity will help make sure your dog is overall healthy. Doing physical activity together will help you build your bond.
If you have a particularly active dog, then you might want to consider signing up for some dog sports. There are lots of great sports you can try, and you and your dog will have a blast playing them together!
Plus, things like flyball and agility require you and your dog to focus on each other and build trust. That, in turn, will strengthen your relationship. Dog sports are also a really great way to build up a dog’s confidence.
If you’ve got a yard, it’s also a great activity you can train for at home.
6. Set up a daily routine
A solid daily routine is a really great way to help your dog feel at ease while at home. Your dog will know what to expect and when to expect it. That reduces a lot of anxiety and uncertainty your dog may have and will help them feel more comfortable in the home.
And since your dog feels more comfortable at home, he’ll feel more comfortable with you too!
So, if you don’t already have a daily routine set up, now’s the time to do that. You’ll be surprised at what a difference it makes for you and your dog.
Keep reading to learn all 11 ways to bond with your dog at home and while training.
7. Teach your dog new tricks
Training your dog requires you and your dog to focus on each other. As you teach your dog new things, he’ll start to feel more and more confident and at ease in his life.
Training also requires a lot of trust between you and your dog. The more that you work on training, the more you and your dog will trust each other!
If you’ve already taught your pup all the basics like “sit” and “stay,” don’t worry. There’s more where that came from!
For a little inspiration, check out these 11 easy dog tricks for beginners.
8. Remain calm
Dogs are really intuitive and emotional animals. They pick up on your feelings faster than you might expect!
If you’re always acting stressed out, or you tend to be pretty loud, that can cause stress in your dog. Your dog might feel like something is always wrong, which could lead to behavioral problems in the future.
That’s why it’s so important to stay calm as much as possible. This indicates to your dog that there’s nothing to worry about.
Plus, they’ll feel more comfortable coming to you and spending time with you. If you’re not yelling or moving around too much, spending time with you will be relaxing which will help strengthen your bond with your dog.
9. Learn to read your dog
Dogs communicate, but not in the same ways that humans do. They can’t use words to tell you how they’re feeling, so instead, they need to find other ways.
One of the main ways that dogs communicate is through body language. For example, a dog that has a relaxed, wagging tail is happy. Licking is often a sign of love for you. But a dog with his tail between his legs is stressed or fearful.
It’s really important that you understand dog body language, especially if you want your dog to feel safe and comfortable around you.
Once you know how to read your dog, you’ll be able to tell what he needs and make sure he gets it.
10. Communicate clearly with your dog
It’s difficult for dogs to deal with uncertainty and inconsistency. If you’re trying to build your bond, it’s important to communicate clearly with your dog.
That means consistently using the same training cues to ensure your dog understands what you want from them.
Remember that dogs tend to be visual learners, so using the same hand signal for a trick instead of a different one each time will help your dog learn a trick faster. This will also help you understand each other better, which only does good things for your bond!
11. Play games together to strengthen your bond
The best way that you and your dog can build a bond is by having fun together. And what better way to do that than by playing some games?
Fetch, tug-of-war, and hide and seek are just a few examples of the games you might want to try. Give them a shot and watch your relationship grow even stronger. And that’s 11 ways to bond with your dog!
How long does it take for dogs to bond?
If only there were a set timeframe when it comes to this sort of thing! Unfortunately, all dogs are different, and there’s no way to say for sure how long it will take for your dog to bond with you.
Just keep trying new things to build trust, and you’ll find that your bond with your dog grows stronger and stronger. And remember that bonding is never finished! It’s something you’ll need to work on every day.
How to bond with an anxious dog?
Anxious dogs can be challenging for a variety of reasons. You may find it hard to bond with your dog for one thing.
For these dogs, the first step is to set up your routine. Build confidence by teaching them some easy tricks, and remember to always move at your dog’s pace.
My dog is bonding with someone else, what should I do?
If your dog has bonded more closely with someone else, then you might have been neglecting your bonding duties!
Try to spend more time with your dog, and test out the above tips. You should soon find that your bond gets stronger.
Final thoughts on 11 ways to bond with your dog
Having a dog means having a friend for life. If you want to make sure that your bond is strong, then you’ll have to put in the work!
Try out the above 11 ways to bond with your dog and help you and your dog feel safe and comfortable in your relationship.