Dog is a man’s best friend and, for a dog, well, you may be his only friend! Bonding with your dog is extremely important, whether you’ve just gotten your first puppy or you and your dog have been companions for years. Here are a few activities (just in time for spring and summer!) that will help you bond with your dog.
Go for a Walk or Run
This is probably the most obvious way to bond with your dog, but it’s surprising how many dog owners don’t regularly walk their pooches. Try to walk your dog for a half hour every day. During that time, put down your cellphone and just be mindful and in the moment with your dog.
Play Hide and Go Seek with Treats
One of my dog’s favorite things is to play hide and go seek. I’ll get out a smelly treat and have her sit and stay while I hide it somewhere in the house. When I release her, she runs all over looking for it, often taking cues from where I stand or point. It’s fun for both of us, and she gets to employ her underutilized sense of smell.
Now, my dog is no Mia Hammbone or David Barkham, but she loves soccer balls. Get one that’s sturdy and won’t ‘pop.’ It might take a few tries to find the right size and material. She may kick the ball around a little, but odds are she’ll just try to pick it up and run with it. Chase after her and, when you get it, throw it or kick it as she fetches.
Teach Her a Trick
Whoever said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks wasn’t trying hard enough. Dogs are perfectly capable of learning tricks at any age, and teaching them can be a great way to bond. Both you and your pup have to be patient, because you’re trying to communicate in a new way. Limit your training sessions to ten or fifteen minutes two or three times a day, and make time for play afterward!
Brush Your Dog
Some dogs love to be brushed. Others (like mine) don’t always enjoy it. But brushing your dog has both mental and physical benefits. Dogs only need a bath about once a month, but you can brush your dog every day. Focus on her during this time. Learn about her body. Doing this regularly will help you notice more quickly if something is wrong. Plus, your dog will love the undivided attention, even if she dislikes the brushing.