Dogs are creatures of habit, and it’s no surprise that we continually hear stories about the intense bond that develops between humans and their dogs. Dogs may travel hundreds of miles to find their lost home, dogs can save humans from a burning building, or even sacrifice their own lives to save a human companion. These are not just traits of trained search and rescue dogs, but of common dogs with strong relationships with their humans.
The human and dog bond has formed through thousands of years of domestication and partnership. As breeds were developed for hunting, herding, protection, loyalty, tameness and emotional support, each generation of dog naturally grew a closer connection to humans.
But it does take effort to nurture this bond.
Training is one of the best ways to strengthen your bond with your dog. The unique bond that search and rescue and K9 police dogs have with their handlers is a true testament to this. Positively reinforced training creates a mode of communication between you and your dog. When two species are able to communicate wants and feelings through any kind of language, this naturally strengthens a bond.
Pet parents of rescue dogs can also attest that dogs from shelters tend to exhibit an increased bond with their human rescuer. This may be due to a special appreciation for the person who saved them from a desperate situation. Or perhaps a strong bond develops out of fear of abandonment. Whatever the reason, rescue dogs can become the most connected companions a human can ever know!
Through training, routine, and positive reinforcement, pet parents can develop a strong bond with their furry loved ones. Take time out of the day to connect with your dog through pets and play. Practice a command like “stay”. Reward her attention. Include your dog on family outings when possible. This reinforces the notion that your dog is part of a team.
Small consistent steps can go a long way in enhancing the bond between you and your dog. When your dog knows that she can depend on her family for love, support, and clear communication, your dog will develop an inseparable connection to you and your family.