Man’s best friend: the domesticated canine. For thousands of years humans have cherished and sought out bonds with dogs. Though initially the relationship between humans and dogs may have been for hunting and protection, in modern times we just love the comfort and emotional support that a faithful, loyal pooch can offer us. And the benefits go the other way as well. A dog whose needs are taken care of is as likely to find comfort and support in their human companion. East Valley Animal Hospital is a veterinary clinic that serves the Gilbert, Chandler, and Mesa communities. Many of our vets and staff own dogs and have gone through the bonding process. That’s one reason we’d like to suggest a few ways to form a strong bond with your dog.

1. Spend Time With Your Dog

This may seem obvious, but in today’s culture we lead such busy lives that it can be a challenge to put in quality time with your pooch. This doesn’t just mean being present in the same room. It means paying attention to your dog, giving him a good belly rub (if that’s what they like), taking him for a long walk, or finding fun activities you can both enjoy. Dogs are social creatures and love to please; when your dog senses that you enjoy being around them, it will feel happy.  

2. Use Positive Reinforcement to Train

Especially at the beginning of the relationship, be sure to invest time and effort into training your dog. A misbehaved dog is not a happy dog, and neither will its owner be happy. Positive reinforcement is a key in the training process. If you attempt to train your dog by raising your voice, or worse, by hitting them, they will learn to fear you rather than trust you. It’s important to set healthy boundaries for your pup as well. Dogs follow clear-cut rules well, so be sure to be consistent.

3. Understand How Your Dog Communicates

Communication is the key to any great relationship, and it takes time to perfect. That goes for the canine-human relationship as well. When your dog barks, do you usually just tell them to be quiet? Or, do you take the time to see if their barking is telling you something, perhaps that they’d like to go outside, or they need something else? Knowing how to read your dog’s body language and other habits will help strengthen your bond.

4. Know What Your Dog Likes and Dislikes

Dogs are like humans in that they have their own unique personalities. While one may be extremely social, another might prefer to lay low and be more calm. Your dog might choose rigorous activity or opt for a leisurely walk. The more you know your dog and what they like and dislike, the more likely they are to trust you and rely on you.

5. Play Together

We know you may be exhausted when you get home from work, but don’t underestimate the positive power of playing with your dog. Having fun is essential to cultivating a strong bond with your pet and having a healthy pet as well. When you play with your dog, you’re stimulating their minds and their bodies. And, like their human counterparts, dogs release endorphins when they exercise and play, which in turn makes them happier and calmer.

As you can see, bonding with your dog can have immense health benefits for them. At East Valley Animal Hospital, we love it when your pets are happy and healthy. If you have additional questions about the bonding process, or if your dog needs to visit a veterinary clinic, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with us!

Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst (4/14/2018)