Strengthening The Bond With Your Dog

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.

Breed of the Week: English Bulldog

This week’s featured breed is the lovable English Bulldog! Commonly known to be the comic relief wherever they go. They can be couch potatoes one moment, then running laps at full speed the next! A wonderful breed that can always put a smile on your face with their antics.

Originally developed in England, in the 13th century, English Bulldogs were bred for bull-baiting & guarding. It is believed that they were crossbred from Mastiffs brought over from Asia and the Pug, and through years of specific breeding, we were able to have Mastiff type dogs that were shorter and lower to the ground for better grip and balance, as well as a powerful jaw and determination to lock on to their target and not let go. The Bulldogs were responsible to keep the bulls under control and butchers believed that when bulls were baited before slaughter, that the meat would be more nutritious.

The English Bulldogs you see today are much friendlier and are certainly not put into a ring to fight anymore! But they still have similar characteristics their ancestors had. Today, the English bulldog is known to be a very stubborn breed that will not give up easily if they really want something. This can sometimes make it difficult for training, but don’t worry, they are very food motivated! They love to spend most of the day on the couch with their family, but once in a while they will get a short burst of high energy and need to run laps around the backyard!

Their coat is fairly easy to maintain. Being short-haired, they won’t require hair trimming, but they do still need regular brushing. With that famous wrinkly face, don’t forget to wipe in between the folds of their face to keep it clean otherwise they can easily get infected. Some English bulldog owners will find that their little bully needs their face and under tail wiped daily, while others only need it 1-2 times a week.

English Bulldogs have quite the personality. They will make you laugh on a daily basis and love hanging out with their family. It’s no wonder they are one of the most popular breeds in North America! They easily adapt to living in a home or an apartment, as long as they are with you! The English bulldog is suitable for someone who already has some dog experience due to their stubbornness and may be difficult to train. But with the right owner, they will bring joy and laughter every single day!

Breed of the Week: Basset Hound

The wonderfully cute, short-legged, droopy-faced Basset Hound! This adorable breed just melts your heart with their goofy demeanour, but don’t underestimate them! This breed is as hard-working as they come and always determined to follow their nose!

With their amazing sense of smell, it’s no wonder the Basset Hound was bred to be a hunting dog. Some people believe Basset Hounds were actually created from ‘dwarf’ dogs of other hunting breeds such as Bloodhounds. The shorter pups were bred for many years to eventually give us what we recognise today as the Basset Hound. The breed was taught to hunt in both packs as well as alone so they easily get along with other new dogs and very rarely show signs of dog aggression. Having such short legs does make them a bit slower than most dogs, which is perfect for their masters who are hunting on foot as they are more likely to catch up to the dog when they are on a scent.

Basset Hounds are still a popular companion choice for hunters today. Their sense of smell is a very close second to the Bloodhound.

Not only for avid hunters anymore, this breed makes a wonderful companion and family dog. They are typically extremely friendly dogs that love life and love everyone! The Basset Hound absolutely loves to play, but be careful with this breed at off leash dog parks! Their great sense of smell will often have them forgetting about the rest of the world (including you calling them to come back!). Recall is definitely something you will have to train and manage throughout your Basset Hounds life. It is a great idea to teach them games that use their brain and sense of smell such as ‘search and rescue’.

If you are considering bringing a Basset Hound into your family, keep in mind that being a natural hunter, they will make you aware of every single squirrel on your walk! Sometimes they will alert you with that big bellowing howl (which they do not always limit to outdoors). Basset Hounds like to be couch potatoes when they aren’t chasing down a scent, so make sure to include enough daily exercise as they will easily become overweight (also very food motivated!). Just as with other short-legged breeds, make sure they aren’t jumping or doing too many stairs as this can put a lot of strain on their joints and back, causing future health problems.

The Basset Hound is a great breed for individuals or families. They easily adapt to many different lifestyles. They have a true love for life and will surely make their owners lives brighter too.