7 Essential Activities That Build Companionship with Your Dog

People love dogs.  Dogs love people.  The emotional, physical and medical benefits of being a dog owner are wide ranging and well documented.  The benefits for your dog are just as evident. There are many simple, easy, common sense things you can do to strengthen the relationship between you and your dog.

1. Carefully pick your CSO, your Canine Significant Other

Select the breed of dog that will fit in best with your life.  Retrievers are wonderful family dogs but need ample exercise and human interaction.  If you have kids, a backyard and ample time, retrievers may be your perfect match.

If you live in a city you may have limited space in an apartment or condo.  A smaller dog like a beagle may be a more suitable companion.  They have a gentleness matched by few other breeds.

The right dog can change your life for the better, so you had better pick the right dog.

Research your breeds.

2. Recognize and value the relationship you and your dog share

For 15,000 years dogs have been man’s best friend.  That relationship offers pet owners positive medical effect.  Some research has shown that having a dog reduces your odds of a heart attack.  Other studies say owners may have lower blood pressures, stress, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.

Your dog needs food, water, shelter and most importantly your love.  By investing time, energy and imagination the bonds between you and your dog will grow deeper and more meaningful.  As a wonderful byproduct, you get might healthier.

3. Go for a walk

Dogs are pack animals and enjoy the company of others as they explore new terrain.  The time you normally spend walking your dog for sanitation issues can be enhanced into a bonding opportunity.  The exercise alone will be healthy for both the owner and the dog.

Walking is a skill you and your dog need to master.  Dogs love to learn and crave your acceptance and appreciation.  Train your pet to walk without pulling on the lease.  Simple commands, followed by a treat, will develop a positive tone on every walk.

Most dogs like kids and thrive on their energy and unconditional love.  Have your kids come along, for their sake and your pet’s.

4. Plan a Playdate

It feels good to play, whether you are a dog or its owner.  Play time is your best opportunity to bond with your pet.  The relationship between you and your dog is based on training, communication and obedience.  These are also features of the best type of play time.

Teach your pet to fetch or play hide-n-seek.  The simple game of tug-and-war sometimes is the best.  It is inbreed into our pets to grab things in their mouth.  Since puppies they tug at objects and shake things with their heads.  Teach them to play with the commands of “Get it” or “Drop it.”  Reinforce the voice commands with treats and praise.

Be sure to let your dog win a few times.  Success at grabbing a knotted rope or stuffed animal toy will build their self-confidence.  Play time can be the best time to grow closer together.

5. Use a Hands-On approach

Dogs love to be touched.  The physical contact between a dog and its owner reduces stress levels and offers calming effects.  The animal’s stress hormone cortisol and heart rate decrease when they are petted. Your gentle rubbing or merely holding them increases their anti-stress hormone oxytocin.

The love and caring you feel for your dog can be best communicated to them with your hands.

The love of your pet is emotionally beneficial for you.  Pet owners are less anxious and stressed.  Holding your dog decreases feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Reach out and touch your best friend.  It will do you and your pet a world of good.

6. Talk it over

The next time you are talking to your dog, listen and watch what they are saying to you.  Dogs can understand a multitude of human words and commands.  What they really understand is the tone of what their masters are saying.  It’s not so much what we say.  It’s how we are saying it.

Speak with your dog in a soft, reassuring voice.  Be firm but pitch your voice a bit higher than normal.  To dogs this is inviting in a non-threatening way.

Dogs love to learn because they understand that behaviors have consequences.  Teach them that good behavior is rewarded with praise, attention and treats.  Unacceptable behavior can be suppressed with a firm, negative tones.

Listen to what your dog is saying to you by watching their body language and facial expressions.  Their posture can show fear.  Their faces often illustrate confusion.  They express themselves in their motions and sounds.  Watch and learn what they like and despise.  Then respect what they are saying.

A two way communication between you and your dog will add greater love and commitment to your relationship.

7. There’s no place like home

Dogs and people have been cohabiting for thousands of years.  While we share our homes with them, they need a place of their own.  One spot should be theirs to sleep in and feel most secure about.  They need a crate, dog bed or small restricted area.

Dogs like to have a den.  Give them a small, dark, enclosed area to call home.  Puppies and young dogs benefit from a somewhat restricted area to call their own.  Dog play pens and baby grates work well.  Dog crates and dog beds are the most beneficial.

Crates provide a sense of calm and security in our dogs.  Equip yours with an orthopedic dog beds to reduce health issues in older dogs.  Make their home as comfortable as possible.

Never associate their dog bed or crate with negative connotations.  It should not be a prison or “time out” room.

Play with your dog in and around the crate and stock it with their favorite toys.

Respect that even your dog needs a place to hide out.

The relationship between a dog and its owner is based on the level of bonding between the two.

A pet owner can offer their dog a meaningful and full life by being mindful, patient, caring and loving.

Their dogs can reward them with unconditional love for their entire lives.

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