5 Ways to Strengthen Your Relationship with Your Dog

If you want your relationship with your dog to grow, try looking
for new ways that you can connect with your pup on a deeper level. This could
include trying new activities together, making changes to your daily routine,
or learning to better understand their non-verbal communication. To help you
get started, we’ve put together a list of five ways of strengthening your
relationship with your dog.

Make every meal time

For many dogs, the quickest way to their heart is through their
stomach. If this sounds familiar, a great way to strengthen your relationship
with your pup is by giving them nourishing, fresh food that will make every
meal time a special treat. If you make the switch to Freshpet, you can even
play around with different types of recipes so there’s no chance your pup will
become bored with their meals. Currently, our recipes are available in three
distinct formats:

  • Bags: A number of
    our recipes come in the form of ready-to-serve meals that are available in a
    convenient, resealable bag.
  • Rolls: Our classic
    sliceable rolls enable you to choose the size and shape of your pup’s meal.
  • Homestyle Creations: Our original Homestyle Creations recipes consist of two parts – Patties and Mixers. The Patties are designed to be cut up, broken apart, or shredded to enjoy as a complete and balanced meal or topped with complementary Mixers.

Each recipe is developed under the oversight of four veterinary
nutritionists and prepared in a way that keeps the ingredients as close to
their natural state as possible, while still meeting FDA and USDA standards.

Learn to read your dog’s body language and actions

Your dog may not be able to speak, but that doesn’t mean they
don’t try to communicate with you. Dogs use a combination of body language and
facial expressions, to display their emotions and show that they love us.
Taking the time to learn more about dog body language and how they express
their emotions will help you better understand what your pup is trying to tell
you. For instance, you may recognize some of these behaviors, but do you know
what they mean?

  • Your dog’s head is up, eyes are open and
    concentrated, and their ears pointing ahead or moving slightly. If you see your
    dog doing this, it means that something has caught their attention and they are
    assessing the situation.
  • Your dog’s eyes are wide and staring, their
    mouth is closed except for when they’re licking their lips, and their ears are
    slightly back and moving like they’re trying to figure out where a sound is
    coming from. If your dog is doing this, then they are experiencing feelings of

Being able to decipher these and other behaviors – and responding accordingly – is an important part of strengthening the relationship you have with your dog. You can read more about this in our blog on how to understand your dog’s emotions.

Experience new things

Another great way to build an even stronger relationship with
your dog is to experience new things together. This could include making
memories during a road trip or vacation, but it could also be smaller, daily
experiences like taking a new route for your walk or finding fun ways to keep
your dog’s mind active. Some fun ways to do this include:

  • Play games that
    expand their ‘vocabulary’:
    Dogs can learn up to 165 different words, which
    makes the “name game” a blast to play. Start by giving your dog’s favorite toy
    a specific name and using it regularly during playtime. Over time, and with
    plenty of positive reinforcement, your dog should be able to associate the name
    with the toy. You can put this to the test by putting the toy among their
    others and asking them to bring it to you.
  • Take a pet-friendly vacation: If you do want to go big and take your dog on vacation with you, make sure you review our tips for traveling with pets.

Don’t treat training as
a chore

When it comes to training, most pet parents assume that when their dog has mastered the basic commands, such as sit, stay, and come, then they’re set. But in reality, ongoing training can be a great way to strengthen the relationship you have with your dog. Dogs are happiest when their minds are being challenged, and doing small training exercises throughout the day is an easy way to not only keep their brain busy but also teach them some pretty cool tricks! If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to training, take a look at our blog on positive reinforcement training – a scientifically backed way to train your dog.

Dedicate time each day
to give them your undivided attention

The relationship you have with your dog is just like any other
relationship – if you want to strengthen it, you need to dedicate time to it.
One way of doing this is by setting aside a part of your day for one-on-one
time with your pup. The way you spend this time will vary depending on the dog,
but it should be spent doing something that they enjoy. Some ideas include:

  • Taking a walk in the woods
  • Checking out a new dog park
  • Going for a drive in the car
  • Trying out a new activity, like agility or dock

Regardless of the activity you choose, try spending at least 30
minutes a day focusing on it with your pup. Rotating through different
activities will help keep things interesting and also strengthen your bond in
different ways. For example, learning a new trick or trying a new activity will
strengthen your bond through teamwork, whereas cuddling on the couch will
strengthen your bond through physical contact.

Have other ideas on how to strengthen your relationship with
your dog? Share it in the comments for other pet parents to try!

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