Dog mom holding up small dog, licking her face in front of a bright yellow brick wall.

How Pawrents Can Build Better Relationships With Their Dogs

Our dogs are valued and treasured members of our households, and it isn’t a secret that a lot of us would prefer the company of our pets to that of other people. Though dogs have played a big role in our society throughout the years, there is no denying that we are now entering a new age of pet ownership. The modern pawrents of the world want their pups to live their absolute best lives, and that means looking at the relationship that we have with our pets.

Beautiful Asian family playing at the park with their white Husky.
When I look at my dog, I see a friend, I see family.

You might love your doggo more than anyone else (don’t worry, we won’t tell), but what are you doing for your relationship with them? Are you looking for an opportunity to get to know your dog better? Sometimes, pawrents get so hung up on playing with their dogs and showering them with love that we forget to work on building a stronger relationship with them. In this article, we’ll discuss how to build a positive and lasting relationship with your dog!

Your Doggo(s) and You

Adorable black boy hugging Pomeranian Puppy closely.
A bond between man and dog is so special.

We love our dogs, and we know that you do too—but that isn’t the end to the story. Most of us understand the importance of the relationships that we share with other people, but what about our pets? Our pets are lovable furry members in our home, and they deserve some good relationship building too.

For most of us, we focus on the highlights with our pets. We think about the treasured memories that we have of them playing or growing up. We focus on their cute little faces or their feeding schedules. These are established points of contact that influence the relationships that we share with our fur babies. But, there is a lot more to it. Like us, our pups are living, breathing creatures that deserve the best that we can offer.

Why These Relationships Matter

White Husky licking dog mom while out hiking in the woods.
Kisses have a way of making everything better.

For too long, there has been a kind of expected relationship with pets. Back before dogs were really accepted in families, they were treated more like optional companions. Of course, now we live in an age where we know how to treat our pups better, but there is still more work to do.

Building a stronger relationship with your dog is a deeply healing and positive experience for both of you. It can help you to become closer with your favorite furry friend, but it can also help to improve your lives. Establishing deep and meaningful connections with those around us can help us to be happier, and dogs that have strong bonds with their humans are also going to be happier too.

Factors That Influence These Relationships

Man bonding and leaning on Border Collie Australian Shepherd mix, sitting outside.
It's you and me buddy, together for eternity.

Like our relationships with other humans, the relationships that we have with our dogs can be influenced in a variety of ways. Most dog parents, especially pawrents who adopt dogs raised around uncertainty, are familiar with the truth that your relationship with your dog will change with time. Some pups can barely come out from under the kitchen table on day one, but a year later, they’re nearly tackling their dog parents every time they get home. In general, there are some common factors that will influence your relationship with your pup.

Safety and Security

Adorable Labrador Puppy being held, looking over dog mom's shoulder.
Safe in your arms is where I want to be.

There are few things more important when establishing a strong relationship with your dog than safety and security. Our pups need both to be comfortable and content in a space, and without these things, they will not be able to trust very easily. Unfortunately, for a lot of dogs, safety and security can be a new concept when their pawrents first adopt them.

A dog that comes from an uncertain background is more likely to struggle with this base need, and even if you are very loving and always meet their needs, it might take a while before your pup realizes that they are safe. For some dogs, even after they get more comfortable, it is common for them to struggle with certain old habits.

Instead of thinking: how do you make your dog love you more? Ask yourself what your dog needs to embrace the love you want to offer.

Happiness and Comfort

Dog mom holding up small dog, licking her face in front of a bright yellow brick wall.
Shine brightly and love freely.

Once your dog’s base needs are met, they will be more focused on their own happiness and comfort. There are plenty of dogs that are safe and secure, but that doesn’t mean that they are happy. Happiness and comfort can vary from one pup to the next simply because every dog is different.

A lot of dogs have some fairly common considerations for happiness and security. Pups should have access to stimulating toys, plenty of playtime with their pawrents and siblings, the ability to get enough exercise, and a comfortable place to stay at all times. This means playing fetch, providing a soft bed, and being the person that your pup can enjoy being around.

Personal History

Young woman holding two Chihuahuas outside in the cold winter snow.
It's a dog winter!

Any time that you adopt a dog, it is very important to consider their personal history, and for some dog parents, this can be really hard because we don’t really know their full story. As wonderful as dogs are, not every single pup comes from a happy background. Some pups come from places of neglect, confusion, or even pain. Some pups aren’t even used to being around humans because they have always been on the street. These factors matter.

It can be very upsetting to recognize that your pup was not always as safe and happy as they are now. This is a struggle that a lot of dog parents face, and it is natural to feel sad for them. Most of us understand this, but we can very easily forget something equally important: it is okay that this hurts you too.

Your pet’s personal history will play a large role in how they will react to you and life in your home. Understanding this is a necessity, but you also need to be patient with yourself. It can be difficult to have a doggo that barely lets you pat their head or never wants to be too close. But, these habits can change with love and care—and that is what building a better relationship with your dog can offer.

Creating a Better Relationship With Your Furbabies

Young family playing with their Beagle outside in the woods.
You jump, I jump, we all jump for treats 😆

Our pets mean so much to us, so of course, we are always trying to do better by them. You can start building your relationship with your dog today, and you never have to stop after that! As you spend more time with your pup, you can focus more on growing your relationship in new ways. Of course, there are a few simple ways to get started on this.

Learn More About Your Pet

A beautiful hispanic family sitting with an adorable terrier and enjoying a picnic outside together.
Keep your family close to your heart, the greatest gift of life.

In the same way that we get to know new people on our teams at work or new classmates in school, we have to learn more about our pets. Dogs are living, breathing, thinking beings—and they have some serious personality! As the pawrent, it is your job to learn what there is to know about your doggo. Understanding how a dog thinks can help you to be a much better dog parent to them.

Observation and interaction are the best ways to learn everything that you need to know about your pup. Take note of the ways that your dog responds to certain things. What frightens them? What excites them? Every reaction from your dog will tell you a little more about them.

Beyond the big-picture items, you can also look for your dog’s preferences. Where are they most comfortable? How do they feel about snow, rain, or mud? What dog treats seem to get them really excited? When you know these details, you can provide a much better life for your fur child.

Keep Your Relationship Positive

A happy and smiling Pomeranian wearing a lime green knitted dog turtleneck, cuddling with dog mom.
The joy our dogs bring to our lives is immeasurable.

Animals are very sensitive to emotions, and most of us know this. It is very common for dogs to become upset when their humans are upset, and this is an important consideration. Just like kids, fur babies can feel distressed when their pawrent is stressed, unhappy, or angry.

Focusing on establishing a positive relationship with your dog means learning how to navigate bad behavior without getting angry. Though dogs can get themselves into quite a bit of trouble, it is your job as the dog parents to avoid being outwardly angry with your pup. Yelling or fast movements can cause intense fear in your dog, leaving them wanting to get away from you.

Of course, there is more to positivity than simply avoiding negativity. Positivity also means bringing that good and vibrant energy to your pet. Be excited to see them, and let your enthusiasm fill them up. Make sure that you share your happiness and joy with your pet any time that you get the chance.

Find Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Young woman cuddling and bonding with her adorable Shih Tzu.
All you need is love... and a dog!

So much of building good relationships comes down to establishing healthy coping mechanisms. This is true in your human relationships, and it is also true when building a relationship with your dog. For humans, this means learning how to train your dog in a productive way. Classes can be very helpful for helping you to learn how to communicate needs to your dog—but it isn’t entirely on you.

A lot of disputes between dogs and their owners actually come down to how dogs cope. Teaching your pet how to cope with their own needs and giving them the tools to do so is very important. For a lot of dogs, this all comes down to exercise and stimulation.

Running, jumping, playing, and solving puzzles can all help your doggo to cope with the world around them. A number of poor pet behaviors are actually misplaced distress, anxiety, energy, or even aggression. Making sure that your dog is able to work through these concerns can help them to be more comfortable and less destructive.

Anxiety is a big issue for dogs, even if they don’t know it. You can tell in the way that they hide, chew on things they aren’t supposed to, engage in disruptive behaviors, or respond to new stimuli. These concerns tend to be amplified when pawrents are not home to comfort their pets. Helping your dog to cope—whether it is with CBD, medication, more exercise, or medical clothing—can help them to feel more comfortable, all while making you happier with their behavior. For a little extra doggo comfort, consider this relaxation playlist made by Willow and Dilla!

Prioritize Quality Time

Young couple laughing and having a picnic with their dog.
Laughter is the best medicine.

When we want to build a stronger relationship with someone, we have to make it a priority—and it almost always comes down to quality time. Your doggo deserves love and attention, not to simply be left behind like a part of the home. These living beings want our attention, and as their pawrents, it is our job to give it to them.

Quality time can wear a lot of different masks depending on your doggo. For some dogs, quality time comes down to walks, hikes, and time spent at the dog park. For others, it is all about playing with their dog parents or settling in for a nice cuddle session while everyone watches a movie. Some pups are just happy to go for a ten-minute car ride. Decide what this quality time looks like for you and your pup, then prioritize it.f the home. These living beings want our attention, and as their pawrents, it is our job to give it to them.

Give Lots of Love

A beautiful young woman hugging and giving lots of loveher Bichon Frise at the dog park.
I love you to the moon and back

There is nothing more important that dog parents can offer their dogs than lots and lots of love. Our pups don’t just deserve this love, they crave it, and when we give it to them, something really special happens. Showering your dog in love can help them to feel more comfortable in the home, and it is a wonderful way to strengthen your bond. Give them the pets, pats, treats, and belly rubs every single day so that they know just how much you love them. When they feel your love, they will really start to blossom.

The Takeaway

Large hispanic family enjoying a day at the park with their loved ones, smiling and cuddling with their beloved dog.
They're not just a pet, they're family!

Our pets play a valuable role in our lives, and that is why we must place a focus on building stronger bonds with them. Prioritizing your doggo is one of the best things that you can do for them, and you might be surprised to see the ways that they start to change—and the ways that you do too!

Until, next time. Thanks for reading!

About the author: Gabrielle is the loving pawrent to adorable pups Willow and Dilla. Growing up surrounded by dogs, she always dreamt of having her own. Willow and Dilla came into her life and changed everything. Now, she's crazy about pampered pooches, and her perfect day involves dancing with her husband, dressing up her furbabies, and cuddling them to sleep. For Gabrielle, life is all about spreading love and joy with her adorable canine companions by her side.