One of the greatest benefits of owning a dog is the unconditional love. Dogs bring so much happiness into our lives. It is so important to keep that wonderful loving relationship strong between you and your pet and there are many great benefits to keeping that friendship strong!
When you interact with your dog, whether it be going for a walk, doing a training session, or playing in the backyard, you are strengthening your bond. You learn to read their body language better and they learn the same about you! Hanging out with your furry best bud is a great way to spend the day, but did you know it also helps your mental state? There have been numerous studies proving that pet owners have significantly lower stress levels compared to non-pet owners. Lower stress results in less risk for stroke and cardiovascular issues.
The emotional bond that we make with our pets, also greatly helps with depression and anxiety. This is partly due to the fact that dogs need to get outside daily! Which means we have to go out into the world and explore with them. Being out and about, getting some fresh air and sunlight is a great mood booster for both dogs and humans!
So with all these great benefits, how should you be bonding with your dog? It can be as simple as going for a walk; but make sure you are alert and attentive to your dog during the walk! This is the part that most owners forget. Watch your dog reacting to different objects on your walk and when he looks back at you for direction, tell him ‘good boy’ so he knows you are focused on him. During your walk, take spontaneous breaks to have your dog sit, lie down or give paw, whatever tricks you’d like! This shows your dog you aren’t interested in everything else going on around you two, you are interested in him, and it will help your dog to also pay more attention to you.
There are so many ways you can help strengthen the bond between you and your dog. Some examples are playing fetch, going for a hike, exploring new places together or even training your dog on agility equipment! Even something as simple as cuddling with your pet helps to improve your bond as most dogs are very responsive to touch and it’s a great way to communicate to your dog your affection. Or consider teaching your dog a new trick! If he already knows all his basic commands, think of something new! Teach him the name of one of his toys so he can go grab it when asked. Learning new tricks will not only help you two bond, but also keep your dog mentally satisfied as he is challenged with a new problem he has to figure out through the help of your communication.
The most important thing to keep in mind is to just have fun and enjoy the time you are spending with your dog! Dogs are easily able to identify when a human is being sincere or not so make sure you really are doing something fun together! Whether you two are practising for a dog agility competition or having a lazy afternoon cuddling on the couch, enjoying each other’s company will help to reinforce your bond.