BUILDING A BOND
Teaching your dog or puppy exercises is great but building un unbreakable, long lasting bond & relationship with them is paramount. If your dog does not love being with you then you will struggle to teach them exercises, especially those such as recall & loose lead walking.
Communicate & learn your dog’s language
You expect them to learn yours, so why shouldn’t you learn theirs? The first step to having a great relationship with your dog is having effective communication between you both. Your dog is always communicating to you with their body language. For example, the position of their tail, how fast or slow it’s wagging, the direction of their ears, almost every part of your dog's body is a signal for how they are thinking and feeling, so get watching, learning & listening! When you share a greater understanding of each other, your relationship & bond will be much stronger.
Watch what you do more than say
Where possible, use your body language & visual signals more than talking. Remember that your dog does not understand English but is always watching your actions. They are constantly learning with every interaction you have together.
Build Trust Together
You cannot have a strong partnership and bond without trust. Help your dog trust you by being a great teacher and guiding them to make good choices rather than being angry & telling them off when they have made a mistake. These will be made, just move on & learn from these.
Be cool, calm & happy
Be patient when you're developing a bond with your dog. They pick up on your feelings, so if you lose your temper, your dog will feel uneasy too. Stay calm, and take it all in your stride, so they knows that they can always rely on you. Don’t be grumpy around them, be happy so they want to be with you.
Respect that your dog is not a human, so make sure you are not treating them like one. A lot of times, we are so focused on what we want that we forget they are a living being with their own likes and dislikes. If your dog hates to have their belly rubbed but loves ear scratches, respect that! Your dog will trust you more if they know you are not going to force them to do something they do not like, and your bond will grow stronger.
Make Every Experience Positive
Sometimes, you have to do things your dog may not like, such as giving them a bath or hoovering. Work towards turning these events into positive experiences. Use toys, treats & praise to make good things happen, therefore a more enjoyable experience.
It may seem mean to give your cute new dog any rules & boundaries, but they are important. Dogs are happier having set rules and knowing exactly what is expected. Be consistent with these, for example, don’t let them them the couch one day and then not the following day.
Dogs crave mental stimulation and love being busy. If your dog does not have enough activities to keep them entertained, they are more likely to amuse themselves (by getting up to mischief!). Giving their meals in a bowl can be boring for your dog, so use their daily food as rewards, fun games or teaching them. If their food comes directly from you, your dog’s bond to you will definitely be strengthened.
Keep your dog's favourite game or toy for your special playtime together, and they will associate fun happy times with you!
Knowing & respecting your dog's individual personality is important. Do they have an absolute favourite snack, toy, or game? Give them this to let them know they did a great job, maybe after they have been learning something new, or maybe they did great on a walk etc.
Some dogs want to snuggle all day, while others prefer to hang out on their own. One might love an exciting game of fetch, while another may prefer to learn a new exercise or trick. Pay attention to what your dog likes, what kind of games they enjoy, and what social situations they are/are not comfortable in. will help you let them live the best life, and they will know you will not force them to do things they prefer not too, therefore can trust you completely.
Quality time together
Your dog appreciates all the small moments they get to share with you, and the more quality time you spend together, the stronger your bond will be.
If you are just running out to do chores, then take your dog with you on a little adventure. Busy on the phone, then play a game of tuggy or fetch or maybe you are just sitting down then have a snuggly cuddle. Play is also important! Dogs love to have fun play times with you and it truly does strengthen your bond.
Your dog will have their own little ways of showing you how much they love you, so whether it's having a snuggle on your lap or a bunch of dog licks & kisses, make sure you let your them know you love them as much as they love you.
Letting your dog run around the garden, or just walking round the block isn't enough. Make their walks an adventure. Let them stop and sniff, have fun with them & have a quick game of tuggy, regularly change directions, or spend a while teaching them. This will keep your dog busy, having fun and want to be with you.
Set up for success – lower expectations
Go slow! Never expect perfection from your dog. Allow them time to learn. Ask too much from them & they will quickly become frustrated. Doing this not only helps build your dog’s self-confidence but they will also have trust in you as a reliable and positive teacher in their life.