Dogs are far more than just pets. The bond between dog and human is stronger than with almost any other animal, but why is that?
In order to create a trusting relationship between us and our dogs, we need to be able to understand and interpret their behavior. It’s great that you’re thinking about bonding with your dog!
With our tips, you will definitely become an excellent team!
To strengthen the bond with your dog, there are many different bonding exercises for dogs and humans. It is important for a relaxed togetherness that you work on it regularly and thus create a foundation for everyday situations and challenges.
In this article, you will get 7 helpful bonding exercises, learn why bonding with your dog is important and how to do it!
In a nutshell: This is how you can strengthen your bond with your dog
A strong bond between dog and human also enables such a team to master the greatest challenges together.
Trust and respect is not only important in stressful life situations, but also in everyday things such as going for a walk and eating.
If a bond is not established, a dog likes to become independent and does not orientate itself further to the “useless” master/mistress. A dog that has learned that it is on its own and cannot rely on its people quickly becomes a danger.
Joint activities and excursions, games, structures and rules help to strengthen the bond with the dog.
Build trust with your dog – why is it important?
Since we like to take our dogs with us everywhere and we want them to be as calm and relaxed as possible, great trust in the caregiver is essential.
A dog that completely trusts its master or mistress will use them as a guide even in difficult or frightening situations.
This is especially important in stressful moments such as strolling through town, visiting the veterinarian, grooming the coat and claws, or even in daily dog encounters!
If your dog doesn’t trust you to take care of yourself AND him, he’ll take matters into his own paws.
If your dog cannot trust you, he will try to keep strangers and dogs away from you, he may panic in the city and you can safely forget about cutting his claws at home.
Trust is the basis of all bonds, so of course also in the bond with your dog!
If your dog constantly feels insecure, threatened, or abandoned, the behavior can quickly turn into aggression. So it’s really important that you test the bond with your dog and continue to strengthen it with bonding exercises!
A dog that trusts its caregiver 100% is capable of top performance. Of course, character, state of health, and suitability generally also play a role in the choice of a “dog job”, but some dogs reliably do their service as therapy dogs, lifeguards, drug detection dogs, or guide dogs.
Bonding with the puppy vs. Bonding with the adult dog
Many people shy away from giving an adult dog a home because they fear they won’t be able to bond.
This is a fallacy.
Of course, it’s easier to mold an innocent little puppy to your liking than it is to “re-educate” a dog that may have had bad experiences or received little training/socialization.
That does not mean, however, that building a trusting relationship is not possible! On the contrary – most dogs are willing to form new bonds well into old age. It’s up to you how much rest, love, patience, and time you can give them!
Our dogs are all individuals and their needs, problems and the associated solutions and training approaches are just as individual.
If you are unsure about handling your dog in any way, just contact a local dog trainer.
It is often easier to have a situation in front of you to assess it. An experienced dog trainer can give you practical tips and food for thought in many ways!
This is how you can test the bond with your dog
It’s always helpful to regularly check where you and your dog are in training. This makes it easier for you to find out which bonding exercises are suitable for you and to learn to better understand your dog’s behavior.
Here’s how you can tell if you and your dog already have a good bond:
|situation/challenge||Strong dog-human bond||Developable dog-human bond|
|resources||Your dog willingly accepts toys. He can lie relaxed in his place and be touched there.||Your dog constantly defends and claims toys, berths and also you or your visitors for itself.|
|Wolf down||You can take the bowl away from your dog at any time without him eating you for it. Your dog is patiently waiting for his food.||Your dog will defend its food, maybe even growl at you. If other dogs are around, he shows extreme envy for food .|
|leash & walk||Your dog is relaxed waiting for it to start. He lets himself be put on a leash and follows you out the door. The leash hangs loosely when you go for a walk, your dog orients itself towards you.||Your dog jumps wildly down the hallway and is always the first to jump out the door. You can hardly tame him and you have the feeling that he is going for a walk with you rather than the other way around.|
|Visit||Your dog knows that when the doorbell rings, he can lie relaxed in his place because YOU are in charge of the situation. Whether it’s the postman or Aunt Erna, your dog welcomes your visit happily, but in a controlled, relaxed manner and with your permission.||Your dog is over the moon, MUST be the first to receive the visit and won’t release it until every item of clothing has been carefully inspected. Maybe your dog reacts aggressively, barks and growls or won’t let you hug your visitors?|
|dog encounters||Your dog is relaxed because he knows nothing is going to happen to him and you are watching over him.||Your dog is completely freaking out, pulling and tugging on the leash, barking and growling, wanting to keep everyone and everything at a distance.|
|City traffic/ public transport||Your dog may be stressed and uncomfortable in this environment, but will orientate you and follow you obediently.||Your dog will panic and look for a way out. He feels let down because he hasn’t learned to orient himself to you. This can quickly become dangerous!|
|obedience||Your dog also orients itself towards you when running free and willingly comes when you call it. He loves being around you and is more interested in you than anything else. You can rely on each other and trust each other.||Is your dog constantly doing his own nonsense? Freewheel and recall works more like that? Is your dog more interested in its surroundings, other dogs, and anything else that might distract it than you?|
|autonomy||Thanks to clear rules and structures, your dog knows exactly what he is allowed to do and what he is not allowed to do. He delegates tasks like guarding and protecting to you because he trusts you to carry them out.||Your dog lives by its own rules. Dangerous situations arise all the time, you are both stressed, and living together does not feel like a community.|
Well, do you recognize yourself and your dog in some situations?
Of course, it can also be the case that your dog is jealous of food and still trusts you. It may be that your dog has difficulties with other dogs because of bad experiences and still trusts you.
It is also possible that your dog almost knocks you out of your feet every time you put on the collar and leash and still trusts you. In this case, he’s more of an irreverent bundle of energy, which you should still track down…
It’s wonderful how different all our dogs are. They all have their own wonderful character that wants to be understood. It is important to know that there is never THE ONE solution, but always one that suits you and your dog individually!
Reflect on different situations that everyday life confronts you and your dog with. In this way, you can find out at which point you are in your dog-human relationship and start training there.
Dog bonding exercises – this is how you can strengthen the bond with your dog
The great thing about bonding is that it can happen on the side. Many small things in everyday life and above all common experiences weld together!
1. Learn to understand your dog’s language
The better you understand your dog’s body language and signals, the more he feels understood. If you always react strangely or inappropriately from the dog’s eyes, your dog can judge you poorly and prefers to make its own decisions.
2. Have fun together!
Because positive experiences weld together! These can be search games for nose work, tugging games, fetching, running or fighting together – depending on what you and your dog like to play!
If you prefer it quieter, a picnic together can be a lot of fun!
3. Clear rules – assert yourself!
There are dos and don’ts in every household. If you don’t want your dog to be on the sofa – send him down, over and over again, until he gets it.
Don’t let anyone take the butter off your bread: Your dog can also exercise patience if you put his bowl in front of him and he has to wait a few minutes for you to release it.
Your dog sees you more as a leader if you show him boundaries.
4. Have adventures together
A trip to the sea together, exploring enchanted forest paths or a whole holiday with your dog – every adventure will bring you closer together and strengthen the bond with your dog.
5. Go on exciting walks
Let your dog know what a brilliant master or mistress he has there! You keep finding treats in the middle of the leaves and even ones hidden in the tree bark?
Your dog is guaranteed to look up to their “hunting partner” and always be looking where you are looking for prey next!
6. Be there for your dog when he needs you
Especially in situations where your dog is scared or unsure, it is your turn.
Show him by standing protectively in front of him that no off-leash dog will run into him. Don’t feel sorry for him, but offer him protection if there’s a storm outside and your dog gets to you.
7. Brief visitors before entering
Some dogs get uncomfortable when they are always being touched or they can’t shut down at all because the visit is sooooo exciting.
Before entering, give your visitors a hint to completely ignore the dog (for now). Once the dog has calmed down, he can say hello. If the scaredy-cat comes to sniff by itself, that’s okay too.
It’s just about not making the dog the center of the world (although secretly, of course, he is, hehe). This is how you relieve your dog of enormous stress!
A good bond is the be-all and end-all so that your dog always orients itself towards you in everyday situations and other challenging moments.
Bonding means mutual trust, friendship, respect, love, compassion and togetherness.
So that you can build such a valuable bond with your dog, there are some simple bonding exercises for dogs and humans.
Bonding creates shared experiences such as adventurous excursions, vacations, or looking for treats in the leaves on the daily walk.
Dogs need structures and clear rules so that they can relax and not feel responsible for everything.
If these rules are not followed, our little furry friends tend to develop into independent stubborn ones who only do their own thing and are no longer interested in their can openers.
A dog that is left alone with all its tasks is quickly overwhelmed and develops an alternative behavior that often turns into aggression. To prevent this from happening, it is important to be able to read and understand your dog.