Why was the book and movie Marley and Me such a hit? It told a compelling story of a deeply felt human-dog bond. This story of a family and Marley, their beloved Golden Retriever, joined a long history of stories centering on that canine-human bond. All have been based on the special experience of connecting with dogs and training them based on that bond.
Dogs Instincts for Human Bond
Over centuries of evolution of their brains, dogs acquired an ability to pick up cues from humans that other animals do not have. Dogs are animals, and their intelligence level varies among breeds, but all seem to have an instinctive ability to read humans, to interpret from gestures what owners want them to do.
Bond with Dog for Companionship
A rewarding companionship between dog and owner must be based on their strong bond. The bond can be formed at any stage of a dog’s life. It can happen with a puppy or an older dog, even if the dog has had several owners.
Dogs will bond with all family members, but only on a one-to-one basis, and usually will be strongest with one individual. The only way that bond can be formed is through genuine, consistent affection for the dog.
How to Form a Bond With a Dog
Include the dog in day to day life. A true bond won’t likely be created when a dog is shut away for most of the day and has very little human interaction, even at the end of the day.
Spending time together in different ways is important. Walking in the park, taking in local events, playing fetch, and sitting quietly together are good options.
Learn to read the dog’s body language and respond accordingly. For example, if the dog is upset or afraid of another dog, observe the dog’s movements and avoid the situation by leading the dog away.
Strong Bond the Basis for Successful Dog Training
When a strong human bond is established, obedience training has a far greater chance of success. Remember, each dog has its own personality, so its ability and its willingness to be trained will differ. Dogs show an exceptional ability to recognize words and tone of voice. Even so, patience is required, because training doesn’t happen overnight. Keep these dog training guidelines in mind:
- Be consistent.
- Give clear, concise commands.
- Give one command at a time and be sure always to reward compliance.
- Use your dog’s name when giving a command.
- Always initiate activity. You’re the leader.
- Finish any training activity with a bit of fun to leave your dog wanting more.
Building a solid bond with a dog and enjoy a wonderful companionship and other benefits that will endure for years, especially if training is built on that bond.
The Call of the Wild, a Classic Dog Story
No story of a dog’s bond with his master tops Jack London’s book, The Call of the Wild. Buck, a St. Bernard/Collie, is doted on by his master in a bond of companionship and affection. Stolen from this home, then sold as a sled dog in the frozen Yukon Territory, Buck uses all his survival instincts to endure the remote, frozen outreaches of civilization and the rivalry of the pack. The story’s dramatic conclusion shows that Buck’s bond of deep devotion to his master never dies.