If you’re spending the lockdown in house arrest with a dog for company, you’re one of the lucky ones. Our canines are excellent crisis companions, always ready to make you laugh with their antics or cheer you up simply by being present. Make the most of your time together by appreciating it and using it to strengthen your bond with your best buddy. The dog-owner relationship is based on trust and a clear understanding of each other and your pet, and you’ve never spent so much quality time together before, so take advantage of it.
Using your talents of observation, you will learn a lot about your dog during this time. The majority of a dog’s communication with you, or other animals, is nonverbal. Take note of his simple cues—he may turn away or walk away from you if he’s bored or disinterested, or he may simply break eye contact to avoid you if you’re snuggling him too much. He might nudge you with his head or paw you to ask for his favorite belly rubs with just one glance, or he might nudge you with his head or paw you to ask for his favorite belly rubs with just one look.
Training your dog is a great method for you and your dog to get to know each other better. A dog learns in the form of behavior patterns, which are developed when positive reinforcement is given. Watch how long it takes your dog to create and grasp a pattern when you teach him something new. Add nonverbal clues to the orders and see how soon your dog understands them. With each new trick you teach him, not only will he learn faster, but you’ll be able to tell whether he’s grasping it, whether it’ll take longer, or whether he’s just about given up. This will vastly boost your ability to communicate with one another. Any dog will enjoy all the additional goodies, praise, and petting that comes with training, making it a terrific way to improve your canine bond.
Playing with your dog is critical to your relationship’s development. All of these activities, from our own goofy games to formal dog games like fetch, find, or pull, aid in the development of the canine—human link. It has to be more than just delivering commands and obeying them in the pup-parent interaction. You should be having a great time together. However, when you’re playing, make sure the game is about you and him, not simply about the toys. For example, if your dog takes the toy and runs away instead of coming to you when playing, wouldn’t he rather play with the toy than with you? Maybe it’s because you’ve taken the toy away more than you’ve returned it to him. When you’re playing with him, figure out if he wants to be chased or if he wants to run with the toy instead. Include hand signals in your games to see if you guys can have a good time without speaking anything. Different breeds have different preferences for games, so choose games that you believe will appeal to your dog’s natural instincts. A beagle would die for a scenting game, and a terrier would cherish a terrific game of tug. Labradors must retrieve or love anything to do with water.
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Some dogs appreciate being pet and, as a result, prefer being groomed. Grooming your dog on a regular basis can be incredibly helpful to both of you. Allowing your mutt to groom you is a sign of trust in your relationship. If he doesn’t enjoy it, you can utilize this free time to desensitize him to grooming by giving him positive experiences in little doses. This will strengthen your friendship and increase your trust in each other. By combining grooming with his favorite chew toy, you may make grooming a pleasurable experience for him. Grooming is also a highly pleasant and peaceful exercise for the owner, as we all know that touching a dog instantly relieves stress and makes you feel better.
A simple walk with your pet is an excellent way to strengthen your bond. You can even do a brief run or a few quick loops around your building if you both enjoy running. If he enjoys these daily walks with you, he’ll have something new to anticipate from you every day. You may even create an entire exercise regimen for your dog, such as teaching him to jump up and down from the couch, building a temporary tunnel out of sheets over the coffee table, or having him zig-zag directly through the dining room chairs lined up. Then, as if it were a dog sport, do all of these in order!