In this post, you will learn 11 ways to improve your bond and how to be your dog’s best friend. This guide also includes lots of practical steps to take to bond with your furry companion.
How to Make Your Dog Your Best Friend
Dogs are social creatures. They not only crave but need companionship and are, for the most part, eager to please if you provide them with the right tools to do so. And they are brilliant. Dogs possess intelligence akin to that of a two-year-old child, and most of us are familiar with how much trouble a toddler can get up to if left to his own devices.
For many dogs, it’s the same; if you fail to engage them, they will entertain themselves, more likely than not in a way you’d instead they wouldn’t; barking at all passers-by, stripping the laundry room walls of their baseboards, freeing you from the tyranny of heels by destroying one shoe of every pair… Really, for an intelligent, bored dog, the sky is the limit where mischief is concerned.
- Give them your full attention. Dogs like to share time with their people.
- Communicate with routine. Dogs aren’t human, but, like us, they are emotionally complex.
- Time for sniffing. Let them sniff.
- Reward, reward, reward.
How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend?
Luckily, there are ways to ensure you have a fulfilled dog on your hands, one that is engaged, mentally stimulated, and absolutely adores your company. This magical key to a happy dog and harmonious household? Simply give your dog focused attention and an appropriate outlet for her energy. It’s that easy.
Here are 11 ways to be your dog’s best friend.
Give Your Dog a Job to Do
Very few of us enjoy a free ride. It feels much more satisfying to have earned praise or reward, be it accolades or a bonus. Before tossing a treat in your dog’s direction, ask her to do something for you, like stay put. At the same time, you remove yourself to another room, reinforcing training, or sit before you give her a treat or dinner. It takes just a second, but the payoff can be huge.
Increase Your Dog’s Chances of Success
This means giving her the tools to behave as you wish her to. Ask her to do things you know she’s capable of and build your way up to more extraordinary skills to not create a culture of failure. For ingrained destructive behaviours that try your patience and sully your relationship, enrol in a class to tackle the problem or enlist professional help; it is money and time well spent and will pay untold dividends as far as your enjoyment of your time together goes. Find a positive approach, reward-based trainer near you for the best results.
Commit to a Walking Schedule
Dogs like schedules, and no matter how old or young, slow or feisty they are, they all love getting out to sniff around and socialise a bit. It will do wonders for your mood, health, and physique, too. Numerous studies have shown a correlation between weight loss or healthier body weight and dog ownership. Still, you have to get out there with your dog to reap the benefits!
Replace That Absent-Minded Pat with a Massage
Canine massage is a great way to keep tabs on your dog’s physical health while supplying comfort and affection. And by giving regular massages, you’ll notice any changes in your dog, like lumps, bumps, or sore spots, and can have them checked out by your vet, heading off any problems.
Provide Focused Attention
Even if our dogs are not alone, i.e. we are physically present, sometimes not much of that “together” time is spent actually with them. If you and your dog are sharing the living room, but you are absorbed in World of Warcraft or an episode of Mad Men, that doesn’t exactly count as quality time. Your dog doesn’t care what’s going to happen in Don Draper’s marriage or whether you won your latest battle. Instead, take time out from the TV and the laptop and give your dog a double whammy of goodness by combining focused attention with food, glorious food.
Hand-feed your dog her dinner bit by bit as she does as you’ve asked her to (wait, come, lie down, stay). This is an excellent way to reinforce your bond; you are the person that makes amazing things like dinner happen, as well as basic training. Don’t we all respond well to reward? I know I do.
Make Her Think
Play brain-boosting games. Dogs like to think, and most enjoy a challenge.
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Many thinking games, like Hide and Seek the Treats (sprinkle little treats throughout the house, then let your dog loose to find them) or stuffing a Kong with food, take mere minutes out of your day to set up and are uber-rewarding for our dogs.
Provide Her With a Place to Call Her Own
Make sure your dog has a couple of places to comfortably lie down, one somewhere private and quieter, as well as a bed more in the centre of things, so she can choose whether to be near her people or retreat a bit if she feels she needs her own space. This is particularly important if there are kids around or if your dog is older.
Supply Appropriate Outlets for Innate Behaviour
Give her a chance to do what she was bred to do. Take your water dog down to the river. Enrol your exercise junkie in agility. Try out frisbees with your Retriever.
Or the lure coursing sport with your sighthounds. Or treibball competitions for herding breeds; the list goes on. There are loads of breed and personality appropriate activities to indulge dogs of all preferences. And you never know, you just might make some new friends in the process, something that gets harder to do as we get older.Ditch the games of fetch and branch out a bit Click To Tweet
No one likes to be bored, dogs included. So if your dog will be left for an extended period, make sure she has something to keep her busy, like a stuffed Kong or something similar to work at.
Ensure Adequate Company
Dogs are pack animals. You are their leader, teammate, cheerleader, parent, and friend, all rolled into one. Make sure you deserve those joyous greetings you are the recipient of. Make sure your dog isn’t left alone for the majority of the day and the night.
If extended absences are impossible to avoid, employ a neighbourhood retiree or responsible teen to take your dog out for a walkabout during the day. Or maybe there’s an elderly person in your area who would benefit from a couch-mate during the day. It’s worth looking into.
Learn a Party Trick
Tricks are fun for dogs. A cute one is to teach your dog to sneeze. Simply wait for sneezes to occur naturally and then immediately say, “sneeze” in a bright and cheery voice and give your dog a treat. Do this each and every time your dog sneezes.
This trick can be learned in as little as two days. But, of course, your dog will then probably sit under the lunch table, sneezing unbidden in the hopes of getting a tasty bit of food!
I hope you enjoyed my article and have now learned how to be your dog’s best friend. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please leave them below, and I will get back to you as soon as possible.