5 Creative Ways to Strengthen Your Bond with Your Dog
Long gone are the days when dogs were simply animals we let sleep in our backyards to bark at would be intruders. Dogs are part of our families. They walk the line between our wise best friends, which are capable of deeper empathy than any other creature alive, and our silly children than make messes and chase the neighbor’s cat. I simply cannot imagine my life without dogs.
So the question I want to address today is; what can we do to strengthen this bond even more? Below I am going to share 5 creative ways I tried to use my imagination to connect to my dogs. By engaging in the following activities, we made our family unit more cohesive, and our living environment more peaceful.
Traveling with your dogs will require initial set-up work from you, that may seem daunting, but I promise the work will be well worth it. Start by going to your local veterinarian and explaining where you would like to travel with your dog. Your vet will be able to look-up what the requirements are for you and your furry best friend to travel into that country and more importantly back into the country you live in. The PETS Travel Scheme, has revolutionized pet travel, and makes taking your doggie on vacation so much simpler. If you live in the UK, like we do, this will involve the issuing of a Pet Passport and a phone call to DEFRA by your vet. By plane, train or automobile, no matter the way you travel your dog can join in the excursion.
Bring Your Dog to Work
I know I am spoiled being a veterinarian and being able to bring my dogs into my practice with me most days, but have you ever thought about whether you can too?? The reality is most work places wont be the ideal place for you to bring your dog in every day, but maybe suggest a once a month “Bring Your Dog to Work Day” to your boss? Your dog will love the day out with you, the chance to see where you go when you leave the house Monday to Friday, and getting to meet all your co-workers.
Take a Trip to The Zoo
Not all zoos or wild animal parks will allow you to bring your dog when you visit, but you will be surprised how many will, for example Cotswold Wildlife Park! Your dog will be in awe of all the shapes and sizes that animals can come in! On our last visit Scooter spent an hour staring at a fancy breed of chicken walking around its pen, while Dodger perched above the Meerkat exhibit proclaiming himself their new God. You will have so much fun watching your dogs enjoy the day of course, but you will also be amazed at how much more the zoo animals interact with you because your dogs are there.
Go For a Swim
Whether its a simple dip in your backyard pool, a swim in country stream, or a kayak expedition, swimming is a great activity for all members of your family unit. Swimming provides a cardiac workout without all the strain on joints that running or walking can have, which makes it the ideal form of exercise for ageing dogs. Our dogs love a good kayak trip, though they seem to last precisely 10 minutes on the kayak before they decide its time to dive into the water for a swim.
This may seem like a silly, or simple task but the impact of a good snuggle is profound. When you hold or hug another being, dog or human, for more than 15 seconds positive feedback mechanisms in your body start to kick in. Oxytocin, the hormone responsible for mother-offspring bonding starts to be released. Consequently, our cortisol, or “stress” hormone levels drop and dopamine, or “pleasure” hormone, levels increase. So the simple task of hugging your dog once a day keeps your bond tight, decreases stress, and increases pleasure. That is a lot of work one small action accomplishes.
Please share your ideas and your answers to the question; what can we do to strengthen our bond with our dogs even more?