If you recently adopted a dog, you might be wondering if they’re bonded to you. Some dogs may be so grateful to be adopted that they’ll bond to you almost immediately. Other dogs are shy or may have had a rough life prior to meeting you, so they may take a little longer to warm up. Even if your dog doesn’t seem bonded to you yet, don’t fret – humans and dogs have created strong, long-lasting bonds for centuries, and with work and patience you and your dog will too! Here are 5 signs that your dog is bonded to you.
#1 – They Don’t Try To Race Out The Door
If your dog is bonded to you, they will be curious about the outside, but they’re less likely to dash out the door every time you open it in a desperate attempt to get far away. They should mind you when you tell them to sit and stay before opening the door. Training good door behavior is also a great way for your dog to meet visitors. If being close to you is more of a reward and comfort than whatever is outside or a reaction from guests, your dog will probably stay put.
Of course, dogs with high prey drives may bolt out of the door if they see a squirrel or bird whether they’re bonded to you or not. No one knows your dog like you do, so you’ll know whether your dog loves a good chase more than a couch cuddle. Don’t take it personally if he’d rather go for a run.
#2 – They Rest Their Head On You
Not all dogs enjoy a full-on snuggle fest, but if your dog rests their head on your lap or foot, that’s a sure sign that they trust you and are bonded to you. Furthermore, if your dog seeks you out for a snuggle when he’s scared, it’s a good sign that he’s bonded to you and considers wherever you are to be safe. Giving a cuddle when he’s scared could be considered rewarding fearful behavior, but even just being in your presence and seeing you remain calm can teach him that there’s nothing to be fear.
#3 – They Give Your Puppy Dog Eyes
A dog that isn’t bonded to you may not look at you much at all, especially if they’re frightened. But a dog who loves you is more likely to cast his gaze your way and be more expressive when you’re around.
Researchers studying dog’s facial expressions noticed that dogs tend to raise their eyebrows – a facial expression commonly known as “puppy dog eyes” when the people they love are facing them. They believe dogs may make these faces on purpose, based on the positive reaction they get from us. They do it because they know we love it! You’ll know your dog is bonded to you when they give you those giant puppy dog eyes filled with love and affection. Instant heart melt.
#4 – They Miss You
Does your dog get excited when you come home? An indifferent dog won’t care whether or not you’re home. However, bonded dog will jump for joy every time they see you. Some dogs will even miss you during the length of time it takes you to shower!
Some dogs may also act out if they become too dependent on your presence for comfort. Dogs with separation anxiety may become destructive when you’re gone. Learn more about separation anxiety and how to help your dog cope with it by reading Your Dog And Separation Anxiety: What You Can Do To Help.
#5 – They Mind You
Training can be difficult, and some dog breeds are more stubborn than others. However, a dog that is truly bonded to you will try really hard to learn what you expect of them. They will follow the rules the best they know how. A well-trained, bonded dog will walk by your side instead of pulling on the leash. They’ll come when called. They live to please you.
In fact, many dogs will prefer being praised and pet by someone they love more than receiving treats during training. Next time you work with your dog, try ditching the treats. You may find they prefer your praise and love over them.
Creating A Bond
If you and your rescued dog haven’t bonded yet, don’t fret. Time will help build your dog’s trust and love for you. Provide a consistent environment full of love and support. Isn’t that what we all truly want anyway?
You can start building your bond by working out a routine and sticking with it. Regular feeding, exercise, bedtimes, etc. will help show your dog that you’re reliable. A little regularity will go a long way to earning your dog’s trust. Spending time playing, snuggling, and just being around will also help you bond with your dog.
Most importantly, don’t rush it. Nothing will help your bond more than patience and letting your dog come around in his own time.