Dogs are our true unconditional best friends. We all build a natural bond with our pet companions. When we come home, they are there to greet us with positivity and are always by our side.
However, dogs behave differently from us, and I wanted to build a list of ideas to build a stronger bond with them. The same is true for humans: do something the other person finds fun, and they will love you for it!
21 fun and simple ways to bond with your dog
I wanted to make a list of fun things to do with your dog at home or outside.
1. Spend time together
As simple as it is, the more time you spend with your pup, the stronger your bond will be. Aside from spending time together at home, looks for things you can do together. Search for pet-friendly places and go on trips together.
2. Play a sniff game with your dog
It is another excellent game to play at home. Use two to four boxes and hide a tasty treat in each one. Then, tell your dog, "find it!" and let him find the tasty treats.
Once your pup knows the game better, start placing the treats in only two or three of the four boxes. It will make the game more challenging and fun.
The last level is getting rid of the boxes and simply hiding treats throughout the room or the house. It is one of my tips for dogs with separation anxiety: hide treats before leaving in the morning so that your dog can go on a little treasure hunt!
3. Communicate consistently, so your dog understands you
Dogs will most likely not understand what you are saying. However, they are very good at reading visual cues. So, whether you are playing, training, or just talking to them, use the same visual and vocal cues. Being consistent will help them understand you.
If you notice that you often say something to your dog without using a visual clue, try to add one. It can be a unique hand or finger movement or even using an object (jingling keys often mean you're going for a walk!).
4. Bond through grooming!
Most dog breeds require brushing once or twice a week. Use this as a bonding experience, be gentle in your touch, and they will love it. Dogs are natural attention-seekers, and grooming is a great excuse to give them that attention.
5. Get some exercise together
Forget about simple walks around the block. Instead, consider going out for a quick job with your dog once a week. You may even go further than usual, and your dog will love the new scents he finds on the way.
6. Train your dog
Having a well-trained dog have two main benefits:
- They spend quality time with you, half playing, half treat. Who doesn't like that?
- Since they behave correctly, they'll get to spend more time off-leash, near you during meals, etc.
7. Stay calm
Be a calm and relaxed leader. Dogs feel our emotions, and they will not show their best behavior if they are around a stressed-out owner who yells. Your dog will naturally be calmer and mimic your behavior.
8. Research dog behavior
There are different ways to know if you are molesting a dog without realizing it or if a stranger dog wants you to pet him. Learn the basics of dog body language by following the previous link to an article I wrote, and you will always know what mood your dog is in!
9. Pet your dog
Research suggests that petting your dog helps reduce their heart rate and the stress hormone cortisol. In addition, petting increases the anti-stress hormone oxytocin. But, of course, the same benefits apply to you as well!
10. Add something extra to their food
Add part of a fresh salmon fillet to their food, make homemade popsicles or bake some treats; the list is endless! It's no secret dogs love their food. Yum!
11. Create a routine
Dogs are creatures of habits, just like us. So try to have regular mealtimes and walk times. Be consistent in their routine and use consistent communication so your pet feels more relaxed.
12. Don't be afraid to play with your dog!
Take some time every day to be playful with your pet. Whether using toys or merely running around, this will help you build a stronger bond with your dog.
13. Hand-feed your dog from time to time
You can hand-feed your dog while training and at some other times. However, your dog will need to pay special attention when eating from your hand and follow your vocal and visual cues.
14. Have a cuddling session
Cuddle with your furry friend on your bed, couch, or even down on the floor. Don't hug them too tight, as they may dislike that, but gently pet them in areas you know they love. Refer to my article on where to pet your dog and stranger dogs. Their chest is usually a great option!
15. Give them their personal space
Whether it is a crate, a room, or even outside, let your dog have their personal space where they can be alone. They should be able to go there when they want to take a nap or if the rest of the house is too loud for them.
16. Play indoor parkour
If your home allows it, play indoor parkour with your dog by setting some obstacles they need to go around or jump over. Use praising, petting, and treats to reward them while doing it. You can take this exercise outside if your home doesn't allow it.
17. Pay attention to what your dog likes and dislikes
You know your pet best. So do more of what they like and less of the rest. For example, most dogs dislike head pats, strong chemical sents at home, and loud noises.
18. Choose fun and challenging toys
Have you ever let your dog play with a food-hiding toy? They will usually chew on it for hours. Next, you can look into food puzzles. Watch out for frustration, as the goal is not to have your dog frustrated. If the food puzzle is too complex, you may take it away and reward them with food instead.
19. Sniff his snout
When your dog greets you in the morning, get close to his snout and sniff it. Your dog will think, "he gets it!" and reciprocate or lick your face. It is a fun way to engage with your dog in a manner he understands.
20. Run around
No time to set up indoor parkour? Just run around and chase each other inside! That's right. It's that simple.
21. Get down on the floor and wiggle at each other
There is no need to get complicated. Get to their level so they feel comfortable and wiggle around and play together. They will love it!