With busy lives it’s not unusual to go through periods of feeling less connected to our dogs. If your dog learns their basics of obedience, you might not spend the same time training them. If they are getting older you might not take them for long walks anymore. Before you know it, you and your dog might not feel as connected as you did. Or if you have a puppy who seems wild and not that into you, you might be wondering what you can do to turn them into the loving, loyal dog you’ve always dreamed of.
With most dogs it’s not too hard to get basic bonding accomplished. Through feeding, walking, training and cuddling your dog knows you are the person who matters the most. But when a delicious smelling treat, or shiny new toy walks by, you might find your dog’s loyalty tested. So how do you get your dog to choose you every time?
The three “T’s”: Training, Tricks and Treats
Training is one of the most important parts of bonding with your dog, it teaches you and your dog to listen and respond to one another.
Tricks, while part of training, goes beyond the basic sit/stay and include activities and skills that let you have fun with your dog.
Treats make it all possible. Positive reinforcement is everything. It keeps you and your dog having a great time and encourages them to continue to grow and learn. While you might reduce the amount of treats you offer after a while, they are always great for refreshing old tricks, introducing new behaviors and just making your dog feel great about themselves and you.
By keeping treat time fun and interesting you can create a better bond with your dog at any age. Even if you are limited on time, or your dog doesn’t have the energy they used to, you can take a few minutes for a quick training or bonding session. You and your dog will find this so much more rewarding mentally and physically than just tossing out a treat for no reason. Keep in mind that any activity from a walk, to sitting for their food, hiking, agility, or just greeting neighbors politely can be an opportunity for treats and bonding.
If you want to add these little treat/training times into your routine, it’s important to choose treats that are healthy and not too high in fat. If you find yourself doing more training and bonding activities (and trust me you will!) you may want to adjust your dogs food quantity to account for the extra snacks.
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