So how do you tell if your dog is bonded to you? Why is important? Because It leads to a happier, healthier more stress free life together. That bond normally develops through your life with your dog, as you train, play, exercise, and live together.
From eye contact to greetings, this is how you’ll know if your dog is bonded to you. When they’re attached to you, dogs will:
- Make eye contact
- Check in with you
- Are glad to see you
- Are relaxed around you
- Cuddle your stuff
- Listen and react to you
- Seek out your attention
Bonded dogs are tuned into their humans. Research about how dogs process language, shows that dogs understand us more than we thought. Looking for more insight into your dog’s thoughts and feelings? Start with Dr Stanley Coren’s article How Dogs Think on dog psychology, also this article on dog emotions by the same author.
Your Dog Is Bonded If: You Get Eye Contact
Eye contact is often the first things learned in basic obedience classes because it helps dogs focus. In the dog world , eye contact can be seen as a challenge, but in loving relationships, it’s a sign of trust and love. Think about your own eye contact habits; if you’re nervous or intimidated by another person, you might have trouble looking them in the eye, but if you trust them and want to show respect, you’ll meet their gaze. It’s very similar for dogs.
Eye contact isn’t just a sign of a strong bond between a dog and her person, it’s also a way to create and improve that bond. According to some researchers, dogs who gaze at their owners show elevated levels of oxytocin (aka the love hormone), and the owners experience raised oxytocin levels, as well. In other words, looking at each other starts a cycle of love and attachment. That’s correct: you can increase your bond and your happiness levels by gazing into each other’s eyes.
Your Dog Is Bonded If: they Always Check In With You
Dogs who are bonded to their people tend to look at them a lot. This doesn’t mean they’re glued to your side, staring at you all the time. They might still pull like mad on the lead if they spot a prey item (squirrel), but they’ll return to you when called.
Even the most independent dogs normally show their connection by “checking in” from time to time. If your dog makes regular, visual contact with you especially in new environments, it means your bond is strong.
Similarly, a bonded dog is far less likely to run away. Bonded dogs tend to have a strong recall response, and will make sure their person is close by in new situations.
They Go Frantic When You Come Home
Does your dog do a little dance or get a case of the zoomies when you come home? This one doesn’t take a special knowledge to understand: they’re excited to see you! And hopefully, you’re just as happy to see them. A happy, noisy, tail-waggy greeting is one of the surest signs you and your dog are connected.
Your Dog Is Bonded If: They Want To Cuddle Up To Your Belongings
Dogs who are attached to their owners are also very attached to their scent and may snuggle up with their belongings—particularly extra-stinky ones like clothing and shoes. Think of it from a dog’s perspective: scent is one of their primary means of communication, and your belongings communicate home, attachment, and love.
Of course, clothes- and shoe-snuggling isn’t always a good thing. If your dog hoards your dirty laundry or destroys your favourite pair of slippers, they may be exhibiting signs of separation anxiety. Otherwise, take it as a compliment! And invest in a few dog hair cleanup tools— and long-lasting chews like naturally-shed antlers that might entice them away from the shoes.
They Listen When You Talk
Responsiveness is one of the biggest signs that you and your dog have formed a strong bond. If your dog listens to you when you speak, and obeys the commands you give, it shows that they’re attached to you. Basic obedience training is a great way to strengthen your bond.
Recall, or coming when called, is one of the most important cues for your dog to respond to, because it can keep her safe in potentially dangerous situations. But it’s also a great way to increase the bond between you two. Make it a party every time your dog comes when called treats and happy posture help this. No matter what they’re leaving behind, coming to you should be the best thing that happens to them all day!
Your Dog Is Bonded If: They Want Physical Contact
Research suggests that dogs do not enjoy hugs, as they view it as being trapped. But that doesn’t mean they hate physical touch. In fact, it’s among the most important bonding activity you can engage in with your dog. If your dog seeks you out to be petted, or leans, on you it’s a sure sign they’re bonded to you. And you can strengthen your bond by spending quality, one on one time with your dog every day, including lots of gentle stroking sessions.
Some breeds are less affectionate than others. but they’ll demonstrate their bond with other signs listed above.