How To Bond With Your Dog – 15 Easy Ways

Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle, a twentieth-century French general and statesman, admitted, “The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.”

His words speak the mind of many through the twenty to forty millenniums of humans domesticating dogs.

While these domestic canines have been bred for their intuitive skills, seeing them emerge as brave hunters and commanding guards, they’ve also earned a place in man’s heart as part of his family.

Today, these furry friends play a role that requires a relaxing atmosphere, friendly environment, and a happy bond with their masters. Little wonder they say: “Happiness is a warm puppy.”

So, if you’re curious about how to bond with your dog, we’ve compiled 15 surefire ways to improve your relationship with your dog.

The human-canine bond grows mainly while engaging in activities.

But treating your dog as you’d want to be treated and going the extra mile to see it happy works wonders.

How to Bond with Your Dog: Easy Ways to Build a Strong Bond

According to the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), 85 million U.S. households with pets enjoy human-animal bonds.

Undoubtedly, owning a pet having an excellent relationship has its benefits.

Without further ado, let’s get down to the central theme of this article — fifteen easy ways (categorized in three sections) to bond with your dog.

Section 1: Engagements

Dogs enjoy activities. Through the journey of human history with dogs, hunting, guarding, herding, and a host of other activities have been shared amongst them.

Instinctively, our furry friends view engagements as a crucial part of their existence.

Statista shows that 81% of U.K. dog owners in 2015 report that their dogs wag their tails, revealing various emotions and needs, including happiness, anger, sadness, and the need for exercise.

The same report revealed that 58% roll on their backs, and 40% jump. These statistics show how much dogs enjoy engaging in activities.

Human-dog interaction influences dog behavior by emotional valence, contributing positively regarding temperament and emotional resources, like human attention, affection, and safety.

Dogs enjoy several activities, but here are those activities that dogs enjoy and improve the human-dog bond.

1. Go Hiking

Woman Hiking with Dogs
Photo by edb3_16 / Getty Images

Your dog could be the happiest hiking buddy you’d ever see. Dogs enjoy outdoor activities, especially when space for exploration is involved.

As such, hiking with your dog is one fun escapade you can enjoy to connect deeper with it.

Morning or evening walks to plains, mountains, or nature parks where your dog can run free will suffice.

Remember to pack some treats and water to refresh your dog for the best experience.

Your aim is not to enjoy hiking alone but to bond with your dog.

With this in mind, please pay attention to your dog’s likes and dislikes, including its preferences for climbing, playing, and exploring.

2. Play Fetch/Catch With Your Dog

Bonding with your dog requires that you spend ample time with it and pay attention to all its preferences, including favorite toys and treats.

Make giving your dog its toys more fun by playing “catch” with it. Ensure that your dog retrieves whatever you throw at it and brings it back to you.

However, patience is an important quality to cultivate while playing this game, especially when you’re playing with a puppy that might not understand the game.

Catch aids your dog’s fetching skills but helps you bond with your dog as you have fun together. 

3. Play Fun Scent Games

Dogs are masters of smell and “hide and sniff” is a game where your dog gets rewarded for an activity well done.

You can bet a fortune that it’ll look forward to playing this game with you as it enjoys it.

Show your dog some treats and hide them where it can find them easily. Making the game difficult might piss your dog and make it resent you.

4. Do Tricks With Your Dog

Some breeds are pretty good with tricks, others take some time to learn tricks, but most dogs enjoy satisfying their masters.

You can make the best use of this trait by teaching your dog some tricks like shaking hands, standing on hind legs, playing dead, and spinning.

These tricks boost your dog’s esteem and strengthen their relationship with you as their teacher. 

5. Let Your Dog Pick Out a Toy

Dog Checking Out Items in Pet Store
Photo by JackF / Getty Images

Let’s go shopping! Ever tried that with your dog?

For fear it’ll misbehave at a mall or mart, you can walk him down the pet store.

Walk him through shelves and racks, showing him the toys on display and letting him pick his favorite.

Your dog will notice how much its happiness means to you as it plays with the toy. 

While this practice improves bonding, you don’t need to do it often. Focus more on spending time with your dog, playing with its new toy together.

Section 2: Emotional Attachment  

According to The New York Times, emotional attachments are crucial to a dog’s ability to bond with its owner.

Emotionally connecting with your pet is also beneficial to you, as shown in a 2020 report by P.R. Newswire that reveals that 70% of pet owners are turning to their pets to de-stress.

Emotional bonding entails actions that show how much you care for your dog as an individual.

The following paragraphs will discuss ways to bond with your dog through emotional bonding.

6. Spend Time Together

“Too busy” is a myth, they say. It would help if you showed your dog that it ranks highly on your priority list by spending quality time together.

This routine helps you get to know your dog better and creates time for new activities that make bonding sessions enjoyable.

Considering your daily schedule when picking a breed is crucial because some breeds demand time and affection more than others.

Such breeds could develop separation anxiety if you don’t spend the right amount of time with them.

Nevertheless, create time and give your canine full attention when you’re together, notwithstanding its breed.

7. Have the Correct Body Language

Words may speak untruth, but there are many expressions the body cannot hide.

That’s why positive body language is crucial to training and deepening a human-dog bond.

Your reactions determine how approachable your dog views you; therefore, try to be non-threatening, welcoming, and lovable.

Having the right body language requires that you: 

  • Maintain an upright posture when you’re training your dog to indicate firmness
  • Get down on eye level during playtime and bonding sessions, and 
  • Keep eye contact brief and non-threatening.

Here are something to avoid:

  • Hitting your canine or pointing at him in a negative manner
  • Towering over him or crowding him if it’s small; else, it’ll feel suffocated.

8. Be affectionate

The golden rule applies: “What you want others to do to you, you do to them.”

You’ll feel comfortable if the atmosphere around you is friendly and understanding. As such, create a loving and affectionate environment for your pooch.

Pet your dog, pat it, rub its ears sweetly, tell it how much it means to you, and snuggle up close to him if you let him get in bed with you.

Affection comes in both words and actions; praise it, encourage it, and show that you mean what you say.

However, set rules, limits, and remember to be firm, so you don’t have a spoilt, bad dog.

9. Remain calm

Here the test comes!

It might be challenging to keep your cool when your dog upsets you, but remain calm for the bond you share.

Firmly and kindly correct your dog when it does something wrong instead of succumbing to the urge of spanking it, yelling, or throwing things.

Losing your temper might scare your dog and make it doubt you.

Dogs are pretty intelligent and intuitive, sensing you’re hurt and feeling bad about it without you losing your cool.

However, it would be best if you’d firmly and calmly make your rules clear to your dog whenever it misbehaves.

10. Get to Know Your Dog’s Personality

Close Up of Happy Dog Smiling
Photo by MEGiordano / Getty Images

How would you love something or someone you’ve not come to know?

Getting to know your dog’s personality entails more than knowing the breed’s general temperament.

Dogs have their individual traits, outgoing, excitable, shy, and social.

Some of the things you do might have positive or negative reactions, loud music, noise, neighbors, crowds, or a particular food.

Treat your pooch according to its likes and dislikes.

An outgoing dog will enjoy visits to the parks and meeting new people and dogs, while a shy dog will prefer meeting new people once at a time.

Section 3: The Extra Mile

According to Condor Ferries, two million pets board commercial flights in the U.S. every year, implying that dogs are considered part of the family in nine from ten households.

Bonding with your dog suggests that you go the extra mile; for example, sacrificing the length and frequency of your vacations to spend more time with your dog.

If you want to show your dog how important it is, be ready to go the extra mile.

11. Go on a Road Trip With Your Dog

Dog Traveling By Car Enjoying the Breeze Outside Window
Chalabala Photos

The transportation industry now recognizes pet travel as a growing trend, with new implementations in place to accommodate the growth.

Use this opportunity to take your pet along with you on vacations, adventures, and trips.

Traveling with your dog doesn’t have to be a pre-planned activity once a year like vacations, but a weekend trip or a long drive to a lake or a park will suffice.

Your dog will enjoy feeling the breeze on its face as you cruise through town.

12. Watch a Dog-Themed Movie Together

Ever tried “Netflix and chill” with your pooch? This weekend might be the right time.

But what kind of movie would Fido like? Perhaps nothing can be more eye-catching to it than a dog-themed movie.

Benji, Pup Academy, Beethoven, amongst others, are dog-themed movies for the night.

However, don’t be too engrossed with the movie that you neglect your dog; instead, give him lots of attention and maybe some treats.

13. Take Your Dog to Work or to a Bar or Restaurant

Your pooch could be your next date partner. At least, you’d not need to google questions to ask on a first date.

All you need do is find a dog-friendly bar or restaurant in your neighborhood and spend some time with it.

Your dog will appreciate that you don’t want him to be alone indoors all day.

14. Give Your Dog a Relaxing Massage

Person Massaging Dog
Photo by BigshotD3 / Getty Images

Dogs love massages!

Put your fingers behind your pooch ears and give it a gentle scratch, and it’ll close its eyes in appreciation of the soothing feeling.

Massages present the opportunity to connect and bond with your best friend as it enjoys how great it feels and realizes you’re the one making him feel good.

However, bonding isn’t the only benefit massages present.

Massages promote overall well-being, reduce stress and anxiety, increase blood circulation, and decrease blood pressure.

15. Take Your Dog to a Nursing Home or Hospital

While this might not be applicable everywhere, it’s a great bonding activity that helps your dog enjoy social time and the attention from patients your dog has cheered.

Visiting nursing homes and hospitals is one way your dog shares love with people in need, creating a win-win situation for your dog and the community.

Check your neighborhood for a nursing home or clinic with a program that allows you to bring in your dogs to cheer patients.

Commonly Asked Questions

How do you know your dog has bonded with you?

A couple of signs show that your dog feels comfortable around you, including snuggling with your belongings like clothes, resting their head on you, and yawning while you do.

How long does it take to bond with a dog?

Puppies start developing emotions after their first month; your puppy should start bonding with you within six to eight weeks if you got it at the weaning stage.

Do dogs pick a favorite person?

While older dogs might get attached to a family and its master’s friends with proper socialization, puppies tend to bond with the person who offers them the most attention and prioritizes their welfare.

Closing Thoughts

As with humans, having a cordial relationship with your canine companion is therapeutic.

Love with these furry friends is wet noses, sloppy kisses, and wagging tails.

In contrast to opinions that the human-dog bond is time-consuming and arguably unnecessary, bonding with your pup requires not too much of your time or money.

Just understanding and a little display of affection is enough.

We hope this article has helped you see ways to bond with your dog and why doing so is necessary.

You May Also Like:
10 Ways To Provide Mental Stimulation For Dogs

Authored By

Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce is a canine behavioral and nutritional specialist, professional dog trainer, and the CEO of Puplore. A former military working dog handler, Ben founded Puplore to provide owners with breed-specific information and to act as a go-to guide to health, nutrition, care, and to help them find the confidence they need to step up to the plate and become the best pup parents they can possibly be. A firm believer in treating all animals with kindness and compassion, and that positive discipline is paramount in achieving a harmonious canine-human relationship, Ben’s former and present careers have enabled him to become a leading light in his chosen profession and business.

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