Bonding with your dog is not only a rewarding experience for pet parents — but also essential for a pup’s well-being. Dogs are social animals that thrive on companionship and positive interactions. Whether you're a new dog owner or have shared your life with dogs for years, here are various ways to bond with your dog.
What’s in This Guide?
Common Questions About How to Bond With Your Dog
Before going into the different ways to bond with a dog, here are answers to the most commonly asked questions about bonding with a dog:
1. How long does it take to bond with a dog?
The time it takes to bond with a dog varies, but initial connections can form in a matter of days to a few weeks. However, building a deep and trusting bond can take several months, as it depends on factors such as the dog's previous experiences, temperament, and the quality (and consistency) of interactions with their pet parent.
2. How do dogs choose who they bond with?
This varies per pup; however, dogs often bond with people who provide positive experiences, consistent care, and a sense of security. Other factors are also important — such as the amount of time spent together, shared activities, and the pet parent’s ability to respond to the dog's needs.
3. How do you know if your dog is bonded to you?
Signs that your dog is bonded to you include displays of affection— such as cuddling, leaning, or following you around. Additionally, dogs may seek your attention, respond eagerly to your voice, and display signs of distress when you're absent.
Effective Ways to Bond With Your Dog
From giving dog-friendly treats to visiting dog-friendly places, here are steps on how to bond with your dog!
1. Daily Dog Walking
Daily dog walking is not just an essential part of routine dog care, it is also one of the ways to bond with your dog. Whether you go just around the block or to a dog-friendly destination or walk, dog walking carries plenty of benefits. Exploring the outdoor spaces together allows your dog to experience new scents, sights, and sounds, enhancing their overall well-being — while also deepening your connection with them.
Daily dog walks can range from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on your pup’s individual needs. To learn more about how to have a safe and fun dog walking experience, check out our article: Must-Know Dog Walking Tips [Complete Guide]
2. Bonding with Your Dog Through Training
Next on our list of how to bond with your dog is training. Training is a chance to communicate and bond with your dog. Moreover, basic obedience training and leash training help dogs behave better in public spaces, which gives them access to more dog-friendly destinations.
Research tells us that dogs, in general, can learn 165 words, which can include verbal cues as well as signals. This gives dog parents a rough idea of their pup’s capabilities when it comes to learning.
When getting started on training (as a way to bond with your dog), it is recommended to use positive reinforcement. Most Positive reinforcement techniques (e.g. using treats and praise) create a positive association with learning and make training an enjoyable bonding experience that dogs will look forward to.
3. Interactive Games for Dogs
Next on our list of ways to bond with your dog is facilitating interactive games. Interactive games with dogs provide some level of exercise and plenty of mental stimulation. These games are a mutually enjoyable experience for both pup and pet parent. The best part is that most of these can be done indoors.
Some of the popular interactive games with dogs include tug-of-war, hide-and-seek, find-the-treats, and bacon-scented-bubble-chasing. Dog parents can also use interactive toys like puzzle feeders and snuffle mats, which are toys that challenge pups to problem-solve and tap into their instincts, to get a hidden treat.
Some pups may need to be introduced gradually (using positive reinforcement) to the above indoor activities with dogs — while some may start playing instinctively. Both teaching the interactive game to your pup and playing it contribute to bonding with your dog.
4. Cuddle Time & Pets
Dogs thrive on physical affection, and one of the simplest ways to bond with your dog is through cuddle time. Dogs often enjoy having their owners close by — so the next time you’re catching a movie or reading a book, try inviting your pup to sit beside you.
In addition, dogs may enjoy being scratched in their favorite spots — a few common favorite spots include behind the ears or along their back. This positive physical contact helps create a sense of security and reinforces the emotional bond between you and your furry friend.
5. Special Food Toppers & Homemade Treats
Sharing dog-friendly food is a great way to facilitate bonding with your dog. Whether food is shared with a pup as a homemade dog treat or as a special pet food topper, sharing food is a ‘love language’ for many dogs.
When sharing food with pups, make sure to only give dog-friendly food items. AVOID seasonings, excess sugar, and artificial sweeteners.
Feel free to refer to these vet-approved guides on pet nutrition to find the healthiest food items that you can share with your pup:
6. Dog-Friendly Parks, Stores, and Restaurants
Next up on our list of tips on how to bond with your dog, we encourage pet parents to explore dog-friendly destinations. This is best done after a pup has been appropriately leash-trained, socialized, and vaccinated.
Nearby dog-friendly destinations are perfect as pit stops for dog walks or as part of a weekend activity with your pup. There are numerous dog-friendly parks where your pup can socialize with other dogs and enjoy some off-leash play. Some of the best off-leash dog parks in Denver and dog parks in Chicago have separate areas for high-energy and low-energy dogs.
Some stores, bars, and restaurants may also have pet-friendly policies that allow well-behaved dogs within the establishment. This is a great opportunity for dog parents and canine companions to spend quality time together.
The following lists of dog-friendly restaurants, bars, and stores in Denver and Chicago show just how many businesses are opening their doors to welcome pups:
- → Top 5 Denver Dog-Friendly Restaurants
- → 6 Dog-Friendly Bars & Breweries Near Denver, CO
- → Top 7 Dog-Friendly Stores in Denver
- → Top 9 Dog-Friendly Restaurants in Chicago, IL
- → The 9 Best Dog Friendly Bars & Pubs in Chicago, IL
- → Top Dog Friendly Stores in Chicago IL
7. Pet-Friendly Staycation
If you’re thinking of booking a hotel for a staycation or vacation, you may be able to bring your pup along. Bonding with your dog in a pup-friendly hotel is one of the most relaxing ways to spend quality time. Certain dog-friendly hotels may also have goodie bags and dog beds to accommodate furry guests.
Check out these dog-friendly hotels in Denver & Chicago — these establishments are great examples of hotels that go above and beyond to give a warm welcome to pups!
8. A Happy Visit to the Vet
Could a visit to the vet clinic be one of the ways to bond with your dog? If it means heading over to a modern, serene veterinary clinic that uses fear-free techniques, a visit to the vet could be a great pup-bonding experience — along with being beneficial for your pup’s health!
Here at Sploot Veterinary Care, we designed a clinic experience that feels like a walk in the park. Whether pet parents come in for a happy visit, a quick pet wellness exam, or any other veterinary service, we offer a relaxing vet clinic environment — with a friendly, dedicated team and free treats from the treat bar!
Final Thoughts on How to Bond with Your Dog
Bonding with your dog is a fun and fulfilling journey. By incorporating the above ways to bond with your dog, you'll be able to build a strong connection with your pup — while also making amazing memories together.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns about your pup’s health, our team is here to help! Sploot Veterinary Care is a primary and urgent vet clinic in Chicago and Denver, with multiple, convenient vet clinic locations.
We offer a wide array of veterinary services, from preventive pet care to urgent-intakes. Visit us, any day of the week; we are open 365 days a year, until 10 pm. Book an appointment online or through the Sploot Vets app.
Till next time, we’re with you every pounce of the way!