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16 Ways To Bond With Your Dog

'Cause everyone needs a best bud.

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1. Pay attention when your pet your pup!

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Your dog can tell when he has your attention, just like a human! Instead of scratching his head while watching TV or while you zone out on your phone, put a little extra effort into your belly rubs and your pup will appreciate it for sure.

2. Spend quality one-on-one time together.

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This can mean a stimulating training session, grooming, going on a long walk, or even just sitting and hanging out with your buddy. Whichever activity you choose should be at least 30 minutes long.

3. Communication is key to having a strong bond.

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The first step to having a great relationship with your pup is having a solid form of communication. This means being "consistent with your training signals." When you share a greater understanding of each other, your bond will be much stronger.

4. Remember that your dog pays more attention to what you do rather than what you say.

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Use visual signals more often than vocal signals, if you can. Remember that since your pup is always keen to your actions, every moment is an opportunity for training.

5. Train your dog every single day!

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Dogs crave mental stimulation and they love having a job. Since your dog is constantly watching and learning from you, whether you notice it or not, try to "make a conscious effort to make the most out of every moment." Whether it's learning a new trick or employing little obedience exercises on your daily walks, be sure some form of training and positive reinforcement happens every single day.

7. Understand your dog's body language.

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All great relationships require listening on both ends. Listen to what your dog is trying to tell you by studying up on how dogs communicate with their bodies. The position of his tail, how fast or slow he's wagging it, the direction of his ears — almost every part of your dog's body is a cue into what he's thinking and feeling, so get listening!

8. Know your dog's likes and dislikes.

Kaelin Tully

Every dog has an individual personality, just like humans. Some dogs want to snuggle with you all day, while others prefer to hang out on their own. One dog might love a riveting game of fetch, while another would rather try his hardest in an obedience challenge. Pay attention to what kind of affection your dog likes, what kind of games she enjoys, and what social situations she's comfortable or uncomfortable in. Knowing the ins and outs of your dog's personality will help you let him live his best life — and he'll know he can trust you completely.

9. Keep your cool.

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Be patient when you're developing a bond with your pup. Dogs can pick up on your feelings, so if you lose your temper, your dog will feel uneasy too. Stay calm, and take it all in stride, so your pooch knows that he can always rely on you.

10. Set your pup up for success — don't set your expectations too high!

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If you're asking your dog to complete a task that might be too difficult for him initially, he'll get frustrated quickly. Break obedience tasks down into small steps so your dog gains confidence in himself and has fun learning new tricks instead of becoming discouraged. In addition to increasing your pup's self-confidence, he'll have trust in you as a reliable and positive leader in his life.

11. Make your dog work for food and toys — don't leave them out.

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Before feeding your dog a meal, make him perform a few tricks like you would before giving him a treat. By doing this, your dog will start to understand that he has to look and listen to you before diving into the food bowl. Reserve your pup's favorite game or toy for your playtime, and he'll associate fun times and his favorite things with you! You'll start to notice that your dog pays attention to you in a much different way once you get into this routine.

12. Dote on your best bud every once in a while.

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Does your dog have an absolute favorite snack, toy, or game? Find out what it is, and take a moment to make his day whenever you can! After a hard training session or a long walk, let your dog know he did a great job by giving him his absolute favorite reward.

13. Remember that even the small moments mean a bunch to your pup.

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Even if you're just running out to do chores, take your pup with you on a little adventure! He appreciates all the small moments he gets to share with you, and the more time you spend together, the stronger your bond will be.

14. Make your walks meaningful.

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Letting your dog run around the yard isn't enough — so factor in time every single day for going on walks! Make these walks interactive by throwing in little obedience exercises as you go. Try making him sit at every corner, change direction with you, or any other trick you've practiced with your pooch to keep his mind busy and focused on you.

15. Have a good old cuddle session.

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If your dog has a cuddly personality, sometimes there's nothing they love more than snuggling up next to you. Some dogs thrive on physical contact — grooming and petting can even lower their stress levels. So if your pooch snuggles up to you, make sure you return the love!

16. Always let your best bud know how much you love him.

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Your dog has his own little ways of showing you how much he loves you, so whether it's a nightly belly rub, a vigorous morning run, or a bunch of puppy kisses — make sure you let your dog know you love him as much as he loves you.

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