So, you love your dog, and your dog loves you. Actually, your dog thinks you’re the bee’s-knees. Here’s the problem: Your day to day sometimes gets too busy to always connect with your dog.
We get this question a lot from our customers:
“What are some ways to connect with my dog on a deeper level and on a daily basis?”
I want to give you ten tips for how to connect with your dog daily. Dogs need regular interaction. They don’t have an autopilot setting. You don’t have to go to great lengths to connect daily, but dogs are very social animals and will definitely benefit from extra interaction with you.
#1 Have them do work or tricks for their food
Dogs love to please and food is a great reward. So rather than just letting them eat out of the bowl whenever they want, you can get some playtime in and make them work for it. You’ll both be excited, doing something fun together, and connecting with each other.
#2 Take your dog on a daily walk
Obviously, this is if weather permits, not every day is a good day for a walk outside. Some days you might have to do some preparation to get their exercise in. However, on nice days take your dog for a walk around the block. If you can make it farther, do it!
However, just walking around the block or down to the end of the street and back is great. Remember, any amount of outdoor exercise with your dog is going to benefit both of you.
#3 Give your dog a vet-check
A vet check is where you act like the veterinarian! You do all the things a vet would do with your dog, without all of the uncomfortable instruments they use. If you need some ideas, you can try one, or all, of these:
- Pet your dog from head to tail.
- Handle their paws gently.
- Lift their tail up.
- Grab a leg and lift it a bit.
Get them used to being handled. A dog’s favorite thing is to be looked at, talked to, and touched. A vet check might not seem like loads of fun for your dog, but they actually really enjoy it. They especially enjoy being touched and loved on by you. Plus, it gets them used to being handled in the same way that a vet would touch them. This way when they go to the vet, they are less likely to freak out when they get touched.
#4 Brush your dog
Some dogs need more brushing than others. Some medium to long haired dogs need regular or daily brushing. If you have a shorthaired dog, you might not need to brush them as often. Instead, you could just stroke them and pet them as though you were brushing. It’s a great way to connect with your dog and care for them at the same time.
#5 Talk to your dog
Dogs want three things from you in particular, they want to be:
- Looked at
- Talked to
If you’re talking to your dog don’t just say “Hey Rover, how’s it going?” Try to actually sit down and get close to your dog. Look them in the eyes and have a little conversation. No, they don’t understand what you’re saying for the most part, but they do understand a lot of the words in our vocabulary. Just knowing that you’re looking at them, and talking to them is a way to connect. It makes them feel closer to you, because they feel loved and appreciated.
#6 Practice training
If your dog knows a few tricks, you can add some of those to work with. By using treats as reinforcement you can engage your dog through:
- Indoor recall sessions.
- Rewarding them for sits, stays, or downs.
- Teaching them how to shake or roll over.
Little things like that get them excited, engaged, and eager to work with you. Training and tricks with rewards are a great way for you to connect with your dog.
# 7 Snuggle With Your Dog
My dog noodle loves to snuggle. He is a chiweenie which is a Chihuahua and Dachshund mix. The Dachshund part of him loves to burrow. That means he loves to get under the blankets, and just snuggle up with me anytime I’m sitting or laying down. He likes to be right there in my lap as close to me as possible.
Your dog loves being close to you too, no matter what size they are. Snuggle time is really good for dogs, because most dogs absolutely love it. However, there are a few exceptions. If you know that your dog does not do well with snuggling or being held, don’t try to force them to do it.
# 8 Respect Your Dog
Like I said, not every dog loves to snuggle. A way to connect with a less cuddly dog might be to respect their space. Maybe they don’t want to hug or to be picked up. They might need a little quiet time after you have both had time connecting. A little bit of space is much appreciated by some dogs, and can really help them. Understanding that will help you form a deeper bond.
# 9 Play a game with your dog
Try a little game of hide and seek with your dog. It’s great recall practice, and they have fun while they’re looking for you. You can reward them with treats or love when they find you. Hide and seek is one great way to connect through games, because most dogs will play along. If you’re feeling more adventurous here’s a list of other interesting games to play with them.
#10 Give your dog treats
You can do it once a day, or throughout the day. Of course, you don’t want to give them so many treats that you make them fat. Just a little treat once a day is a great way to let them know that their loved and that you’re thinking about them.
You can make them do a little trick for it, or just something as simple as a basic sit. It’s always good to make them do something for the treat. My dogs get super excited when it’s treat time because they don’t get treats that often.
Strengthen the Human-Dog Bond
I hope these tips help you engage, connect, and bond with your dog even better than you already have. Our mission at DogBoy’s Dog Ranch is to strengthen the human-dog bond through education, training, and love. If you need help with that, we would be more than happy to take part. As always, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us.
Lucy’s by Phillip Bump
Dog Walk by MarkScottAustinTX
Noodle by DogBoys