As much as you love your dog, you understand that it can be difficult to squeeze in quality pet bonding time because of your busy schedule and your tendency to get stuck in a rut with your walk and play routines.
But as a fur parent, you also know nothing is more beneficial than finding a variety of new ways to bond with your dog.
Walking your dog is definitely a great way for you and pooch to get some physical activity, but did you know that you can actually give your pup more of a mental workout by engaging in some training or active play instead? Teaching your dog a simple new trick such as puppy pushups, high fives, or sit-stays are a fantastic way to create a bond between you and your pooch.
Another great way to bond with dogs is by socializing with them. Not all dogs are cut out for dog park visits, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be social with them. Bringing your dog to dog-approved spaces may be a great option if your dog has the basics of leash training down.
Here are five fun, unique, and beneficial ways to bond with your dog that go beyond your normal dog care routine of neighborhood walks and simple games of fetch.
1. Teach Your Pooch a Simple Trick
Have you ever witnessed a dog who is so smart that she can roll over, play dead, high five, and stand on her hind legs and do pirouettes? That dog isn’t necessarily any smarter than yours. Her human has just taken the time to engage in some training with her, and nothing creates a strong bond between dog and human like learning tricks together. The secret is, you’re both learning. You, as the dog’s parent, are learning to create a language with your pet that entails trust and patience, and your dog is learning to trust and be patient with you as she masters your directions.
The key to teaching dogs a simple trick like sit or high five is to break it down in steps. It’s also important to use high-value treats, like hot dogs or liver treats, to reward dogs each time they get a step right.
Some of the best simple tricks to start with are sit and stay, high five, and puppy pushups, and you can start by finding step-by-step training videos on YouTube like the ones we’ve linked to here.
Remember, it’s cute and cool to be able to show off your puppy tricks to friends and family, but what’s even more amazing is the bond you are creating with your pet, which will lead to a lifetime of trust and love.
2. Take Your Pup to a Social Event
Taking dogs out into any social situation takes trust. It also creates an important understanding between pet and human. Obviously, we don’t encourage you to take your pooch to a movie or a raging house party, but there are most likely lots of social events and meet-ups in your area that are the perfect opportunity to introduce Fido to the world and show off his fantastic leash manners.
If you happen to live in New York City, Benebone is hosting a “Yappy Hour” at Boris & Horton Cafe on Saturday, August 10, at 12 p.m. Dog parents will enjoy an afternoon of free goodie bags, dog caricature drawings, games, and prizes. There will also be adoptable puppies from Social Tees NYC, dog influencer meet-and-greets, and complimentary beverages for the first 50 customers.
If you’re not an NYC resident, you can use sites like Meetup to find local dog groups and activities in your own area.
3. Hand-Feed Your Dog
Hand-feeding your pup is a great way to create a secure bond, teach good manners, and boost doggy confidence, and it also helps control bite inhibition.
The first thing that hand-feeding does is get your dog to start focusing on you. You are the purveyor of food, therefore you deserve her undivided attention. This bond creates trust and fosters socialization between dog and parent.
It also helps your dog cultivate impulse control and, ultimately, have better manners in the long run.
Here’s how to hand-feed your dog:
- Measure out your dog’s dry food before you begin so you know how much to provide.
- Offer your dog the kibble just one or a few pieces at a time.
- If your dog snaps for the food or is too aggressive, pull your hand away and wait for her to show patience. Your dog should take the food from your hand relatively gently.
- If your dog refuses food from your hand, put the food away and try again later.
- Eventually, your dog will be hungry enough to eat from your hand, politely.
4. Use a Dog Camera If You're Frequently Away From Home
Many of us work long hours, and we don’t get to be home with our pups as often as we’d like. That’s why it’s so important to make those moments when we are home with our pets count for a lot by spending quality bonding time with them.
Since having a job is most likely unavoidable, there are ways to be able to see and interact with your pooch while you are away from home. Consider investing in an interactive dog camera that allows you to keep tabs on your pet both visually and audibly. For example, the Furbo dog camera tosses your dog treats, gives you barking alerts so you can calm your pup down when she’s being too noisy, and keeps photo and video tabs on all your dog’s cutest moments.
Shop for the Furbo dog camera here.
5. Take Group Training Classes Together
The truth is, one of the best ways to bond with your pet is to take group training classes together. Trainers offer all kinds of classes, from beginner puppy training to advanced agility training and E-Collar training. The big secret is, training isn’t just for your dog. It’s actually mostly for you! You need to learn how to effectively communicate with your four-legged friend, and you’re not going to learn it by sending pooch away to school without you!
Training benefits your bond in so many ways. Yes, your dog will learn basic obedience, which is necessary, especially if you live in a city or socialize frequently with others. Your dog will also learn to behave himself in a room with other dog trainees, which is excellent for developing social skills.
And it’s true what they say: You CAN teach an old dog new tricks. It’s never too late to start group training sessions. Dogs of any age can pick up new behaviors and benefit from the trust and bonding that inevitably happens in these group classes, so give your pooch a chance to impress you with his skills!
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