Trainer reveals five ways you can show up for your dog — and number two is so important!

Woman hugging her dog outdoors
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Disclaimer: Unless specifically stated, any expert comments quoted in this news piece have been taken directly from the Instagram post cited below.

Whether you're trying to improve your dog's obedience, get them to walk well on the leash, or help soothe their separation anxiety, there's one thing that helps with all of these issues — and that's your relationship with your dog. 

Of course, when it comes to the reasons why your dog barks at everything or the reasons why your dog's recall isn't reliable, there's more to it than just the relationship the two of you share.

But showing up for your dog and building a strong bond can go a long way in overcoming a range of behavioral issues.

According to expert trainer Nikki Mather, founder of Positive Steps Dog Training, there are countless ways you can be there for your dog, here are five of her favorites that she shared in a recent Instagram post...

1. Provide plenty of decompression walks: "This means walks whereby they can have more freedom and control over their movements, either off-lead or on a long-lead," explains Mather. "No triggers, no stress, just lots of sniffing."

2. Speak up for them: "You are your dog’s biggest advocate. Don’t be afraid to tell people ‘no, you can’t stroke my dog’ or ‘no, your dog can’t say hi’. Don’t be pressured into putting them into situations you know they cannot handle, it’s okay to say no," Mather stresses.

3. Ensure they have outlets for instinctual needs: "This might mean opportunities to dig, chase, sniff, retrieve etc."

4. Honor their social preferences: "Your dog might not want to say hi to every other dog or person," says Mather. "They may be selective of who they want to play with, and sometimes they might not want to play at all. That’s okay!"

5. Love them unconditionally: "Through the good days and the bad days."

So there you have it. Five ways you can show up for your dog each day, and strengthen your bond in the process! 

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.