Did you bond with your dog when you got it? Do you pet, play and
snuggle with it? I?m not implying you are not affectionate with your
dog, but some dogs require a lot of affection themselves, while other
dogs are more aloof. Do you freely love your dog? Do you leave it
alone for long periods of time? Dogs are pack animals and don?t like
to be alone, and may suffer from separation anxiety. Not all breeds
are demonstrative ? look at the description of a saluki:
?Gentle, affectionate, but not demonstrative. Sensitive and friendly,
but somewhat aloof, even with his family. Good with gentle older
children. Fairly submissive to dominant people and dogs. Very
independant --does best with another Saluki as a companion.?
Try calling your dog to you when you are ?down? and snuggle with
it, just for a few minutes. Continue being affectionate with your dog,
even when not feeling sad. Each time you want your dog to console you,
call it to you and snuggle with it, within reason. If it resists, let
it go? s/he may not appreciate being snuggled too closely! If you
express love and concern for your dog, perhaps s/he can learn to
?There lies the problem. I remind my clients, there?s no time clock to
punch at the end of the day when it comes to being your dog?s pack
leader. Despite your own mental state, your dog still has his needs ?
exercise first, discipline second, and lastly, affection. No matter
how tired we are at the end of the day, we can?t put our own needs
ahead of our dog?s time and time again and expect them to be balanced
?Acquiring a puppy at the right age and providing it with the proper
atmosphere during the critical periods of its life (when character and
personality are being formed) is the only absolute way that the
man/dog relationship, character traits, and trainability can be
pre-determined and pre-ordained.
Many people who acquire dogs at the age of six months, eight months, a
year or even two years, are perplexed to find that their dogs just
can't seem to demonstrate much of an emotional bond with their owner.
Sometimes, they are shy which usually results in a characteristic
known as fear biting, or perhaps the reverse is true;
over-aggressiveness and bullyish tendencies.
Scientific studies have shown that there are FIVE critical periods in
a puppy's life. That is five phases of mental development during which
adverse conditions could cripple a dog emotionally for life.
Conversely, positive conditions during these five phases, will produce
dogs of the highest calibre mentally and socially. So important were
these scientific findings that the Guide Dog Foundation instituted
these "positive conditions" for puppies being raised to become Guide
Dogs for the blind. These dogs received the most rigorous and exacting
training of any dogs and therefore must be perfectly adjusted.?
?The dog owner must convince their dog to pay attention to him/her
both as a leader and as a companion. As in the canine pack, where the
young learn behavior guidelines from elders through interactions and
physical contact, so is it in the human-dog mixed pack. The dog owner
must actively participate in developing the leader-follower bond
through large amounts of physical contact petting, playing, grooming,
corrections for errors (always firm, clear, but never over done!),
balanced with praise, fairness and encouragement. The dog owner's
"leader" image must be established on a basis of actions, not ideas or
verbals (a non-verbal intellectual relationship). Verbals having no
meaning to the dog in the beginning.
Once the correct leader-follower bond is established, the dog owner
will find that a strong bond of affection and loyalty has also
developed between dog and dog owner. Many beginners in dog training
mistakenly believe that they will lose the dog's affection by placing
demands of obedient behavior on the dog. Such people do not understand
basic canine pack psychology. In actual fact, when the owner accustoms
themselves to projecting a dominant leadership image and behavior
guidelines, instead of growing fearful of the dog owner, the dog feels
a stronger attachment to the owner. The reasons being, that the dog
owner has proved themselves worthy, in the dog's mind, to be loved and
to be loyal to, because the dog owner has supplied two of the dog's
basic needs, companionship and leadership guidance.?
?Owning a dog can be a positive, enjoyable experience for the entire
family. Keep in mind however, that the decision to own a dog is an
important one that should not be taken lightly. A dog is not just a
fun diversion or entertaining gift. Owning a dog requires a commitment
from you that will last the lifetime of the dog. The responsibilities
of owning a dog and the joys of owning a dog hold an equal place of
importance. If you are considering bringing a dog into your family,
here are some important considerations for you to keep in mind.
A dog is an important member of the family. If you live in a city, you
will need to devote a lot of time to walking the dog, ensuring that
the dog gets plenty of exercise and fresh air, and you will most
likely be taking your dog along on family excursions and trips. If you
live in a country setting, you will need to ensure the safety of your
dog and protect the dog from the hazards that come from a rural
setting. Holidays and special occasions will include the dog and you
may even find yourself including the dog in family portraits and gift
Dogs bring companionship and joy to any family. The time and effort
you spend caring for your dog will be returned to you in the form of
the lifelong loyalty and friendship that you will receive from your
dog. The dog will provide you with a friend to talk to, be an
entertaining companion, and can also provide a sense of security and
protection for your family. Individuals who are confined to their home
or the elderly will find great joy in owning a dog and the problem of
loneliness will be greatly reduced.?
Owning a dog can be equated to raising a child. You must be a
responsible parent to your dog just as you would to a child. You can
rest assured that being a responsible, loving dog owner will bring you
many benefits, the most important of which is the trust and friendship
of a pet who will love you unconditionally for its entire life. Owning
a dog is a big responsibility and can even be costly when you factor
in trips to the vet, having the dog groomed, and taking care of
unexpected medical expenses. The hardships involved in dog ownership
are well worth your time and money. You will never find a more loyal,
devoted friend than a dog who loves you unconditionally.?
?Finding the right pet is not all research, however. "There is some
chemistry that happens between a person and an animal," says Hawk. "I
see this a lot when people come through our shelter. They may be
looking for a specific breed and they just won't bond with the
dog--there is just not that click--but another person will see the dog
and wham, love the dog."
The first thing to consider is: Why do you want a dog? As a companion
or to guard the house? Because the kids are nagging for a pet or
because, as a single person, you want a friendly face to come home to?
The answers to these questions will affect your choice. Then consider
your lifestyle. Is it stable? Are you home regular hours or do you
travel often? Do you have a lot of time to play with and exercise a
?Lack Of Affection: Owners want an affectionate dog that loves them.
Unfortunately, some dogs never warm up to their owner and remain aloof
and cold. In addition, other dogs never learn to trust their owner,
and remain suspicious and isolated.?
?Most normal, healthy puppies are basically pushy animals, and will
try to advance as far as possible within the social order of the pack.
The key to successfully rearing a puppy is to establish yourself as
the pack leader and then maintain that position for the life of your
?Dogs react to people more or less as they would toward another member
of a pack. Dogs crave social interaction and love affection and
attention. Dogs, being social animals, readily adapt to
dominance-subordination relationships with their new owners; normally
this means the dogs are subordinate to human members of the family?
?Dogs live and hunt communally and their survival strategy is a
tight-knit pack with a hierarchy where every individual knows who is
boss to it and who it can boss around; they catch prey larger than
themselves and the catch is shared with others. Dogs need to know
their ranking in a pack for the pack to work together efficiently.?
?Dogs specifically are a bit more emotionally dependent on their
owners and require more attention than do cats or other animals. They
are in tune with our moods, and seem to show more difficulty in coping
with emotional stress and loneliness.
Hyperactivity, fatigue and other physical ailments can be interpreted
as stress-related symptoms in dogs.?
?A special friendship
Some dogs turn licking their owner's mouths into a habit, especially
so in the case of dogs that have a good relationship with their
owners. This type of behavior was begins when puppies in their still
wild state, lick their mothers mouth to get her to regurgitate the
food she had in her stomach. Hopefully this does not happen to you
when your dog licks your mouth!?
?Bonding happens in times that you and your dog focus on each other. A
relationship is between two individuals. Each person in the family
will have a relationship (good or bad) with the dog, and if you have
more than one dog you'll have a relationship with each dog as an
individual. It is essential to spend daily time one-on-one with each
dog you have.
Some of this time needs to be spent away from the house. If you have
multiple dogs, take them on individual outings whenever possible
instead of always taking them out as a group. If they always go out
together, training will not be as good and bad habits and fears can
rub off from one dog to the other. Most of all, you'll be missing
important bonding opportunities.?
?Certain things you do and don't do in the day-to-day management of
your dog make a great deal of difference to bonding. Instead of
reacting when something goes wrong in your dog's behavior, it's much
more effective to manage the dog so the right behavior occurs in the
first place. One example is getting your dog to the potty area
frequently so that the dog is able to hold it until the next chance.
If you wait until the dog has an accident and then try to train the
dog by reacting to the accident, you're doing it the hard way!
People who reliably meet their dogs' needs develop dogs who trust
them. The dogs have steadier nerves because they're free from worry
about not getting fed today, being left outdoors during a scary
thunderstorm, or waiting too many hours in a crate.
Until the dog is past puberty and you know the dog's temperament is
mild, it's optimum for bonding to have the dog sleep in your bedroom
but not on your bed. Later the dog may prove suited to sleeping on the
bed, but it's best to leave that for later, and the same goes for
letting the dog share the sofa with humans.?
Three errors sometimes made in training and managing are:
1. Tricking the dog into making a mistake and then punishing the dog.
Practice success, not failure. Set the dog up to get it right so you
can praise and reward. Doing this enough times creates a confident dog
who habitually does the right things. It also creates a dog who values
your praise and approval, when you have repeatedly paired that praise
with tangible rewards such as a food.
2. Confrontational corrections. People want to see a dog "look sorry."
To accomplish this, it's common to stretch out a correction, which is
distressing to dogs and can result in aggressive reactions. Humans
don't realize how significantly this handling can interfere with the
dog's ability to learn. A good correction with a dog is so quick that
it's over before the dog has time to get upset, and ends with the dog
doing the correct action and being praised and rewarded for it. In
other words, a good correction ends with the dog and the handler both
3. Punishment that inflicts pain or fear. Nothing is gained by
treating a dog in this manner, and much is lost. Certainly it doesn't
create a dog who trusts you and can face the world confidently.
Routines that Build Powerful Bonds
Three things you can build into your dog's schedule have enormous
power to bond the two of you together:
1. Take your dog on regular, one-dog outings. A dog views a person who
does this as a leader. It's also a perfect time to work on training
2. Train with your dog daily for several months. Some of this training
needs to be done away from the house, such as on walks or in training
class. Certain exercises are particularly good for building your bond
with your dog:
?Gentle stay training, including a month of leadership exercises as
explained in the book "Dog Training for Dummies," by Jack and Wendy
?Come-when-called, for great rewards that you vary so that the dog
knows it's always worthwhile to come to you.
?Walk on a loose leash
?Eye contact, attention exercise
?Retrieving, taught with a gentle method, a simple play retrieve if
the dog is not training for competitive dog sports
3. Daily grooming. Comb out all tangles from your dog's coat daily if
the fur is long, or give the dog a full-body rubdown if the fur is
short. It is impossible to overstate the benefits of this few minutes
a day of conditioning your dog to human handling and to your touch in
A True Family Member
When you create and maintain a good bond with your dog, you make the
dog a real member of your family. This is the role in which dogs
probably enrich, lengthen and even save more lives than in any other
job dogs do for humans. It's great for you, and great for your dog.?
?Bonding involves building a trust between you and your dog. This
trust can be built only by establishing your leadership, showing or
telling your dog what behavior you expect, and giving lots of praise
for good behavior. Having a leader is essential to a dog?s security.?
?Physical punishment should never be administered to a dog. Hitting,
kicking, and screaming are forms of punishment which do not help to
establish a bond, the trust needed for a dog to see you as a fair but
firm leader. Verbal praise and a good rub or two on the chest is all a
dog really needs to know that he?s receiving approval.?
?As "lead" dog," you have primary responsibility for building good
communications. Your objective is to build a strong bond, to help him
be a loyal companion who feels loved and appreciated.
Though he won't need the concentrated attention that a puppy would, it
might take the grown-up dog more time to bond with you. Take every
chance you can to pet him, stroke him and groom him. But do it all at
your bidding ? not his ? to assert your leadership.
Your first hurdle in bonding is to get the dog to respond when you
call his name. If you don't know his original name, you'll have to
teach him a new one. Your goal is to make him respond eagerly, not for
treats, but for your praise and affection as his only reward.
It requires a fair amount of detective work on your part to understand
what's in his head. He may experience separation anxiety from his
former owners, no matter how they treated him. The fact that they
yelled at him, gave him confusing commands or didn't do a good job of
keeping him from tearing up the house might be the reason he ended up
in the shelter. Or maybe his previous owners spoiled and pampered him,
indulging all his doggy desires.?
You can check this chart for breeds that are known for loyalty:
This site also lists traits of various breeds:
Forum on dog bonding
Work on bonding closely with your dog. If s/he never learns to
console you, you?ll have to realize it?s not in that dog?s nature. I
once had a very large standard poodle/golden retriever mix, who was
rather aloof as a young dog. When he was around 6 years old, he
decided he was a lapdog, and would often snuggle up to me, and try to
climb up on my lap! He remained very loyal and affectionate till his
Don?t give up on your pooch!
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Crabcakes (A dog lover!)
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