Three simple tips to build a stronger bond with your dog, according to an expert trainer

Senior man hugging his dog on couch
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you're anything like most pet parents, chances are that building and maintaining a strong relationship with your canine companion is high on your list of priorities. And aside from simply feeling good, a strong relationship has other benefits.

Having a deep bond with your furry friend can help make everything easier, from training sessions and vet visits to being able to apply the best flea treatment for dogs or clip their nails with minimal fuss.

While most of us assume that we'll become immediate best friends with our new pooch the minute we welcome them into our family, expert dog trainer Amelia Steele says it's important we don't put too much pressure on ourselves or our pup as relationship-building takes time.

In a video shared to Instagram which you can view below, Steele shares her top three tips to help you develop a strong bond with your canine companion. Here's what she had to say:

1. Incorporate play into your day

"Even if it's just for five minutes, playing with your dog is a really great way to build your bond," explains Steele. "It also shows them that you're fun and worth paying attention to, so it will really help with your training.

2. Introduce choice into your dog's life

"The easiest place to start with this is with stroking. If you're stroking your dog, pause frequently to give them a chance to tell you whether or not they're enjoying the interaction," Steele advises. "If you pause and they're enthusiastic, great carry on. If you pause and they're not too sure or they're not as enthusiastic, walk away and give them some space. This is a really great way to give your dog some autonomy and to show them that they can trust you."

3. Leave your dog in peace when they're resting

"Rest is so important for dogs and it can cause them to distrust us if we disturb them  too much while they're sleeping," Steele says. "They also have a startle response, so dogs are much more likely to bite if they're spooked while asleep."

As Steele points out, relationship building takes time, so it's important not to put too much pressure on yourself. However, if you'd like some extra support with this, we recommend seeking the assistance of a professional trainer. 

For more great training tips, check out our guide to how to crate train a dog.

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.