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Family Matters: How to Strengthen Your Family’s Bond with Your Dog

No wonder dogs are known as “man’s best friend” — the loyalty and companionship between a dog and their owners is often an unbreakable bond. And whether you are a new pet parent or have a few years of experience under your belt, you can always deepen the bond between your family and your dog. Keep reading for a few tried-and-true suggestions.


Show an Interest in Your Dog

This might seem like a no-brainer, but bear with us. Think about how you interact with your dog. Are you the one instigating your games of fetch, or is your dog always bringing you a ball and begging to play? The more you interact with your dog — whether that’s playing together outside or cuddling up on the couch — the more your dog will want to interact with you.


Consistency Is Key

Just like in any relationship, the one with your dog should be built on trust. And to help you continue to foster this trust, it’s important to stay consistent with training and expectations.

If your dog is shy or timid, it’s even more important to show them that they can trust you. You can earn your shy dog’s trust by recognizing the signs that your dog is uncomfortable. For example, many shy dogs tend to tense up or move away if someone approaches them. Recognizing these reactions can help you intervene and explain to others that your dog is a little shy around new people. Doing this will make your dog feel more comfortable (and more trusting).

adult dog sitting on grass field with owner adult dog sitting on grass field with owner


Spend Time Training

Training isn’t just a way to create positive behaviors and good discipline. It’s also a great opportunity to bond with your dog. You get to spend lots of time together mastering new commands and tricks, and all of the positive reinforcement (read: treats and cuddles) will deepen your relationship. Plus, who doesn’t love a dog who can sit, stay and roll over when prompted?


Teach Them Young

In this case, we’re talking about children, not puppies. If you have young children, be sure to teach them an important life lesson that just happens to apply to dogs, too: respect. Your dog has boundaries, and your kids need to respect them. This means teaching them not to pull your dog’s tail, tease your dog with food or toys, or take food or a treat away from your dog.


Make It a Family Affair

You want your dog to bond with the whole family, not just one member. The more you involve everyone — from younger children to teens — the more opportunities you will all have to build a bond. Bring younger kids along for daily walks, and assign dog-related chores they can easily accomplish, like refilling the water bowl. Older kids and teenagers can take a more active role in caring for your pet by taking your dog for walks and helping with grooming, including bath time and brushing.

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