The bond between dogs and humans goes back thousands of years. In fact, there have been several instances of human and dog remains found buried together dated back to 8,000, 10,000 even 14,000 years ago! Maybe even more interesting is the fact that there have been scientific studies proving that dogs and humans shared common migration patterns from those early times. This shows further indication that the human-canine bond began incredibly early on. Humans and dogs have shared similar evolutionary pressures, and this had led to a deep understanding of one another. The human-canine bond is unique, it is special, and it is strong!
What does it mean to be bonded with your dog?
Being bonded with your dog basically means that you understand your dog and your dog understands you. You and your dog are in tune with each other’s emotional state. You recognize each other’s gestures and respond appropriately to them. You trust each other and you love each other. This bond stems from the thousands of years humans and dogs have been co-evolving together. This co-evolution has ultimately led to dogs and humans having many groups of genes that have also been co-evolving. Have you heard that interactions between dogs and humans increase the oxytocin levels in both species? This is the result of groups of neurological genes evolving in parallel patterns in dogs and humans.
How do I bond with my dog?
Due to the co-evolution of neurological genes, dogs bond with humans in much the same way humans bond to other humans. The more love and support you provide them, the closer the bond. Watching them and listening to them allows you to better understand them thereby strengthening the bond between you and them. Routine and consistency are key so another way to strengthen the bond is by creating a routine so they know what is expected of them making them feel more self-confident. Give them consistent attention. Spend time training them. Believe it or not, dogs love learning new tricks! Spend quality time with them. Just as you must learn what your significant other enjoys, you must learn what your dog enjoys. If they enjoy toys, buy them toys and play with them. If they love cuddling on the couch, cuddle on the couch! If they love to exercise, do that! Exercising together is not only a great bonding tool, but a well exercised dog is a well behaved dog! Neuroimaging has shown that dog brains function very similarly to ours (due to the co-evolution of the neurological genes) when processing emotions so it boils down to whatever makes you feel loved will likely make your dog feel loved.
How do you know if your dog is bonded with you?
Does your dog run around and jump up and down when you come home? Well, this probably means they are bonded to you. Dogs that are bonded to you often make eye contact. Dogs make eye contact with humans to connect with them. Bonded dogs will turn to check on you on walks. They will follow you around and seek you out if you are in another room. Another way your dog will show they are bonded to you is by leaning against you. They will want to be touching you in some way. If your dog loves toys, like my Dozer does, they will bring their favorite toy to you. This is just another sign of affection. Finally, if your dog sleeps with you, they are bonded to you. Dogs are very vulnerable when they sleep so if they are comfortable sleeping with you, you can bet they are bonded to you.
To learn more about canine body language, click here: https://thefrenchiemamablog.com/2021/02/14/dog-body-language-and-why-your-frenchie-may-not-get-along-with-other-breeds/
The human-canine bond is an amazing relationship that has spanned thousands of years. Let’s hope that it’s one that will continue for thousands more to come!