Three simple ways to improve your relationship with your dog, according to an expert trainer

Woman sat on couch with her dog
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you're anything like most pet parents, building a strong and deep relationship with your fur friend is almost certainly at the top of your priority list. 

And the good news is, improving and strengthening the connection you share with your canine companion needn't be difficult or time-consuming. 

While it's easy to get caught up trying to figure out the reasons why your dog's recall isn't reliable or working hard to avoid the most common loose leash walking mistakes, often your time is best spent working on your relationship. 

"Change your relationship and you’ll change the behaviours," explains expert dog trainer Liz Foley, who is also the founder of Your Favourite Dog Trainer.

Foley, who spent many years working with world-renowned dog trainer Cesar Milan, believes your relationship with your dog is the foundation for successful training sessions.

Keep reading as we reveal Foley's three simple tips for improving your relationship with your dog...

1. Go for a walk: And not just any walk! "Take your dog on longer walks," Foley advises. "Try to increase by 30-60 minutes." Bonus points if you use your daily stroll with your pup to engage in various games and training exercises, as this level of engagement can quickly deepen your relationship.

2. Boundaries are your friend: "Enforce boundaries by crating and practicing place," says Foley. Boundaries help your pup feel safe and secure in your presence, which is not only great for your relationship, but it can also assist your dog in becoming calmer and more confident. 

3. Be mindful of when you dish out affection: "Only give your dog affection when they're calm. You get what you pet," explains Foley. 

So, if you're wanting to strengthen your relationship with your dog and improve their behavior at the same time, focus on building your connections with them.

And if you find after several months of working with your dog on this that you're still not seeing the positive behaviors you're wanting to see, we recommend consulting a professional trainer who will able to work with your pup 1:1. 

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.