As dog parents our relationship with our puppy or dog can feel like a roller coaster sometimes. Things are going great or not at all but you wonder how to make the bond better with them. Sometimes the obvious answer just does not seem possible or you may think you have tried everything. This is the relationship I must accept and that can be hard for any dog parent. It can be even more difficult if you have family and friends who have a great bond with their puppy or dog.
Instead of dwelling on what others seem to have that you do not with your puppy or dog I wanted to write this blog post for you. I wanted to share three ways to have a better bond with your puppy or dog. You can start doing them today and move towards that bond you and your puppy or dog deserve together.
First of all, creating a better routine with your dog is important. If you do not have one or are not consistent. Dogs love routines and they give them confidence and excitement for the basic things we may overlook. Meals, walks, play, and sleep are all things your dog expects to experience each day but being consistent is essential. With a business where I have done pet sitting, I have seen first hand how important it is to stay with a routine. It provides stability and lessens the stress of never knowing when things are happening for your dog.
Part of the frustration owners can feel on a walk for example, if their dog is doing poorly it is directly related to being consistent with taking a walk and working on training. Being inconsistent and having unrealistic expectations sets you and your dog up for failure. Try getting up earlier to get out on a walk in the morning or evening as well as utilizing different ways to incorporate your dog into your schedule.
Three days a week, go to the dog park for example. Also, I would use your cell phone calendar/app to put your dog on your schedule so you will remember and manage your time well. This may sound silly and that you would never forget about your dog but life happens. A schedule means you have designated the time to do it and it will become easier to do once you establish one with your dog.
Feeding your dog
Secondly, the way you are feeding your dog can be having an impact as well. Putting food in a bowl, placing it down, and leaving or free feeding in the bowl seems easy enough for you as a dog owner. However, that is not helping your dog associate you as valuable. They go over to the bowl and food is there but they do not think you did it. Instead, hand feeding them their meals gives you a chance to have fun bonding while working on basic training, which in turn makes your dog physically as well mentally work for their meal by focusing on you.
Some of their excess energy gets out, so when you leave for work they not only have a walk but some bonding in the house with you. If you are running short on time then take your dog’s food in a Ziploc bag and feed while on your walk. You want your dog to do sits, down, eye contact, and stay next to you on walks. Therefore, using a meal is another way to keep building your bond and rewarding great behavior from your dog.
Another great option to give your puppy or dog is a food toy to mix things up. It may not be the hand feeding option I mention above but it still gives you a chance to work on your bond and do a little training before you give it to he/she and leave. I like Kong and PetSafe Busy Buddy Tug-A-Jug Meal-Dispensing Dog Toy. I like both these food toys for different reasons.
The kong you can put kibble, wet food, cottage cheese, pumpkin as examples of fillers then put it in the freezer. It will take your puppy or dog sometime to lick out the contents. I would recommend trying the kong out when you are home at first to see how your puppy or dog responds to it and that will let you know if it is a good fit.
PetSafe Busy Buddy Tug-A-Jug Meal-Dispensing Dog Toy allows you to just put some kibble in it and secure it back on. I have seen my mother-in-law’s puppy enjoy rolling it around and getting out the kibble. It keeps him busy and makes a positive association that good things happen for him like the dog toy when my mother-in-law is leaving.
These are just two examples of dog food toys to try but remember every puppy and dog are different with what they like so do not get discouraged if the first one you try does not work right away.
Related Post: How to Choose and Use Treats in Training Your Dog
Finally, time management is another thing that can impact building your bond. This may not seem so obvious compared to other things in your life, but finding the time and putting it into your dog is essential. Like I mentioned above, putting your dog on your calendar as well as looking at how much quality time you give during the week might give you a much needed reality check. Walking your dog and being on the phone or just letting him/her out to go the bathroom is not going to build that relationship you want.
Giving your complete attention. I understand the obligations dog owners have but making small changes will help both you and your dog. We use so much technology in our daily lives to help manage or waste our time (I am guilty of that too) and stay connected with other people. Why not apply a little more of that thinking and time to your dog?
Another great way to help gain more time with your puppy or dog is getting up earlier in the morning. I know that sounds like a stretch but setting the alarm a little earlier could make your morning time with your puppy or dog not rushed and less stressful. Would it be nice to go on a walk, play a game with your puppy or dog before work and not feel the pressure of running late or never having enough time.
I challenge you wake up thirty minutes earlier and see what it does to your relationship with your puppy or dog. Finally, another way to include your puppy or dog more in your time is to put them on your calendar like you do with everything else. Whether an old school calendar or on your phone, ipad, or computer works best does not matter. We tend to do things that are scheduled and this will not only manage your time in a better way but hold you accountable to yourself with your puppy or dog.
Instead of saying I never have time to go on walks or I am too busy you will see your puppy or dog’s name on your calendar and that is another reminder of how important he/she is in your life. Moreover, that bond you seek with your puppy or dog takes time and consistency but the more you create time with them the better your bond will become.
Related Post:5 Mistakes You Are Making on Dog Walks
Walks and How they can Impact Your Bond
Another area that you may be struggling to build that bond with your puppy or dog is on walks. Everything seems great inside your house but as soon as the front door opens up your puppy or dog forgets you are on a walk together. Moreover, being pulled down the street is dangerous and can feel discouraging when you want to share that special bond with your puppy or dog with the world.
Therefore, with a puppy or dog that pulls on walks you will need more help to change it and enjoy them together. That is why I created a Dog Pulling Guide to give dog parents a way to start taking action as well as know why your puppy or dog are pulling on walks. If you do not understand why this problem is occurring then it will not stop.
Using the three areas I mentioned above in this post will help create a better bond, but my Dog Pulling Guide will give you another way to build your bond on walks. Imagine being able to go on a walk without the pulling and having the confidence and knowledge to stop it will add to your bond wherever you choose to go on walks together. Grab your Dog Pulling Guide now.
Let this blog post help you make the bond better with your puppy or dog while knowing if you take action and make changes each day then you and your puppy or dog are going to get closer to that bond and life you deserve together.
Are you prepared for your next dog walk?
- Checklist of the supplies you need for your walk with examples of each
- High value and low value dog treat examples