By Curtis Kelley, Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed
It may have been love at first sight, but the bond between you and your dog doesn’t happen overnight. A strong bond builds over time with the help of training and quality time. Here are some great ways to strengthen your relationship with your dog that will be just as beneficial for you as it is for them.
1. Building deeper trust
Deeper trust is crucial to your relationship with your dog because it allows you to experience more challenging events and situations while staying united. Trust sets you up to have better experiences at the vet, during walks, or if you decide to take a vacation and bring your dog with you. Having that level of trust will mean that in an unfamiliar environment or uncomfortable situation, your dog can look to you for guidance, and trust that you have their best interest at heart. Not having your dog’s trust can increase the risk of failure and create behavioral fallout.
Trust is also important for your dog to feel safe and secure with you in everyday life. A dog that trusts you as their person and their home is more responsive, more intentional, and provides better companionship and support back to you. Some scenarios in which greater trust will be apparent while administering medications, putting harnesses or gear on, and walking on a leash.
If something happens and your dog gets away from you, a strong sense of trust can bring them back sooner. If a dog does not trust you, they might go away from you whenever they have the option.
2. Having a more predictable and reliable dog
Having a predictable and reliable dog is highly underrated. A dog that responds unpredictably to environments or common events can cause so much stress for you. Everything that you may want to do with your dog is tinged with the worry that something may go wrong. What makes this much worse is not knowing what will go wrong or when it will happen. This is because there might be many factors and a broad range of reactions.
Training helps build understanding between dogs and humans. The experience of teaching and learning with your dog can help build your understanding of how they are feeling and what they need to be successful. Through the training process, you’ll experience unfamiliar circumstances together, meet new people or dogs, and get a sense of how your dog prefers to engage. This information can help your dog be much more predictable and easier to handle.
3. Less couch chewing and more fun
Training your dog inherently includes some structure and guidelines about how you enjoy interacting. Without those guidelines, your puppy may grow up to believe that the most fun comes from chewing your couch, stealing your shoes, digging in your yard, jumping on top of you, barking out the window, going through the trash, or hopping up on the counter to name a few consequences. By training your dog you start to establish that fun activities include walks, playing fetch or tech, snuggling, seeing friends and exploring. All these things are great for dogs, and they will be happy to participate. Neglecting training and giving no clear direction or parameters is when dogs find ways to entertain themselves.
4. An investment that can save money
Training a dog is making an investment in a relationship that pays you back in much greater value over its lifetime. For instance, an untrained dog can cause thousands of dollars in unexpected vet bills if they eat something out of boredom or unexpectedly run into the street.
All the moments of chaos that a dog can generate may cost you money, time, and aggravation. Training helps minimize and eliminate those events from happening. A trained dog can also be a therapeutic asset to your well-being and emotional health.
5. Ready for adventures
A well-trained dog can accompany you more often if you would like. Many stores or facilities are dog friendly. Just because they are dog friendly doesn’t mean that your dog won’t crash in and knock things to the floor or be disruptive. The flip side of this is that the better your dog is trained, the more they can handle things like being in crowds or in public. They are less likely to panic or be overwhelmed if you grab a coffee on your morning walk, and the shop employees will be happy to see your pup, rather than try to get you in and out as fast as possible.
6. Rolling with the changes
Trained dogs can handle changes to their routine or environment better. If you move, change your schedule, adopt another pet or bring someone special into your life, there will be an adjustment period for your dog. A dog that has practiced some elements of self-control or training will be better prepared to handle those shifts in lifestyle changes and environment.
If your dog seems stressed with an environmental or lifestyle change, try giving them VetriScience Composure chews. These fast-acting calming support chews can help your dog get into a better mental state which will help them learn with you during stressful times. Plus, they’re clinically shown to work within 30 minutes!
Curtis Kelley, one of our VetriExperts, is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and the founder of Pet Parent Allies in Philadelphia. He works primarily with reactivity, aggression, and fear in dogs and offers private training lessons as well as virtual consults. He believes that training and succeeding together helps to root the bond that people and dogs share more deeply. Kelley strives to make training an ingredient to connect relationships between people and their dogs more profoundly and powerfully.