Build a better bond with your dog and boost their happiness with this expert’s three top tips

Golden retriever sat in front of owners
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Building a strong and positive relationship with your dog is essential if you want a journey filled with wagging tails, trust, and mutual understanding. 

While spoiling your dog with all the very best puppy toys, treats, and accessories is a great start, it's equally essential to invest time and effort into nurturing your connection the right way. 

Amelia Steele, a certified dog trainer and behaviorist known as Amelia the Dog Trainer online, recently shared three straightforward tips on Instagram to help dog owners create a stronger bond with their four-legged companions. 

Steele wrote on Instagram, "I’m a strong believer in prioritising your relationship with your dog. When you focus on your bond, training is so much easier and your life with your dog becomes enriched rather than feeling like a battle!".

If you want find out how this dog trainer does just that, watch below or keep reading.

1) Incorporate Play into Your Day

Steele emphasizes the importance of incorporating play into your daily routine with your dog. Even if you can only spare five minutes, engaging in playtime is a fantastic way to strengthen your bond. It demonstrates to your furry friend that you're not just their provider but also a source of fun and excitement.

Playing together not only fosters trust but also makes training more successful. "It (play) also shows them that you’re fun and worth paying attention to so it will really help with your training," explains Steele. 

If you want to incorporate more play int your walks, check out these 12 clever ways to have more fun with your dog on walks.

2) Introduce Choice into Your Training

Steele's second tip centers on giving your dog the power of choice. "The easiest place to start with this is with stroking," the trainer notes, "If you’re stroking your dog, pause frequently to give them a chance to tell you whether or not they are enjoying the interaction. If you pause and they’re enthusiastic, great carry on. If you pause and they are not too sure or they are not as enthusiastic, walk away and give them some space. "

By allowing them to communicate their preferences, you demonstrate respect for their autonomy.

3) Leave Them When They're Resting

The final tip revolves around the importance of respecting your dog's rest. Dogs, much like humans, need their downtime. Disturbing them while they're sleeping or resting can lead to distrust and discomfort. Additionally, dogs have a startle response, which means they're more likely to react defensively, even aggressively, if they're startled while asleep.

To avoid causing stress and potential conflict, practice leaving your dog in peace when they're sleeping or resting. This not only demonstrates your consideration for their well-being but also reinforces trust in your relationship.

So there you have it, incorporating play, introducing choice, and respecting your dog's rest are simple yet highly effective ways to enhance your relationship with your pet. Remember, it's the little habits that make the biggest difference in your dog's life and your own.

Jessica Downey
Staff Writer

With over a year of writing for PetsRadar, Jessica is a seasoned pet writer. She joined the team after writing for the sister site, Fit&Well for a year. Growing up with a lively rescue lurcher kindled her love for animal behavior and care. Jessica holds a journalism degree from Cardiff University and has authored articles for renowned publications, including LiveScience, Runner's World, The Evening Express, and Tom's Guide. Throughout her career in journalism she has forged connections with experts in the field, like behaviorists, trainers, and vets. Through her writing, Jessica aims to empower pet owners with accurate information to enhance their furry companions' lives.