Pets provide us with love and companionship, and studies have shown that people who have pets live longer and healthier lives. But it's not just the pet that benefits from the relationship–-- the owner does too! This blog post will discuss six ways you can bond with your furkid and create a deeper bond that will benefit you both.

A Sheltie lies in bed near his owner's feet.

1. Create getaway spaces.

As much as pet parents love having their furkid with them, one of the best ways to create a stronger human-animal bond with your pet is by giving them privacy. For example, dogs are den animals and need time away from loud house guests or when feeling overwhelmed or stressed. Ensure there are plenty of spaces where your pup can go when they need some alone time. Try creating a crate or doggy bed in another room that he may use as an escape from attention or just to take a relaxing nap.

Cats are great company, but just as with a pet parent, they sometimes need some space. Letting your feline have that time away from you can help strengthen the bond between you. Homes should have spaces for kitties to nap and be alone. However, use an area where they can feel hidden but still see what's going on in the room. Their curiosity will be satisfied without being too isolated from everything else around them.

Respecting your four-legged companion's needs for a safe space, a napping spot, or a place to destress is an integral part of the strong bond you have with them.

A cat is petted under the chin.

2. Touch with purpose.

You can build a closer relationship with your furkid by purposefully petting them. The more you give your dogs more attention when grooming them, the better. It's not good enough to just stroke their head once in a while --- they need our complete focus when we pet them. This one-on-one time is vital to support a healthy relationship with your furry friend.

When you pat your dog, take the time to focus on them and see where they enjoy being touched most. Does your pup like getting his ears scratched? Does he flop on the ground for belly rubs or a chest rub? Most dogs like being petted in these areas, as it recalls how their mother groomed them when they were puppies. Take the time to find out your dog's likes, and the contact between you will relieve stress and make you happy.

The best way to stroke a cat is when it enjoys the petting and never for too long. Make sure you watch for signs that your kitty may be uncomfortable or trying to get away. Many cats prefer to be patted around the forehead, face, and ears. Strokes that are long and drawn out don't feel natural to felines. However, people often do something when they're affectionate with their kitties.

Consider taking some time to cuddle as well. The bond between humans and their pets can be strengthened when they're together doing something. Cuddling on the couch, sitting next to each other while watching TV, or lying down for quality nap time are ideal ways to spend time together.

A man and his dog hike in a forest.

Go on a new adventure.

Like people, pets can get bored with the same old routines every day. After a while, dogs (or cats) will get tired of the walks they take all the time. You probably will, too! A great way to connect more deeply with your furkid is to break out of the humdrum walk routine and go on a trip.

Get your dogs out of the house and into new surroundings. Take them on a road trip to explore something different and practice how to train your dog. Get up close with nature by taking a vacation or spending time outdoors at parks, beaches, or trails. You and your dogs can enjoy yourselves without worry. These places offer many ways to strengthen your bond with your dogs without falling back on the predictable, everyday walk.

Inspiring your indoor kitties to have a sense of adventure will make them happier, but it's also good for their mental health. You can craft castles out of cardboard boxes or create peek-a-boo tunnels in which they'll be thrilled to play with you. Why not refill your cat's favorite toy with some food, treats, or fresh catnip? A simple action like upgrading your kitty's toys or offering intriguing new food can promote a stronger bond between you and your feline.

A woman and her cat look lovingly at each other.

Communicate consistently and positively.

We all know that positive communication is the key to a strong relationship. It's an essential part of strengthening your bond with any person or animal in our lives. Communication needs to be based on trust. Establishing that connection with your animal friend means rules and staying consistent with them.

By setting rules for behavior, you teach your furkids about respect and expectations. Your furkid will know what is expected of them without guessing what you mean. Their trust in you will deepen as their place in the family pack will be clearly understood, and they will not become stressed or anxious wondering what you want from them.

Consistently communicating via positive training and positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to show a pet that you care for them. This goal can be achieved by giving your pet a treat when they listen well, engaging in physical contact with affectionate gestures, and praising them verbally. Always pay attention to the pet's body language, and respect when your furkid wants to be left alone.

A dog looks up happily at his owner.

Spend quality time playing together.

Connecting with your furkid is the foundation of bonding with them. To feel a strong connection, a dog or cat needs to be involved in your life and share their experiences with you. Taking your pup to the dog park or turning on a cat toy for your feline does not increase the bond with your pet. You are not engaging in this time with them; you're just an observer.

Quality time means giving your pet your undivided attention. Instead of being busy on your smartphone, tune in to your furkid and what they feel. At the same time, your dog walks, confused, next to you.

For a dog, consider what instinctually drives them. If your dog likes to fetch, chase, and catch, set up a DIY obstacle course in your yard so you both can play. As creatures of instinct, felines will be more likely to play with string toys where you engage them from the other end of the toy. These irresistible yet straightforward pieces draw out your kitty's natural predatory instincts, making for an entertaining game and strong bonding moment between you. The greater understanding you have about your pet's individual personality, the more positive experience both you and your furkid will have together.

A border collie jumps over an obstacle with her owner by her side.

Learn a new sport or give back to the community.

Your dog will love you even more if they take part in agility training. Their owner must navigate them through courses designed to test the pup's behavior, exercise ability, stamina, and quickness. You and your dog need excellent communication skills and a deep bond to be successful. Look for local groups or facilities that offer canine sports lessons and activities. These sports aren't just for the dogs, though! Cats can take part in agility and obstacle course training, which can build trust and strengthen your bond with your kitty.

Want a hobby that will make your pet and you feel good while giving back to your community? Get certified with your furkid to help those in need! Certification as an animal-assisted therapy team allows you both to volunteer at hospitals, schools, and disaster relief sites. Even cats can learn to be certified therapy pets, so get your feline involved in the fun. You will become closer and happy as you work together to bring love to people in need.

A woman hugs her retriever at sunset.

Protect that bond with pet insurance.

You and your pet have a special relationship like no other. When you bond with your dog or cat, it's the best feeling! That's why you want to do everything you can to protect your pet and that bond.

The best way to be prepared for any emergency is by purchasing a pet health insurance policy. Your pet will have access to high-quality vet care, while you won't have to worry about how to afford the bills. Pet Insurance Review can find the best policies for your furkid's medical situation and your budget. Get your free quote today and peace of mind tomorrow knowing your best furry friend is protected.

References:

  1. Everhart Veterinary Medicine. (2019). How to Create a Safe and Comfortable Living Space for Your Pet at Home. Retrieved from https://www.everhartvet.com/blog/how-to-create-a-safe-and-comfortable-living-space-for-your-pet-at-home/
  2. Cooperman, J. (2021). How to Pet a Dog (It's Not That Simple). Retrieved from https://www.thewildest.com/dog-behavior/dog-petting-lessons
  3. Miller, D. (2020). 35 Unique Summer Adventures for Dog Owners. Retrieved from https://topdogtips.com/summer-adventures-dogs/
  4. Jonasson, E. (2021). The Importance of Effective Communication With Your Pets. Retrieved from https://4excalibur.medium.com/the-importance-of-effective-communication-with-your-pets-e45b8dcd6c6e
  5. Gilbert, S. (2022). Best Games to Play with Your Dog or Cat. Retrieved from https://www.zoetispetcare.com/blog/article/best-games-play-dog-cat
  6. Stregowski, J. (2019). Top 10 Dogs Sports. Retrieved from https://www.thesprucepets.com/top-dog-sports-1118567
  7. OVRS Staff. (2019). 5 Unusual Sports Involving Pets. Retrieved from https://www.ovrs.com/blog/sports-involving-pets/
  8. Petco. (2022). Therapy Dog Certification and Training. Retrieved from https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/c/pet-therapy-certification
  9. Hunter-Frederick, A. (2022). Training Cats to Become Therapy Cats. Retrieved from https://iaabcjournal.org/training-cats-to-become-therapy-cats/