How to bond with your dog

Bonding with your dog should be fun. We look at some tips and tricks to help you build a strong relationship with your new best friend.

A strong bond with your canine companion isn’t instantaneous – you’ll need to work at it. How easy it is to build that bond will depend on a number of factors, including your pet’s personality and their background.

It might take more time and effort to build up a bond if your dog has had multiple previous owners or been neglected for example (see our tips for adopting a rescue dog).


Spend time together

It may sound simple but spending lots of quality time with your dog is the best way to build a bond.

If they’re a family pet, make sure everyone spends a bit of time with them each day. That can include playing, walking or snuggling up on the sofa together.

During time with your dog, make sure you’re actually focused on them, chatting to them as you walk. Rather than talking on your phone, for example.


Play games

Playing games is a great way to bond with your dog as it involves high levels of interaction from both of you. Favourites including fetch, hide and seek and shadowing are all great options for building up trust while having fun together.


Take a look at our guide to games you can play with your dog.


Groom and pet your dog

Regularly grooming and petting your dog will help them get used to your touch and encourage them to seek physical affection and comfort. It can even lower their stress levels.

Remember to watch your dog’s responses to being touched and back off if they look uncomfortable.


Start training

Regular obedience training is great for opening the lines of communication between you and your pet, as well as creating the sense that you’re a team and building trust.

Once you’ve got ‘come’, ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ mastered, why not try some more challenging tricks to help boost your dog’s mental stimulation and give you a common goal to work towards?


Establish a regular routine

For your dog to truly trust you, they need to be secure that all their needs will be met, which is why establishing a regular routine is so important. If your dog knows they will be fed and walked at certain times of the day they’ll be more content.


Learn about canine behaviour

Dogs often show clear signs when they’re feeling threatened or stressed. If you can learn to recognise these signs and remove them from uncomfortable situations then they’ll soon trust that you have their best interests at heart, which is a big step forward in your relationship.

See what your dog’s body language is trying to tell you.

How can you tell if you
have a strong bond?

Bonding with your dog can be a lengthy process, however, it’s a truly rewarding one. Look out for these signs that you and your canine companion’s relationship is going from strength to strength:

  • They happily greet you, whether it’s with a wagging tail or an excited dance.
  • They keep you in sight when you’re out and about.
  • They’re open and relaxed when you’re around.
  • They’re obedient and (usually) follow your commands.
  • They’re well-mannered – both to you and other people. Well-behaved dogs are usually secure and content.

Not yet covered by John Lewis Finance?

Insure your dog today by calling us on 0330 102 2490 or get a quote online.


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