Each dog is different, even discounting breeding traits and they’ll handle stress in various ways. To form a true, strong bond with your dog takes time. It will also help if you have a shedload of patience and empathy. Why bonding with your dog matters is that a bond helps to create a healthy relationship between you and your dog. He will learn to trust you. He’ll listen when called and do everything he can to please you. So, the time that is taken bonding with your dog matters because it creates an overall happier dog and owner.
BONDING WITH YOUR DOG
Spend time together.
Spending quality time with your dog will help seal a strong bond between each of you, as he grows to trust you and you grow to respect him.
Without clear communication, both or one of you may mistake a signal or command that has the potential to break the bond or prevent you from bonding with your dog.
Make a big deal out of mealtimes.
Always ensure mealtimes are happy times and the food you’re presenting is good for him (it doesn’t need to be the most expensive either) Make sure he’s enjoying his meals and he’s relaxed with his surroundings. Dogs are creatures of habit, so try to stick to a mealtime timetable.
Train your dog
Most dogs love to be busy, along with the need to please you. Taking time to train your dog with positive reinforcement training will help the bonding process with your dog develop into an even stronger bond.
Be playful and have fun.
In a playful atmosphere, your dog will have more fun and enjoy the world around him. He’ll learn faster and retain what he’s learning as he will associate the training with a feel-good factor. You too will reap great benefits of having fun with your dog, watching him learn and grow in confidence.
When you’re calm around your dog, it’s more likely that he too will pick up on your calmness. Dogs are intelligent creatures and can identify stress and disharmony in their owners. Anxious owners often end up with anxious dogs.
BONDING WITH MY DOG ISN’T WORKING
When the bond is weak, your dog will not feel any closeness with you. He may even fail to trust you and will be unable to develop those loyalty traits dogs are renown for. To solve this problem, you first need to identify what type of bond you already have with your dog, if any. His background will also impact on how quickly he’s able to bond with you.
Signs your bond is weak with your dog.
- Emotional indifference to you or others in the family. He will ignore you and not take part in any significant interactions.
- He may fail to respond to commands, especially the recall command.
- A lack of desire to play. He may be withdrawn and wanting to be left alone.
- He’ll not make any eye contacts. He doesn’t look towards you or into your face for directions.
- A distaste for being handled. He is wary of all hand movements and shies away from any contact.
- Regular attempts to run off.
- Belligerence or even outright aggression toward you.
- Depression or lethargic behaviour
BONDING WITH YOUR DOG
The signs of dog’s weak bond with his owners can be heart-breaking to see. His life is the pits, and this is the reason why bonding with your dog matters. Nobody wants to see a sad, belligerent dog that is too withdrawn to enjoy what normal dogs have.
But you as his owner, whatever his background history can make a difference. It will take time, disappointments, and commitment, but the results are awesome. When your dog looks directly into your eyes with excitement, all the hard work will fall away. So, what do you need to do to help your dog to trust you?
HOW TO DEVELOP A BOND WITH AN ANXIOUS DOG?
We’ve talked about spending time, training, having fun and making mealtimes pleasurable for your dog helps with bonding. But what about the traumatised, anxious, and nervous dog?
Follows these tips to start with:
- Provide an area where the dog feels safe. Behind the couch. An unoccupied room. In a dark, quiet corner. Anywhere so long as it’s his territory.
- Take each day as it comes and rewards the tiniest of progress.
- Sit quietly with your dog at least three feet away. Don’t make any hand movements or move suddenly. Do this as often as you can.
- Sitting with your hands open facing upwards on your lap will help the process of bonding with your dog.
- Start to talk quietly. If you’re not sure what to talk about, tell him a story, describe your family. Keep your tone low and soothing.
- Don’t look at the dog; keep your eyes averted. Staring at him may make him think you’re aggressive.
- Now, wait. It may take days, it may take months, but he will start to respond to you. He’ll start by taking some interest in you. Don’t try to rush him at this stage, and don’t encourage him to get nearer. It must be on his terms.
- Don’t touch him during these bonding sessions until he contacts you by sitting next to or closer to you. Once this happens, you can begin to strengthen that first tentative bond.
SIGNS THE BOND WITH YOUR DOG IS STRONG
- There will be no mistaking the fact your dog is feeling an emotional connection with you.
- There’s an exciting light in his eyes.
- You’ll notice that he appears to be smiling with joy as he wags his tail and can hardly contain his excitement as rubs into you.
- His face is open and alert, and he’ll make eye contact and may even hold your gaze.
SIGNS YOU’RE BONDING WITH YOUR DOG
A sign you’re bonding with your dog is when he greets you with enthusiasm on your return home. He may even vocalize his pleasure at seeing you with a little singsong or yelps.
More signs will include:
- Keeping an eye, on you, and your location when he’s off the leash.
- Performing obedience commands readily without any hesitation.
- Making a great effort and showing great delight when he finds you playing hide-and-seek
- A need to be close to you, and a love for physical interaction
- He’ll show a desire to please you.
- Keeping and matching his pace to yours when walking
- A high level of focus on you, evidenced by frequently looking at you
- A willingness to protect or help you in a threatening situation
A STRONGLY BONDED DOG
You will recognize a strongly bonded dog, on his capabilities of communicating his needs, wants, and concerns to you. Because of the bond, you can read the signals your dog is giving out and understand your dog’s needs in most situation.
A well-bonded will always come on command, even when there are distractions present. At times this can be a difficult ‘ask’ but the bond to please you can be far greater to a well-bonded dog.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR YOUR DOG TO BOND WITH YOU?
If your new pet is still a puppy and especially if he’s around 2 months old, bonding should be a lot easier. This is the age when puppies are imprinting and learning at a great rate. They’re able to leave their mother and littermates and begin to accept people as companions and “pack leaders,” too. In the case of young puppies, you may not have to work at getting a strong bond with your puppy as it can happen naturally. But this isn’t always the case. I got a pair of siblings at 2 months old, and the boy bonded like magic, but the little girl, took a long time to bond with us, and she still loves to spend time alone in her little sanctuary.
Adult Dogs are a Bigger Challenge
Adult dogs will often take a little longer to bond with a new owner. Again, the time may be longer depending on their background if there’s a history of a possible traumatic past, physical abuse, or abandonment.
As all dogs have different temperaments and stories, each situation will need to be taken case-by-case. Before bonding, in general, can take place, it will often take a dog at least two days and up to three months and beyond to get used to its new owner. So, a great deal of patience is needed before you can fully bond with your dog.
Take time to Bond
When it comes to bonding with your new pet, it is best if you can keep everything as natural as possible, never try to rush the process, it won’t work and could cause irreparable damage to your relationship with your new dog. Don’t try to force the bonding process but take your time and don’t get discouraged if you don’t see instant results.
Once you’ve gained your dog or puppy’s trust and respect, you’ll find the rewards are immeasurable. The days, weeks and month of uncertainty will fade away as a distant memory.
IS IT EVER TOO LATE TO BOND WITH YOUR DOG?
Is it ever too late to build a relationship and bond with your dog? No. The fact is that if you want to strengthen your relationship with your dog, you can. It’s never too late, your dog is never too old, and your scenario is never too screwed up to commit to nurturing a stronger relationship.
BONDING WITH A SENIOR DOG
Bonding with an older dog can bring its own unique challenges with it and will require a great deal of sensitivity. Of course, it’ll all depend on the dog’s history and why he needs to start the bonding process with a new owner.
If you’re making that wonderful gesture of homing an adult or senior dog – bless you – you can’t do a better deed for our canine companions. Hopefully, you will be informed of any significant traumas that may impact on how he will be able to bond with you. But, if there’s no history to be had, then you’ll need to start from the basics and presume all the scenarios that may lead him to state he is now in.
Some Traumas that may impact on a Senior dog bonding with you
- Loss of an owner, either from death or circumstances.
The loss of a long-time owner from death or illness, can impact heavily on a mature dog, as with being abandoned because of his age. I know it is hard to believe, but it does happen! His owner might not have genuinely been able to afford his vet fees if he’s suffering from age-related diseases. Which leads to the scenario that because he’s suffering from pain, he’s become grumpy and potently aggressive.
Don’t be fooled
So, don’t be fooled that bonding with a senior dog will be a ‘walk in the park’ with all the challenges awaiting you. If you are thinking about fostering or adopting an elderly dog, make sure you know what problems you’re going to face, which will also include paying out for vet fees or a special diet.
OK, I know it sounds all doom and gloom, but I can assure you if you stick at it, you’ll be rewarded ten-fold. So where do you start? First, you need to follow the paragraph we talked about earlier How to Develop A Bond with An Anxious Dog.
Added to that, ensure he is pain-free, and all his physical needs are being met. Treat him like the old man he is, with special care and calmness. Never raise your voice. His sight and hearing may be deteriorating, so sudden movements and bangs will startle and stress him. Enjoy every moment you have with him, and he will reward you with love.
WHY DO WE BOND WITH DOGS?
A study conducted by J.S.J Odendaal in 2003 showed that when humans pet dogs, their bodies release oxytocin, a hormone associated with not only happiness but bonding and affection as well. According to the social support theory, animals are a source of social support and companionship, which are necessary for well-being. Canines’ social impact on humans is especially significant for those who tend to be more isolated, such as children with no siblings or elderly persons. In this view, the animal is part of our community and is an important determinant for psychological well-being.
Bonding with your dog matters so that you can share a greater understanding and trust for each other. Your bond will continue to grow and become much stronger
Here is one of my posts you may find interesting: helping your senior dog to stay healthy as often the bonding process will need to be started if you adopt an older dog
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