In this blog I am going to explain different ways to help you and your dog develop a stronger bond. First things first, all dogs should have enough training so that they can follow the rules that you have put in place. Dogs need structure in order to live a healthy life.
They need to know right from wrong. Exercise is very important in this as well. Grooming is also a way to bond with your dog, some may not enjoy this, but it is a must, or else a lot of health issues can arise. The most obvious form of bonding is petting and making your dog feel loved, this is also most likely the easiest part for us humans along with playing with them. Getting your dog into a routine is also a must. I believe the hardest part for owners is giving their dogs the space they need when they want it.
Training helps with building a bond with your dog for tons of reasons. The better your dog listens to you the more you will be able to do with them. Not only will this help you be able to do more activities with them, but if they are well behaved you have a wider variety of places you can bring them. For instance, if your dog has a strong recall, meaning your dog comes to you when called, you can bring them to all sorts of nice places such as the forest preserve or beach. Training your dog to do anything new can be challenging, but if they have a strong recall, you won’t be hesitant to let them run free in a large field. This is great because who doesn’t like freedom! Not only is it great to give your dog freedom but they can burn so much energy, which every dog needs.
Training and exercise go hand in hand. They need to be exercised physically for health reasons, obviously this can be done by walking them, running them or even playing fetch. Your dog also needs to be exercised mentally as well. In previous blogs I have talked about the importance of interactive toys to keep them mentally stimulated. These toys consist for finding treats or playing with puzzles. These types of toys are great for when you leave them while you go to work or run an errand.
Most likely every dog’s least favorite form of bonding is grooming. While some dogs may not mind, I know there are a lot of dogs that would love to cancel their appointments. It is so important to be able to groom your dog or even make sure they let a groomer do their job. Grooming typically consists of ear cleaning, bathing and nail trimming. Each have their own importance. Cleaning your dog’s ears is important, because you do not want their ears to build up with wax and gunk causing an ear infection. Then, you will need to purchase medication for the infection. Bathing is important for obvious reasons; they may have stepped in a puddle of muddy water or maybe went as far as rolled around in one or maybe they got sprayed by a skunk. No good! In which case, you will need to give them a bath. Nail trimming is very important as well. Trimming your dog’s nails regularly is so important because if you let their nails over grow this can affect the way they walk. If their nails are causing them to walk a certain way, that is not normal, this can also affect their spine and joints.
Does your dog refuse to have you trim or clip their nails to the point where you can never get them all done? Try clipping one nail a day and by the time you finish every nail, it will most likely be time to circle back to the first one. I believe this helps a lot because its quick and is lower stress for your dog. Remember to always check their dew claw that is located higher up on their legs. If these nails go unnoticed, they can grow and curl up, ending up growing into your dog’s skin. This will be very uncomfortable for your dog as well as more difficult to trim or clip.
Spatial awareness is also important. There may be times where your dog does not want attention. That could be while he/she is laying in their bed or on the couch. You need to learn when your dog wants space for you and respect that. Not all dogs want to be pet constantly, dogs can get annoyed and frustrated with us humans as well as the other way around.
Lastly, I believe feeding your dog is a hug part of the bonding between you both. It is nice to switch up their meals every now and again to keep feeding fun and exciting. You can include some raw food and/or toppers to help them get started if they are a picky eater. In the past I have noticed that most dogs really like peanut butter. Adding some broth or water helps release the smell of kibble and that helps to get them to eat as well. Eating the same thing every day can be boring for your dog so it is important to switch things up and keep then excited for meal time!