Bonding with your dog - are you doing it properly?

Jones

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
Bonding with Your Dog – Are You Doing it Properly? Bonding in animal behaviour is a biological process in which individuals of the same or different species develop a connection. The function of bonding is to facilitate co-operation.

Parents and offspring develop strong bonds so that the former take care of the latter and the latter accept the teachings of the former. This serves both parties best. As a result of filial bonding, offspring and parents or foster parents develop an attachment. This serves both parties best. As a result of filial bonding, offspring and parents or foster parents develop an attachment. This attachment ceases to be important once the juvenile reaches adulthood, but may have long-term effects upon subsequent social behaviour. Among domestic dogs, for example, there is a sensitive period from the third to the tenth week of age, during which normal contacts develop. If a puppy grows up in isolation beyond about fourteen weeks of age, it will not develop normal relationships.

Males and females of social species develop strong bonds during courtship motivating them to care for their progeny, so they increase their chances of the survival of 50% of their genes.

Social animals develop bondsby living together and having to fend for their survival day after day. Grooming, playing, mutual feeding, all have a relevant role in bonding. Intense experiences do too. Between adults, surviving moments of danger together seems to be strongly bonding.

Bonding behaviour like grooming and feeding seems to release neurotransmitters (e.g., oxytocin), which lowers innate defensiveness, increasing the chances of bonding.

We often mention bonding together with imprinting. Even though imprinting is bonding, not all bonding is imprinting. Imprinting describes any type of phase-sensitive learning (learning occurring at a particular age or a specific life stage) that is rapid and (apparently) independent of the consequences of behaviour. Some animals appear to be pre -programmed to learn about certain aspects of the environment during particular sensitive phases of their development. The learning is pre-programmed in the sense that it will occur without any apparent reinforcement or punishment.

Our dogs in our domestic environments develop bonds in various ways. Grooming, resting with each other, barking together, playing and chasing intruders are strong bonding behaviours. Their bonding behaviour is by no means restricted to individuals of their own species. They bond with the family cat as well and with us, humans.

Bonding is a natural process that will inevitably happen when individuals share responsibilities. Looking into one another’s eyes is only bonding for a while, but surviving together may be bonding for life – and this applies to all social animals, dogs and humans included.

We develop stronger bonds with our dogs by doing things together rather than by just sitting and petting them. These days, we are so afraid of anything remotely connected with stress that we forget the strongest bonds ever originate under times of intense experiences. A little stress doesn’t harm anyone, quite the contrary. I see it every time I train canine scent detection. The easier it is, the quickest it will be forgotten. A tough nut to crack, on the other hand, is an everlasting memory binding the parties to one another.

I even suspect one of the reasons we have so many divorces these days is that we want everything to be easy, and oh so pleasant, that in the end, nothing is holding the two together – but that’s another story for maybe another time.

 

Laura

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Maybe it should be "bonding with pets"? I learned in the past 6 months, that grooming my kitty was a real bonding activity if it is done right. She was so against being touched or handled before I started the method, and now she asks to be groomed for a few minutes every day AND she likes to get in my lap and be held and other behaviors that she formerly avoided because she was so "anti-touch". "Don't touch me, human! I'm SOOO independent!" And now she likes it.
 

loreta

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I have a strong bond with Arturo. We play together, I talk to him, I like to put him angry sometimes, I like to make him sing like an wolf. What I like to see also in Arturo is his eyes, when he studied me. Dogs are marvelous creatures that you can bond very easily with them. Just be a little crazy and that's it. Dogs are a little crazy, don't you think? because you have to be when you decide to be the best friend of a human being.
 

Jones

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
Maybe it should be "bonding with pets"? I learned in the past 6 months, that grooming my kitty was a real bonding activity if it is done right. She was so against being touched or handled before I started the method, and now she asks to be groomed for a few minutes every day AND she likes to get in my lap and be held and other behaviors that she formerly avoided because she was so "anti-touch". "Don't touch me, human! I'm SOOO independent!" And now she likes it.
True - I've had similar experiences with cats and birds. One pet bird, when I let him out for a fly around, I could get to come to me by scratching my shoulder. He'd fly over and land on me then put his head under my hand for a scratch.

Then they can get quite demanding when they realise you know all the good spots!

Horses too. I had one old stock horse mare that used to be bothered by flies. I could keep the flies away from her eyes with a fly veil, but used to put soothing ointment on other bare skin during the worst fly seasons. There is a patch of bare skin under the base of the tail and I found out pretty quickly that she liked being rubbed there. She developed the habit of backing up to me when I went into the paddock - if you didn't know her, you'd think she was lining you up for a kick and there were quite a few that backed away from her for fear of that, but she just wanted her tail rubbed! She was pretty difficult to catch for any reason prior to that. I guess as a working mare, she'd only been caught to work a hard day in the past and she had arthritic stifles.

A percheron x thoroughbred that I had hated bot flies. They are around the size of a bee and don't typically land on or bite the horse, they just shoot their eggs out onto their hair and the larvae burrow in through the skin after the eggs hatch. There is a special comb that is used to comb these eggs off their hair. A few times when I was working with him or grooming him there would be a bot fly buzzing around and I'd kill it because he would dance around trying to escape it. After that he could come thundering up to the house, stamping his feet on the concrete step until I went out and killed the fly that was bothering him. He used to also let me know if he wanted a hose down when it was hot. He'd pick the garden hose up in his mouth and start swinging it around until I hosed him down!

It's nice to have that kind of bond and it seems to encourage the pet to try to communicate with you.

What I like to see also in Arturo is his eyes, when he studied me.
I think they are quite good at reading us, often better than we are at reading them. My sister hasn't ever really been a dog person, and didn't let my nephew and niece get one because my nephew was allergic to them. He grew out of his allergies as he got older and now they have a Jack Russell Terrier. If my sister has had a rough day at work, she typically goes and has a quick nap when she gets home and this little dog reads that as soon as she gets in the door, knows that she will nap and beats her to the bed!
 

loreta

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Since one year approximately I am a house for dogs that will be adopted. I have one dog at a time. All the dogs that come at home are sad, very very sad because they have been abandoned, and some are recovering from operations. Some have been tortured and some do not know how to play with humans or other dogs. So since one year my dogs and me are learning how to create bond with these little creatures. You accept the dog as he is and little by little create a bond, with physical communication ( caresses, gentle voice, talk) and little by little confidence comes from the dog and from you. This bond is curing the dog, curing his solitude and sadness. The dog that goes to a new family (in Germany most of the time) is not the same dog that came at home. Now the dog is able to accept this bond from another human being and also with other dogs. He has recovered his identity as a dog, his pride, his being as a dog friend of humans and other dogs.

When a new dog is smiling at me when I open the door, really smiling with my other dogs I know that he is here, all his being, that we are in contact and he can be adopted without problem.
 

Laura

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Since one year approximately I am a house for dogs that will be adopted. I have one dog at a time. All the dogs that come at home are sad, very very sad because they have been abandoned, and some are recovering from operations. Some have been tortured and some do not know how to play with humans or other dogs. So since one year my dogs and me are learning how to create bond with these little creatures. You accept the dog as he is and little by little create a bond, with physical communication ( caresses, gentle voice, talk) and little by little confidence comes from the dog and from you. This bond is curing the dog, curing his solitude and sadness. The dog that goes to a new family (in Germany most of the time) is not the same dog that came at home. Now the dog is able to accept this bond from another human being and also with other dogs. He has recovered his identity as a dog, his pride, his being as a dog friend of humans and other dogs.

When a new dog is smiling at me when I open the door, really smiling with my other dogs I know that he is here, all his being, that we are in contact and he can be adopted without problem.

It does take time to bond with a dog that's been treated badly. Sometimes it can take a couple of years of them learning the new way of being by slow, patient, example. But it is real happiness when you have one that you now remember was SUCH a basket case in the beginning, but has become, over the years, confident and playful and wants to be close to you. And you see it in their sweet eyes.
 

Ina

Jedi
I have a huge task ahead. I have to bond with my daughter’s horse, a self opinionated but sweet, 16 hands thoroughbred. She is leaving for studies abroad in 2 weeks time and I’ll be the ‘person’ to both the horse and her dog an 8 yr old St.Bernard. Lucky, both have the same temperament. May the Force be with me. 🥰
 

loreta

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I have a huge task ahead. I have to bond with my daughter’s horse, a self opinionated but sweet, 16 hands thoroughbred. She is leaving for studies abroad in 2 weeks time and I’ll be the ‘person’ to both the horse and her dog an 8 yr old St.Bernard. Lucky, both have the same temperament. May the Force be with me. 🥰
How lucky you are! What an adventure!
 
Top Bottom