Exercise – Dogs are derived from wolves and need constant mental and physical stimulation. What better way to start the bonding process by taking him back to nature by letting him smell, run and jump around! This gives him the perfect outlet to shed all that built up energy. Don’t forget to exercise his mind too. Games like fetch, hide and seek, agility, etc bring in a good equilibrium between mind and body.
Feeding – Feeding your dog is a great way to bond with your dog. Since you take the role of provider, your dog looks at you as the leader. This is also a time to reinforce his behaviour. You will see that this brings out his best behaviour!
Brushing/grooming –Not just long coated breeds, but all dogs need to be brushed and groomed. Brushing a dog not only reduces shedding, it also prevents bacterial build-up bringing a nice clean shine to the coat and reduces odour to a large extent. Added to all this, dogs love the touch and the attention they get.
Effective communication – A critical piece in strengthening the bond but very underrated! We can get very excited when we have to communicate to a dog when he is wrong. How often do we use the same energy to communicate when he has done the right thing? Take time out from your busy lives, listen to his body language and talk to him!
Massage – Dogs loved to be caressed. A nice massage not only relaxes their muscles, but also calms any jumpy nerves. If you find a sound sleeping dog on your lap after this session, you know your magical fingers have done the trick!
Reward your dog – Dogs, like us humans, need rewards and motivation. It’s totally unfair to expect a dog to do all the things he has learnt as a growing pup and not been rewarded for it. Praise is the greatest reward a dog asks and a ‘Good Boy’ ‘Good Girl’ at appropriate situations will bring your dog much closer to you than you can possibly imagine! Treats work wonder as well.
Purpose in life – Every dog needs a purpose in life. Because we are responsible for bringing them into our lives, we give them the best of food, love and sometimes even indiscipline! It’s only fair that we give them something more that they can do with their lives. Simple tricks like fetching the newspaper, remote control or even your keys are a hugely satisfying effort for your dog. For he loves to please and you have set him on a mission!
(Anand Vishwanath is the founder and pack leader of Anvis Inc, India’s first integrated pet management company. He is certified as an International Dog Trainer and Behaviourist under The Northern Centre For Canine Behaviour, UK).