The human bond is a relationship between two or more people. Bonding happens between family members, friends and even groups who spend time together.
We also bond with animals. The bond between humans and canines date back 15,000 years. The bond with your pet can be as tightly formed as bonds with other humans. It is no secret that canines are loyal creatures. Not only do they provide a source of comfort and companionship, science proves that the relationship with our dogs provides many health benefits as well. Spending time with animals can lower stress and blood pressure levels. It also often decreases depression. Our canine friends even get us moving, which aids in weight loss.
The bond we form with animals is real. It explains why we suffer intense grief upon losing our pets. Dogs share in that sadness too. Last year we posted a story on our social media accounts about a dog found in the parking lot of Good Samaritan Hospital. The hospital was miles from the dog’s home. When the dog was found, a call was made to the phone number on the ID tags. Turned out the owner was in the exact hospital where the dog had been found. The man had been admitted to that hospital days earlier. The dog missed his owner so much that he escaped the house and tracked him there. Google the heartwarming story from Long Island if you want to read more about this story. Local news media picked it up.
There are times our human-canine bond is super strong and times it’s weakened. The reason for a weakened bond is life. A busy work schedule, returning to school, having a new baby, getting married, moving. Any life change can disrupt our routine. Our pets often suffer as a result of our busier schedule. What are signs your human-canine bond may be weaker than usual?
- Dog stops responding to commands
- Depressive or lethargic behavior
- Their appetite suffers
- Your dog is snarky with you or other family members. (growling or snapping)
- Dog suddenly attempts to escape the house or property
- You become invisible. Dog stops looking and listening to you.
- Recall command is suffering (come)
- The desire to play is gone or lacking.
- The dogs keep their distance from you and resist handling
The good news is that you can strengthen that bond again. Here are ten tips to help:
Be in the Moment: When spending time with your dog, put down the electronics, turn off the television and focus solely on your dog. He’s waited all day for you to return home. Don’t let social media get in the way.
Play games with your dog: Whether you throw a ball around, swing a flirt pole or play enrichment games with puzzles, your dog will love the fun activity.
Walk and Socialize your Dog: Bring your dog for walks or car rides while you run errands (where the dog is permitted). Not only is time with you enjoyable, they will enjoy socializing with other people and dogs too.
Feed your dog: Rather than leaving a bowl of food around for your dog to graze on throughout the day, schedule feeding times. The preparation and delivery of the food is enjoyable for your dog when it comes from a human.
Quiet Time: Spend time brushing, massaging or petting your dog. The physical contact makes handling more enjoyable for them.
Recall your Dog: Play hide and seek, restrained recall and touch with your dog. These games help teach your dog that coming to you is great. It also makes the dog aware of your presence and absence.
Travel Together: Include your dog on weekend adventures or vacations whenever you can. Dogs enjoy vacations as much as we do.
Train your Dog: It is important that our dogs know how to live in a human environment. Our job is to help them understand through obedience training. Once your dog is properly trained in obedience, explore agility training, therapy dog training or various sporting competitions. Just make sure the training experience is a good fit for your dog.
Teach your dog new tricks. They love the challenge
Build Trust: Help your dog trust you by keeping them out of situations they do not enjoy. We do not mean avoiding uncomfortable situations, we mean giving your dog space. If your dog does not enjoy meeting strangers, stop unknown people from interacting with your dog. Does a dog barking behind a fence startles or upset your dog while on walks? Don’t walk alongside that fence, give some distance and walk in the street. If your dog truly hates walking, find an alternative exercise routine that he enjoys.
Have you recently welcomed a foster dog or new rescue dog into your home? Try these tips and share your experience. We’d love to hear from you. If you would like to share additional tips, leave them in the comments below. Our readers will appreciate any additional information.
Want to work as a professional dog trainer? Our 18 week online program is a hands-on program where students are required to work with dogs. Skill and ability is determined through a series of videos submitted to the school. We also offer a 2-week and 4-month in-person internship. To learn more about the courses we offer, visit ISCDT.com
Feature photo credit: Bechir Kaddech on Unsplash
Written by Katie McKnight