Lots of people get a puppy with the vision of a little cute fluff ball that constantly follows you around; a furry best pal to be on hand for 24/7 cuddles… but for some, the reality can be quite different to these expectations.
This is simply because, just like us, all dogs are different – which means each and every one varies in personality and tendency towards physical affection. If your dog is the more independent type, and you crave some extra four-legged love, then there are ways that you can help to encourage your dog to be more affectionate towards you. This is best achieved by working to strengthen the bond between you as this is at the heart of all aspects of your everyday relationship.
Dogs are eager to please their owners, so by leading them into affectionate behaviour and then making it clear that this behaviour makes you happy, you are creating a positive association with such actions which means they are likely to repeat the behaviour. Training of any kind is a great way of improving the bond between you and your dog. For puppies especially, training together and using positive reinforcement from early on can have a significant impact on shaping how they act towards you, therefore it is a good way to establish affectionate behaviour from the beginning.
Tip: Just as you would use food treats in reward-based training to teach your dog to respond to commands, you can use your own affection to praise physical acts of love.
Trust is vital for a strong and healthy bond between dog and owner, and will affect how they behave towards you. Being trustworthy (in dogs’ eyes) is achieved through meeting all of their basic needs such as regular food, water and exercise, a safe and comfortable environment, and plenty of care and attention. Make it clear that you are there for your pet and will be no matter what, and they will learn to feel content and secure in your ownership. This in itself will help your dog to be more loving and also leaves you with the knowledge you’re doing everything required to be a good and responsible owner.
Remember; it works both ways, so if you want your dog to be eager to shower you with affection then be sure to do the same in return.
This means making a point to have regular one-on-one time where they have your full attention; interactive play, grooming such as brushing, or simply relaxed, quiet time together are ideal for this. Be physical – we’re all guilty of talking to our dogs and rightly so as this is important for showing that you’re directing attention to them only. Likewise, it’s good to make yourself on the same physical level as your pet often for some more equal face time. Just remember, the more loving and affectionate you are, the more attentive and affectionate your pet will be!
Share with us in the comments below your stories of praise and affection dog training, we’d love to hear from you!