Posted on Jul 8th 2021
Creating a deep, profound relationship with your dog is critical to being a good dog parent. A familiar misconception dog owners have is that our presence alone is enough to make our dogs happy. While this may be true in part, there are steps you can take to connect with your dog on a deeper level daily. Below are a few tips for improving your relationship with your dog from your friends at Wag N' Wash.
8 Ways To Connect With Your Dog
Spend Quality Time Together
If you're looking to create a strong bond with your dog, the bare minimum won't cut it. A relationship is not only about spending time together. It is also about sharing fruitful experiences together!
As with your friends and family, sharing fun experiences with your furry companion enhances your relationship. There are several ways to treat your dog as an active companion in your life. Dedicate at least 30 mins a day to giving your dog your undivided attention. And when your schedule allows, take her on a beach adventure or out on a hike for the day. Sharing hobbies with your dog is an equally fun and great way to enhance your relationship.
Learn Their Body Language
Dog's use posture, facial expressions, and other body languages to communicate emotions and intentions. Learning to read your dog's body language is a great way to improve your relationship. When you learn to read your dog's body language, you'll get a better feel for when your dog is happy, nervous, or upset.
Identifying the signs of anxiety or stress in your dog will make it easier for you to remove her when she is upset. In doing this, you are letting her know she can count on you to keep her safe. This will strengthen her trust in you and enrich your relationship.
Seek to Understand Your Dog
Once you've learned how to read your dog's body language, you'll be able to better understand her likes and dislikes.
Your dog spends a great deal of time trying to understand you — analyzing your moods, habits, and preferences. Do your dog the same courtesy! Learn about her preferences, favorite toys, and what games she enjoys playing. At the same time, it is crucial to keep track of the things she does not want.
For example, most dogs tolerate gentle hugs from trusted humans, but that does not mean they necessarily like it. A great place to start is by learning about the things most dogs find unpleasant. The most common things dogs dislike are citrus or floral solid scents, restrictive clothing, hugging, and head pats.
Many of us know how misunderstandings and poor communication can be the root of human relationship problems. Well, the same goes for our canine companions! Dogs may infer the meaning of a few words (i.e., walk, down, treat), but they cannot understand the human language.
To figure out what we mean, dogs rely on our physical cues. So it’s important to be consistent when communicating with them. We can easily send mixed signals if we're only paying attention to what our mouths are saying but not what our bodies are saying. For example, telling your dog to stay while holding your hand out like a traffic cop physically cues her to approach you.
Try spending an entire day not saying a word to your dog. Instead, communicate only with your body. You will see how much you can get across with physical cues. You'll feel closer when there is an improved understanding between you two.
When it comes to improving your relationship with your dog, it's important to remember that spoiling them is not always the answer. When we commit to structured training and disciplining our dogs, we actually give them what they need. Whether you're training your dog every day or not, your dog is always learning from you. Daily training sessions with your dog will teach her how to behave and earn your respect.
Consistently training your dog will also get them mentally stimulated. Mental stimulation is equally as important as physical exercise. You'll be surprised at how tired your dog is after a training session.
Take Your Dog on a ‘Sniffari’
Going on a walk with your dog is a great way to get exercise and spend some quality time with your dog. But have you ever considered taking her on a sniffari?
A sniffari is similar to a walk, but the roles are sort of reversed. It is an outing in which your dog sniffs whatever she wants and leads you where she wants to go, allowing your dog to explore the world through all of its marvelous smells.
Dogs want to take in the aromas on a walk but are constantly prevented from doing so, as owners urge them to keep moving. This can be pretty frustrating to your dog, as they are robbed of an opportunity to follow their noses. Imagine going on a hike and being whisked along too fast to visually register the view of the mountains. The experience can be similar to dogs.
When out on a sniffari, you allow your dog to explore based on the odors around them. These adventures will leave your dog more content than she would be after a regular walk and are a great way to strengthen your relationship.
Put a Little Love into their Food
All good things should come from you. The way to most dogs' hearts is through their stomachs. By preparing healthy, tasty food for your dog, you show her that you care. Instead of leaving food out all day for your dog, feed her twice a day.
Across various species, scientists have observed that parents who play with their children also have the strongest bond. This also rings true in the relationship between humans and dogs. But, playing with your dog is about more than just tiring her out.
Try to be creative and surprise her with new games, so she never knows what's coming next. Keep a game of fetch interesting by using different balls, or try using multiple balls at once, so they never stop appearing.
At Wag N' Wash, we have a wide selection of premium pet toys that will keep your pup fetching all day long! At the core of the bond-building play is a commitment with delight and focus, so put your phone away and get into it!