How can I be Closer with my Dog?
Dogs’ brains need to be stimulated on a regular basis – similar to us, they get bored easily. Training your dog can build the trust between the two of you to grant them more freedom. For example, if a dog returns to you when their name is called, you’ll trust them more off the lead, and if they don’t beg for food while at the dinner table, they’ll be able to stay around you more when you’re eating. Training your dog to do things can also reduce your frustration and build up their obedience towards you. If you’re using treats to train them, dogs will look up to you and see you as the bringer of all things good. Training is a great way to spend time with your dog and to establish trust between you two!
Physical touch has proven to lower a dog’s stress levels; studies have shown that physical contact reduces heart rate and the release of the stress hormone, cortisol, meaning touch plays a strong role in building a bond between you and your dog. Petting their head, stroking their backs or scratching behind their ears can make them feel loved and wanted. Dogs have a lot of feelings, emotions and love, just like us! They also respond to our emotions, so if we’re feeling sad or angry, they tap into these feelings and act accordingly. Experiment to see what your dog does and doesn’t like to learn; this is one of the best way to show them affection.
3. Learn to Communicate with One Another
Understanding your dog’s tells of when they’re uncomfortable, sad or anxious can help you to know when to take them out of the situation that’s making them feel like that. Dogs express how they’re feeling a lot through body language, facial expressions and their behaviour. Recognising something that your dog doesn’t like and not doing it again will build trust between you and your dog. Hugging for example can be quite restrictive for some dogs, whereas others prefer the safety and security of being cuddled. The better you can read your dog when they are trying to communicate with you, the more you can support them through different situations in life.
4. Remain Calm and Patient with them
Dogs need to count on you to keep your cool. If your dog is anxious or easily frightened, they will need more time to trust you. Losing your temper with a dog, whether it was something that was their fault or not, can scare them, making your bond much weaker. Make sure you always talk to your dog in a calm voice, as yelling can cause lasting damage on your relationship. If you project a sense of calmness and coolness around them, they are more likely to come to you when something is stressing them out.
5. Spending Quality Time with them
If you’re away from home a lot for work or other reasons, then seeing you when you return is your dog’s highlight of the day! It should be yours too! Playing tug-of-war with them, playing with toys, taking them for walks or runs, or even playing a game of fetch in the back garden gives your dog the attention and love that they deserve. When given attention, dogs are more likely to return to you for more when they need it. For more ideas on what to do with your dog in your free time, see here.