A woman is sitting in front of her dog.

12 Tips That Will Help You Win Your Dog’s Love and Respect

5 min read

Those dreaming of a dog often think that they and their puppies will love and adore each other since the moment their eyes first meet, but it’s not always the case. Sometimes, it’s a long and complicated process, especially if you rescued an older dog that’s been through a lot already and has difficulties in trusting humans now. But it’s not a dead-end and there are ways to win your dog’s love and respect. And here they are.

Feed Your Dog

A dog is running on the grass with a bowl in its mouth.
Giving your dog some food may be a good way to show your affection.

Imagine how great the world be if you could get someone’s trust and respect by giving them food? Well, that’s how it works with dogs. Obviously, you won’t immediately win the dog’s heart with one tasty meal but give it time and it might work. It can work even better if you turn food into a reward and make your dog follow some simple commands before you fill their bowl. If you are dealing with a rescued dog, make sure not to leave the food laying around and make it clear that it comes from you. Occasional hand feeding can be another brick in your good relationship with a doggy as it helps to build the dog’s trust.

Walk Together

If there is one thing dogs love more than food, it’s the walks. Walking together with your dog will help you bond but only if it’s the real quality time, not just a quick circle around the block for a dog to relieve. Do some exercises together, run, explore the park, play with a ball or a stick — do whatever you both like, and have fun together.

Respect Your Dog’s Space

Personal space is important for humans and just as important for dogs, even though they like spending time with their owners. Make sure your dog has a space to chill in quietly with no one touching them or running around. You can place a crate or a dog bed in the corner of a living room, throw some blankets and a chewing toy, and don’t let anyone bother your dog when he’s there.

Get On the Dog’s Level

A woman is holding the dog's face and smiling.
It's good to start low to let your dog feel safe next to you.

When dealing with a dog and especially with the rescued ones, it’s better to get down on their level instead of looking at them from the above. Thus, you’ll not scare a dog and won’t look like a threat. Get on your knees and approach a dog from the side before you start hugging or petting. Later on, your dog will get used to you and will not care how tall you are, but it’s better to start low.

Train Your Dog

Loving your dog doesn’t mean letting them do whatever they want — they’ll probably be happy but won’t get close to respecting you so training is a must. Be patient, pack a lot of treats, and start from the simple commands. Make it a game and let your dog please you with their tricks as it will make you closer to each other. Be persistent but never loud or rude.

Comfort Your Dog

Some people believe that you shouldn’t comfort scared dogs as it won’t teach them to be brave but your dog doesn’t need to be brave, to tell the truth. The world is huge and scary and the dog is small (even if it’s not). There are many things that can scare your pet and you should be the one to protect and comfort them whatever the hazard is: a loud poodle in the park, fireworks, or rolling thunder.

Sleep Together

A woman is sleeping with her dog in bed.
Warm hugs during sleep can relieve your dog from stress.

This might be a bit of controversial advice as many owners don’t let their dogs in the bedroom but in fact, it’s exactly what can help your pup settle in a new house and get closer to the new family. You can benefit from it too, by the way, as hugging a dog relieves stress and keeps you warm at cold nights.

Say “No” to Punishments

There is a huge difference between fear and respect and your dog should never be frightened of you. Forget about punishments and never, never hit your dog even if you’ve read some long articles about how you should become an “alpha of the pack”. Your dog needs a friend, not an alpha, so better read about positive training methods and reinforcement.

Have a Holiday Together

Traveling with a dog might need a bit of preparation (like getting an ESA letter and seeing a vet for a pet passport) yet it’s definitely worth it as you can share some great experience and have a lot of fun together. There are a lot of pet-friendly hotels and airlines today and there is no need to always leave your pet at home when you are going on a trip.

Don’t Forget About Grooming 

Brushing your dog is hands down the easiest way to straighten your bond as it is a pleasant process and, besides, it helps to keep a dog’s hair clean and healthy. The frequency of grooming sessions depends on how thick and long your dog’s hair is but it’s the thing where you can’ really overdo.

Be There for Your Dog

A woman is hugging her dog.
The more involved you are in the activities with your dog, the closer friends you become.

If you want a dog to see you as the main owner and caretaker, it’s important that you spend a lot of time together and don’t leave a pet alone for too long. Of course, no one can spend 24/7 with the dog but try to involve them in your life as much as you can. Dogs are 100% social creature and there is nothing harder for them than not seeing their loved ones. 

Take It Slow

Winning your dog’s love and respect is not a quick process and it might take longer than you thought. Be patient and give both of you more time to get closer and soon it will work and you two will become the best friends in the whole world. 

If you follow these steps consistently, winning a dog’s heart is inevitable. You’ll see it when the dogs feel happy and relaxed in your presence, follow your commands, makes eye contact, and wiggle their tail every time you walk into the room. And this is when you understand it was all worth it. 

by GetESA

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Pet Care