We love our dogs and they love us. Humans and dogs have shared a special bond for thousands of years. Just think about it: two completely different species decided to get together and evolve together in a symbiotic fashion. It’s truly amazing. And, quite honestly, we humans are the lucky ones.

The bond you share with your canine companion plays out in your home every day. It’s a key relationship in your life just like your important relationships with other humans.

Could your bond with your dog be even stronger?

Maybe. As with any relationship, it’s important to work on the special bond you share with your dog by putting in the time and effort to understand each other and spend quality time together. When you do, you both get a happier and funner (is that a word?) life together.

Why work on your personal human-canine relationship?

So true!

I’m guessing you work and/or take care of kids, do chores and have tons of other obligations. I get it. I work with dogs and still need to remind myself sometimes to make quality time for Jake (my own canine BFF). Our dogs are so patient with us and try so hard to please us that putting a bit of attention into making them feel special becomes a no-brainer.

Plus, the rewards are beyond measure!

So, here are 7 of my favorite – and simple – ways to reinforce that beautiful love that you share with your dog.

Choose the one or two that that most resonate with you and give ‘em a try this week.

Accept your dog for who they are. This one can be easier said than done but it will make you both so much happier I promise. Whether your dog is stoic, or silly, or brave or goofy, he’s your special BFF. He accepts you completely for who you are which makes it easier for you to go ahead and let him be himself.

Create routines. Dogs love routines (and they are good for you, too!). What are your mornings like? Do you get up at the same time, walk the dog then eat breakfast or vice versa? Your dog will appreciate doing things in the same order each morning and evening. She likes to know what to expect. It will help keep her confidence and happy which is great for you.

Cuddle together – pet your dog. Just like our human relationships, your pup wants a cuddle now and again. Rub his belly, scratch his butt, just make time to get tactile. Snuggle on the couch and watch a movie together on a rainy day. Studies show it lowers your blood pressure and stress levels and I’m sure it does the same for your BFF.

Jake & I having a relaxing cuddle!

Try a new route on your next walk. Dogs love routine but they are also capable of getting bored – and a bored dog is often a destructive dog – so save your slippers and go in the other direction next time you head out for a walk. A fun thing to do is to let your dog decide the route. Let her lead the way at the next corner and see where she takes you. If your dog tends to pull when you walk together, download our free ebook on how to put an end to that pulling quickly and easily.

Another great walk related tip is leave the headphones at home. Really experience the walk together. Hear the birds together or the rustling of a squirrel in a tree. Get familiar with the sounds that attract your dog. Are there sounds that excite him, scare him or make him want to turn around? Try to experience the walk from your pup’s point of view and see what a different world it can be. As mentioned above, if you need help getting your pup to walk on leash without pulling, grab this resource!

Play together. Your cuddling and walking, now add in some fun play sessions. Fetch or tug are great or invent your own game. My dog loves me to chase him around the yard. He’s even gentleman enough to stop and wait when I lag behind!

Nothing but the best!

Feed quality food. There’s been too much in the news lately about dog food recalls for anyone’s comfort. On top of that there are a ton of different philosophies around raw diets or all homemade food. Do a bit of research and ask your vet for recommendations based on your dog’s health, age and activity level. You don’t have to spend a fortune or spend hours cooking your own food either. Think about your dog’s nutritional needs the way you think about your own and come up with the healthiest balanced diet that you can.

I’m going to leave you with these seven ideas to get you started. I would LOVE to hear how it goes so please come back and share in the comments or post on our Facebook page.