Dogs are complex beings, just like people. And, therefore, love isn’t automatic for them. In fact, some dogs seem to actively want to get away from their owners. Many people who haven’t owned a dog before assume that the relationship is automatically positive. Our canine friends are naturally loving creatures, right? That’s what we’ve been taught. “A dog will love you no matter how bad your day has been.” But it turns out that it isn’t as simple as this. You can rescue an old dog from the pound and spend months trying to get the animal on your side. It’s not a straightforward process. The good news is that there are a bunch of techniques that you can use to make it more likely that your dog will love and respect you. Here’s what to do if you’re struggling.
Go For Regular Walks
Ideally, you want your dog to associate having a good time with being physically close to you. They need to feel like you’re a positive force in their lives – a guiding member of the pack. The best way to get a dog to feel good is to take them for regular walks. The more often they can get out of the house and into nature, the better. And if you’re the one to give it to them, they’ll soon begin to associate you with feeling great. Flushing your dog will feel-good hormones is a great way to start the bonding process. After exercise, their oxytocin levels are high. And that makes it more likely they will attach to you.
Let Them Direct Their Own Activities
Some owners believe that they need to be around their dogs twenty-four hours per day to be happy. But that’s not always the case. A lot of dogs actually quite like having solitude. Not all of them need to continuously feel connected to the pack. Letting a dog come and go is especially important if their previous owners abused them. Many pups develop the need to spend time by themselves so that they can relax and feel safe. It’s nothing personal. Dogs don’t hold grudges. It’s just something that they need to do out of necessity.
Start Training Them
Dogs are suckers for training. They love it. Plus, it helps establish you as the boss – the person giving the orders. Remember, dogs work differently from people. Yes – we’re hierarchical animals too. But dogs don’t have the capacity to override their love of the pecking order. And that means that you must place yourself at the top. If you don’t, then you’ll get the impression that your dog doesn’t actually respect you. And you don’t want that. Dogs also love training for another reason: the treats. Providing your pooch with regular rewards is a great way to get them on your side and feel positive about being around you. Dogs probably love rewards more than any other pet you can buy. And they’ll work hard to get them. It’s just a matter of continually practicing to get the results that you want. Research indicates that dogs also respond positively to praise. So when you say “good doggie” whenever they do something that you want, they seem to actually understand the sentiment.
Give Them Space
Dogs, just like people, need to have a bit of space for themselves. Many feel stressed out when they can’t go off to a quiet corner to relax. Dogs seem extroverted most of the time, but they have an introverted streak. You can help them feel more relaxed at home by providing a dog bed area where they can go away from children and other pets. You may find that your dog naturally makes its way to this place of sanctuary during the day, particularly after long walks.
Appeal To Their Sense Of Taste
Dogs love treats. That’s why it can be a great idea to use food as a way to win them over. You don’t want to give them human “treats.” Dogs can’t process donuts, cookies, and cakes as well as we can (and let’s face it, we can’t really process them very well either). It leads to massive increases in blood sugar and can make them obese over time. Instead, you want to provide natural treats that offer your pooch positive reinforcement to tell them that they’re doing the right thing. You can find more information here about the kinds of treats available. Whatever you do, make sure that the treats you choose fit with your dog’s natural diet. Dogs will eat human food if they can, but it’s not good for them. And, eventually, it will damage their health.
Open Up Your Bed To Them
Going to sleep with your dog might seem like an odd thing to do. But research shows that it can help to cement the bond between human and animal. Why is this? It all comes down to dogs’ roots as pack animals. Wolves usually slept in packs together in sheltered areas in the forest. And so they evolved to rest alongside other animals. The same is probably true of dogs. They naturally prefer to sleep alongside other creatures, including people. It seems to relax them and put them at ease. It’s also good for people too, it seems. Research indicates that sleeping next to your pooch can make you live longer and keep you healthy. It also offers stress relief, keeps you warm, and makes you feel safer. It may also help people living with anxiety and depression.
Keep Your Behavior Consistent
Dogs are very sensitive to your behavior. If you chop and change your attitude towards them every five minutes, they won’t know where you’re coming from and it could make them feel anxious. What’s more, dogs need clear guidance. If you keep changing the rules, it’ll confuse them. For instance, if you don’t want them to eat from the dinner table, never give them food at mealtimes. Or, if you don’t want them on the couch, don’t allow them to sit on it as a treat, even if it is their birthday!