The most important thing you can do for your pet is to build a trusting relationship. Like children, dogs need to build a secure attachment with their caregivers. There are several things you can do to establish a secure attachment, resulting in a trusting bond:
- Always anticipate and meet your pet’s needs. Is the water bowl empty? Is it cold outside and they need a sweater for warmth? Or is their favorite toy under the sofa and they need you to help to reach it?
- Spending time with your pet is also extremely important. Simply sitting and talking with them goes a long way towards building a relationship.
- If you are planning to train your dog, make sure the training is fun and the dog is enjoying it. Using games to teach your pet is fun and your pet will love you for it!
- Give your dog choices whenever possible; let them choose the toys they want to play with, the direction of walks and where they sleep.
- Play A LOT with your pet. Play is extremely important to the well-being of your pet.
- Pay attention to your dog’s emotional needs.
- Talk to your dog.
- Feed them a food that they like and is nutritionally sound.
- Use only Positive Reinforcement, Fear Free training methods.
- Don’t over direct your dog. Over directing them is frustrating to your dog and can deteriorate the relationship.
- Don’t put your pet in a situation where they are scared or anxious. This includes them having to be around animals or people they are not comfortable with.
- Don’t ignore them when they request attention from you.
- Don’t leave them alone for long periods of time, dogs are social beings and need interaction with you.
Following these tips will result in a happy dog who has a trusting relationship with his or her family.
Judy Luther is the PPG Canine Committee Chair. She specializes in building trusting relationships with pets and has developed an entire Trust Centered Training program around it.