Bonding with your Dog

Updated: Nov 29, 2019

Bonding with your dog really is why those who have dogs love having dogs.

The bond that is developed over time with a dog is what has delivered the dog's status as "man's best friend." The process of bonding happens when you spend time with your dog. The most common exercises in bonding are feeding times, walking, ball-throwing and just hanging out on the couch.

These are rather benign activities but there are other forms of bonding which can be much more profound. These activities require the dog to think more or develop a communication skill. They are usually developed by having the dog interact with either animate or inanimate objects.

The animate objects are things such as sheep, cattle, duck or geese. Yes, these animals can be herded by your dog. Most dogs can develop the skills necessary to herd a variety of stock. But it is the herding breeds like the Border Collie, Shetland and Corgi (to name just a few) who are bred specifically for this task. The relationship built between a dog and handler to move sheep or other stock from point A to point B is most astonishing to behold. A well seasoned team can move a group of stock with seemingly little communication. A whistle here a lift of the shepherd's staff there and the sheep are moved about.

I know of no other bonding experience that is more profound than working with a dog on a ranch moving sheep. But inanimate objects can also be used to develop a bond that comes close to what can be done with herding.

Objects can be used as obstacles and a language developed between dog and handler to maneuver an obstacle course. This sport is called Agility. In order to compete at a high level in this sport, dog and handler teams develop a system for communicating on the Agility course to run the dog through about twenty obstacles in the fastest possible time.

First time is spent to teach the dog how to perform each of the obstacles. Then the team must develop a system for turning, running and discriminating the obstacles. Once the communication is in place all of it is put together so dog and handler teams can then compete for time against other dogs for ribbons and titles.

All of these things can be done to build a stronger bond with your dog. So get out there and start developing a stronger bond with your dog. And if you absolutely can't get out there, spending time on the couch with your dog works too. For instance, all four of my dogs are laying all about as I create this article. They really just want to be with you!

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