The benefits of quality time with your dog
Of course you love your dog. Nobody could ever deny that. They’re #1 on your gift list every holiday season and a trusted companion all year round.
But did you know that science says spending time with your pet can have positive health benefits? That’s right. Research has confirmed that our brains release feel-good chemicals like oxytocin when we stare into our dogs eyes. That’s the same hormone that bonds moms and dads with their newborn babies. We learned this impressive fact about the animal-human connection thanks to the work of a behaviorist named Takefumi Kikusi.
Kikusi collected urine samples from dogs and owners shortly before and after bonding sessions. Owners and dogs who spent more time in close contact showed higher levels of oxytocin, sometimes more than 100% higher! That’s just one example of quality time with a dog can offer benefits for you both. Read on for tips on how to develop a strong, lasting bond that helps you both feel better.
Bonding with different breeds
Even dog novices know that no two breeds are precisely alike. Some thrive on human contact, eagerly seeking out opportunities to bond with friends and strangers alike. Others are slower to make connections, waiting for companions to come to them. Among the easiest breeds to form a bond with are Labrador Retrievers, Chihuahuas, Collies, Mastiffs, and Great Pyreenees. As you can see, both fans of big and small dogs have plenty of loyal pals to choose from. Some breeds that take a little longer to warm up to people include Springer Spaniels, Chow Chows, Afghan Hounds, Dachshunds and Bulldogs. While these dogs might score lower on the sociability scale, don’t let that scare you away. Every individual dog has their own personality quirks and a little patience goes a long way. Dogs tend to choose a human that has a similar personality and energy level to their own so your perfect match is definitely out there.
Tips for bonding with your dog.
At home or at the dog park, these tips can help you build an even stronger relationship with your ‘best friend.’
Bonding with dogs while grooming at home.
Keeping your pooch’s coat in tip-top shape should be one of your primary goals as a responsible pet owner. While some pups require professional hair care, at-home grooming is sufficient for many. In addition to keeping pets comfortable and eye-catching, it’s a valuable opportunity to share some quality time at home. Keep in mind, however, that some dogs tolerate grooming better than others. Your dog might happily hop in the tub to be scrubbed and primped or run in fear at the sight of a brush.
Bonding with your dog during exercise.
Regular exercise helps keep both you and your dog in peak mental and physical condition, offering a broad range of full-body benefits. Heading out for a quick morning jog can promote heart and lung health, strengthen muscles and joints, and even boost your mood. It’s always a great way to get rid of excess energy and ensure you’re both ready for a good night’s sleep at the end of a long day. Take your dog to the beach, the park, or pet-friendly businesses to introduce them to new sensations and potentially make new friends.
Bonding through training and obedience classes.
Whether you’ve got an eager-to-please pooch or a tiny terror, professional obedience training is sometimes the best option for instilling good behavior. Training is a great way to socialize a young puppy, but even older dogs can learn new tricks with the help of a professional. Classes will teach your dog the appropriate way to behave around other people and dogs. You’ll bond throughout each class session and enjoy a stronger, more trusting bond at home.
Bonding during play.
One bonding tactic is the most fun and enjoyable of all: play. Playing with dogs offers exercise, stimulation, and hour upon hour of time to bond with one another. Whether you stick to the living room, hit the dog park, or opt for long games of fetch in the yard, you’ll develop a trusting and respectful relationship with your dog if you remember the value of play.
Bonding through commands.
You don’t always need professional support to teach, train, and guide your dog. Tasty treats can serve as a valuable training aid at home while strengthening the bond you share with your dog.
How to build a bond with your rescue dog?
Rescue dogs often come from traumatic backgrounds. Many lived in homes where they suffered abuse and lacked the necessary love and affection. A rescue dog may not know how to trust people or other dogs. This is where careful, patient, persistent owners come in. By gradually working to build trust, you can help ensure they learn to move on from their past traumas, make new friends, and reveal their true personality.
Some rescue dogs may benefit from a few sessions with a pet psychologist to address any especially aggressive or avoidant tendencies that result from their trauma. Bonding with dogs during this stage may prove quite challenging, but the effort pays off.
Keeping your dog safe and happy
The science proves and, more importantly, you just know it – bonding with dogs makes you feel better. Your dog does a lot for you and with Animalia you can do a little more for them. Learn more about how a good insurance plan can make it easier to ensure your pet is as happy and healthy as possible.