(March 16, 2022)
Your pet comes running when you return home and snuggles up to you on the couch every night. You’re bonded for life! However, there could be more you can do to strengthen the bond between pet and owner and make your relationship with your pet even stronger.
Bonding with Your Dog
Dogs are a human’s best friend! But, that doesn’t mean you can’t do more to show your pooch you love them.
Teaching your dog new tricks not only helps them learn better manners and behavior but is a mentally enriching activity that deepens your connection. Training requires your dog to be tuned into you for guidance. They will master new commands and be rewarded with praise and treats from you, building their confidence!
If they don’t already know basic commands, now is the time to learn! If your dog is a bit more advanced, they can learn new fancy tricks or you can teach them activities like agility or nose work to really work out their brain.
Getting more exercise is always a plus for humans and our pets. When done side-by-side, going for a walk or run with your dog can be a great way to bond together.
Additionally, be sure to choose an activity suited to your dog’s breed and activity level. Breeds that can handle endurance and have a lot of energy to burn can benefit from learning to run alongside you while you bike. If your dog is out of shape, older, or is a short-nosed breed, a nice stroll can do the trick.
Treating your dog to a spa day can become an activity they cherish when they’re socialized properly. For now, your dog might not appreciate a bath, brush, and nail trim, but be gentle and reward them with treats and they’ll come to love the attention.
Figure out what your dog’s favorite activity is and engage with them fully. Actively participate in fetch or tug-of-war and your dog will feed off of your excitement. Also, active play can be more stimulating than regular routine exercise alone.
Spend Time Giving Pets and Cuddles
Your dog might appreciate a quick pat on the head here and there throughout the day. However, be sure to spend some intentional time engaging in physical contact with your pet. For instance, if your dog is a snuggle bug, join them on the floor for some quality cuddle time.
Pet with intention, really paying attention to what your dog likes best. They could love ear scratches or belly rubs, but find out their favorite and spend some time cuddled up together.
Routine, Routine, Routine
Dogs thrive on consistent schedules. By creating a routine together, they’ll know what to expect from you and when which only serves to build their trust in you further. Additionally, they’ll learn what is expected from them and deliver, and we all know dogs love making their owners proud!
Be consistent in your communication with them as well. Stick to cue words they already know to clear up misunderstandings. Our dogs want to know exactly what we want from them.
Bonding with Your Cat
Cats have a reputation for being aloof, and although they appreciate different things than dogs do, they love us just the same!
Give Them Space
This is especially important when creating a new relationship, but is still important to do every once in a while. Cats cherish their privacy. Don’t overwhelm them with affection and attention, play a little bit hard-to-get sometimes!
Especially if your cat has retreated to a hiding spot or has clearly grown tired of being cuddled or pet, don’t try to pick them up or force them to engage. Allow them to stay hidden, they’ll come out to socialize when they’re ready. Knowing that they can count on you not to hound them when they want some space will build their trust.
Routine, Routine, Routine
Again? Yes! Dogs and cats have this in common. They both like sticking to a consistent routine. Get your cat on a schedule for feeding and grooming and stick to it.
Schedule Consistent Playtime
Part of a routine can include set times to play together. Again, like dogs, cats love to play. You can burn off some energy and bond together by playing with a wand toy. Also provide some enrichment toys they can interact with alone when you’re not around.
Pamper Your Cat
Spend time grooming your cat calmly with a brush. Grooming is an important part of bonding for cats.
Also, be sure to pet them the right way, and only for as long as they want to be pet. Long strokes on their back aren’t normally how cats would groom each other. Many cats prefer scratches around their face and ears.
Cats are known for being aloof and antisocial. For instance, a cat that knocks items off the table or sits on your keyboard while you work is asking you to pay attention! They love engagement from their owner and it’s easy to know when they’re asking you to interact with them.
In conclusion, you can be sure your cat is bonded to you by looking for some of the more subtle signs. They may follow you around the house or sleep where your scent is strong. Often, they’ll seek you out and purr when sitting with you. The tell-tale sign of feline trust is the “slow blink”, meaning they are totally comfortable in your presence.
ADOPT: Browse our available pets!
Houston SPCA is grateful to you for choosing to adopt an animal in need. With these tips, we’re hopeful that your new pet will be a lifelong companion!