Dogs have the unique ability to understand and pick up on human emotions. We see dogs getting excited when their humans are excited – and vice versa – all the time. This emotional sensitivity is part of the reason why dogs and humans can establish a deep bond between them.
Naturally, there are ways you can build and strengthen the bond you have with your dog. Dogs are often more than just pets; they are members of the family and they contribute just as much. One of the most effective ways to encourage this is by getting involved in training your dog. Here are the different ways training with your dog will strengthen your bond.
Training Makes The Dog Happy
Dogs have different requirements when it comes to maintaining a balanced life. They are pack animals and they need to follow a pack leader in order to be happy and fulfilled. Your dogs have this embedded in their DNA too, which is why they are the happiest with you as their pack leader.
Training actually makes your dog happy. It is the most basic way to show your leadership in the pack. It is about so much more than just teaching your dog some cool tricks to impress other family members. It builds trust and encourages the dog to rely on you even more.
As you go deeper into the training sessions, you will find your dog begins to show signs of happiness more and more. Every time you reward him for doing a good job, you see him wagging his tail happily. Repeat this regularly and a deeper emotional bond will form.
It’s not just dogs that are happy with their training too. The humans providing (or those involved in) the training sessions will also get the same happy feeling in return. The experience is truly invaluable and you can’t get this level of bonding opportunity from other activities.
Experience The Environment
Training is also a great way for you and your dog to experience the environment together. A short walk into a nearby forest, playing at the dog park, and simply taking regular walks around the neighborhood enables the two of you to share the same experience exploring your surroundings. Once again, it is the perfect opportunity to become a leader of the pack.
Taking your dog for a walk is the perfect way to train them in certain areas. For starters, you can set boundaries and practice leading the pack on an emotional level by taking regular walks. You can also practice keeping the pack under control. There will be a lot of distractions along the way and only you can keep your dog focused on the right things.
Similar to training to learn new tricks, perfecting your walk will encourage your dog look up to you even more. The experience builds trust and strengthen that bond between you and the dog. The more you do it, the more your dog will listen to your commands, even after the walk is over.
Let’s not forget that you also need to focus on your dog 100% when training him. This means setting aside some time to spend time with the dog, learning new tricks and taking walks whenever possible. Dogs love getting the attention of their humans; it is similar to the way we love getting the attention of our colleagues or family members at certain times.
Giving your dog your full attention helps improve contact. You look at him more and he will gaze into your eyes in return. According to experts, dogs view eye contact differently than wolves. Deep, intimate eye contact is a clear sign of affection for dogs. It doesn’t just affect him. Both you and your dog will get a boost in oxytocin when you lock eyes.
The more you focus on your dog, the more elevated the effects of that focus will be. Dogs can sense if you’re into the training (or if you’re thinking about the issues you had at work earlier).
The Feeding Effect
Dogs truly appreciate the hand that feeds them. In most cases, especially during training sessions, the treats they receive as rewards come directly from their humans’ hands. This is a staggeringly positive experience that will not only help with establishing a strong bond, but also taking that bond to the next level.
There is something about feeding your dog that makes him like you more. Maybe it is the sense of security they feel when you feed them; they know they can rely on you for food and well being, and they will absolutely love you for it. It can also be the experience itself; how you pet your dog after giving him his treat.
Either way, the bonding effect lasts a lifetime. Once that relationship is created, you will always have a friend in your dog, and he will always have you as his best friend and pack leader.
You and your dog will certainly feel tired after spending a couple of hours outside, playing and learning new tricks together. The ultimate way to end the training session is by getting some rest together. Many dog owners love to let their dogs sleep on the bed after a productive training session. Others opt for the couch to maintain the boundaries they have set.
Taking a rest together with your dog after a productive training session helps amplify the bonding effect even further. You don’t even have to sleep on the same bed. You can simply sleep near each other and the experience would be more than enough for both.
Keep in mind that your dog falling asleep near you is an important sign. It shows that he feels safe when you are around, which is always a mark of a good pack leader. Add physical contact to the experience, and you will also be inducing the release of endorphins and relaxing even more.
These are the different ways training with your dog helps create and strengthen an emotional bond between the two of you. You don’t need an overly complicated training regime either. The simplest tasks and training for the most basic commands are more than enough in most cases.
You can start with the basic commands when training your dog. These are the common commands such as “sit” and “come”, and they are very easy to learn. You still need to establish a system for rewarding your dog for his achievements. You also need to be consistent throughout the training sessions to establish structure.
Another great alternative to consider is getting a professional dog trainer to help you. This is beneficial for two reasons. First of all, you know your dog is getting the structure and training he deserves, since the program is created and executed by an experienced professional. Secondly, you can now focus entirely on working with your dog and sharing the experience, so you get the opportunity to establish a stronger bond with him.
Add the fact that professional dog trainers are easy to find and affordable, and you have the perfect solution. Dog Harmony, for instance, grants you access to professional trainers and a wide range of training programs to choose from. Don’t forget to consult professionals like these before choosing a training program so that you get the right program based on your dog’s characteristics.
More Tips and Tricks
Training is a positive experience for both you and your dog, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy. Taking the necessary steps to prepare for the training sessions can help keep every session effective. Here are some more tips and tricks you can use to enhance the experience:
- Keep your dog’s meal times scheduled. Dogs are more receptive before their mealtime, so that’s when you want to schedule the training sessions. The treats you offer your dog as rewards will also work more effectively before the dog’s mealtimes.
- Start training in a familiar environment before moving elsewhere or exploring nearby parks. Dogs need to feel comfortable to be able to focus on the training itself, and familiarity is one of the best ways to give them that comfortable feeling they need.
- Get involved! If you do choose to have a professional dog trainer for your dog, be sure to stay involved every step of the way. This is a bonding experience that you don’t want to miss out on. In fact, sharing the training experience can help prevent a lot of behavioural problems in dogs.
- Use positive encouragement. Yes, you can scold your dog when he makes a mistake, but never use force and don’t let your frustration take over. The moment you start yelling at your dog angrily is the moment you need to step away.
Last but not least, try to have as much fun as you can. Training your dog is supposed to be a positive, relationship-building experience. Don’t let small issues such as your dog taking longer to understand your command ruin the experience, and never get frustrated under any circumstance. Dogs can sense your frustration; this isn’t the experience you want your dog to have. Have fun and the training sessions you share with your dog will strengthen the bond between the two of you like nothing else.
This guest post is submitted by Nina Mosely.
DISCLAIMER: DogExpress does not endorse or take responsibility for the content in the guest post.
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