By admin Posted in Bonding /

Successful dog training requires sound bonding between you and your dog. But, like at home, you need to work at strengthening and maintaining this relationship that requires amongst others:

Establishing and maintaining your leadership position. A kind, consistent, firm leadership is required for the dog to respect you, want to bond with you and please you. Spending quality time together. This entails rituals that you and your dog can look forward to. When going shopping, I only have to say, “OK Guys” and the dogs will rush off and jump into to LDV because they know that while mom does the shopping, we play on the common nearby. Coyote carries the newspaper from the shop and they look forward to the routine of receiving their “thank you” treats afterwards.

Communication. There are four basic ways in which dogs communicate with each other and with us. Body language, vocal intonation and voice inflection, touch and scent. Dogs do not understand language the way we do. Use a happy, high inflection for praise and a deep voice when you disapprove of behaviour. If you want your dog to hurry to you, rapidly repeat the word: “Come-come-come” in a higher pitch tone. If you want to slow or calm your dog, say “Waa-a-i-i-t” or “sloo-o-w” stretched out.

Bonding with your dog by touch requires that you spend time grooming and really loving the dog. Show the dog often that you care for it. Do it on a daily basis if possible. Hand feeding at least once a day is recommended. Before going to bed at night, I hand feed a treat to my dogs and the kittens that are awake.



Start by having your dog standing or sitting close to you on your left hand side. Placing your left hand over the back of the dog, gently start stroking the dog’s left side from the collar to the back leg while repeating, “That’s nice” or “That’s fine.” Over time the dog begins to associate your left side as the “loving” side and will automatically come to that side when catching up to you on a walk or when heeling on a pavement or when in traffic.

With the dog standing or sitting next to you and with the dog’s lead in your right hand turn to your right and say, “Come with me” as you gently tug and lead the dog in a circle of no more than about 3 meters wide around you while it walks with you. By turning to your right you remain ahead of the dog that must follow and catch up to you.

Now suddenly stop after one circle, draw the dog close to your left side i.e. in the “Heel” position and with your left hand over the dog’s back, slowly stroke the dog’s side a few times from behind the collar to the hind leg, while at the same time repeating, “That’s fine, that’s fine” in a soothing voice.

Then, repeat the same procedure at least 5 times; “Come with me” leading the dog in a circle around you, stopping and stroking while you repeat, “That’s fine” etc.

Every time your dog is near you, stroke its side and say the soothing, “That’s fine.” Do the same when you groom the dog or in the case of a puppy, while it is eating. Constantly tell it, “That’s fine” while you slowly stroke the dog’s side from behind the collar to the back of the elbow on the hind leg.

After stroking for a while, gently guide the dog into your arms for ½ of a second i.e. just enough time for a quick hug and to stroke its side once only, then just say, “That’s fine” and let the dog run off or play “Tuggy.”

Your aim here is to get your dog to feel comfortable coming into your arms. When this has been achieved you will bond closely with your dog and find it a lot easier to get your dog to focus on the “work” you are going to do together.

I use the words, “Come with me” as a command and not a request. When my dog, doing man work in Schutzhund protection exercises, returns with the sleeve he has taken as prey from the helper, I say,” Come with me” as I turn to my right and Quanto joins my left side before being calmed and releasing the sleeve in order to have another bite.

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