Everyone wants to build an incredible bond with their dog. Owning an Australian Shepherd can be a beautiful thing, as these dogs are extremely loyal and want to be close to their owners.
However, this bond does not necessarily come naturally. You will have to put some work into it if you want to be designated as your dog’s favorite person.
You can increase your bond with your Australian Shepherd by spending intentional time with activities like training, grooming, exercising, and playing.
Learning more about your dog can help to improve your relationship. Keep in mind that Aussies can be very affectionate with their favorite person.
If you think that you are ready to improve the bond with your dog, here are a few key ways that you can get started.
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10 Ways to Bond with Your Australian Shepherd
Bonding with your dog doesn’t have to be difficult. It will require a time commitment from you as you invest in this important relationship with your canine.
These top ten ways to bond with your dog should help you to uncover new depths in this important relationship.
1. Train Your Australian Shepherd
Training your dog is important if you want an obedient dog, but doing it yourself can improve the bond you have with your Australian Shepherd.
You can teach them anything from basic leash walking to more complex tricks like playing dead or rolling over. This type of work exercises your dog’s brain and gives you an excuse to praise him and reward him with tasty snacks or toys.
If you aren’t sure where to start with training your dog on your own, you can easily watch videos on YouTube to get a few ideas. You can even take him to a group class at a local pet store to help get you started.
Once you understand the basics of teaching your dog something new, you can apply those tips to work you perform solo at home.
2. Spend Intentional Time Playing
There are times when your dog may think you are playing with them, even if you aren’t. If you want to build a strong bond with your Aussie, you need to intentionally spend time playing with them.
You can play whatever game your dog prefers whether that means tug, chase, or agility. Make sure that you are fully present with your dog. This encourages them to keep playing and building that bond with you.
The bonus is that a dog who is tired is often a well-behaved dog. Australian Shepherds have a lot of energy to expel, so playtime can be a necessity.
3. Exercise Together
As mentioned earlier, Australian Shepherds have a lot of energy. One way that you can bond with your dog is by exercising together. Go for a jog around the neighborhood.
Explore the trails at your local park. Maybe you can even take a bike ride with your pup.
No matter what type of exercise you prefer to do, invite your Aussie along for the ride.
See Also: How to Exercise an Australian Shepherd – 6 Unique Exercises to Try
4. Choose Clear Communication
All dogs can benefit from clear communication from their owners. They need their owners to be consistent with the cues and reactions they give. This applies to the training you do with your dog as well as the everyday behaviors you expect from them.
Use your body language to clearly communicate with your pup. Most dogs will recognize your hand signals and body cues before they learn your verbal prompts.
Make sure that you are always giving them the same cues each time you want them to do something. This clear communication leads to a better understanding between you which will ultimately strengthen your bond.
5. Keep Calm
Yelling and losing your temper with your dog can damage the bond between you. It signals to your Australian Shepherd that you may be unreliable when you are upset.
Even if your emotional reaction is not directed toward them, it can be scary for your canine. When you are around your dog, do your best to always keep calm.
This tip also applies to when your dog is in trouble. While you can still give a consequence like a time out, your bond with your dog is damaged when you shout.
Think of it this way. If your Australian Shepherd runs away from you at the dog park and you yell at them to return to you, your dog isn’t likely to come running back.
They will be too scared of how you might react if they get too close. On the other hand, you can persuade them to return to you with calm behavior and positivity to strengthen your bond.
6. Learn Body Language
Your Australian Shepherd can’t communicate with you verbally, but they are still telling you how they feel through their body language.
With a little training, you can identify when your dog is anxious or upset. Knowing how your dog feels allows you to remedy the situation when your pup feels out of place or uncertain.
Your Aussie will come to appreciate the fact that you always protect her from scary situations.
7. Groom Your Australian Shepherd Regularly
Physical contact with your dog improves your relationship with them and can even lower their stress levels. Australian Shepherds also have long, thick coats that need regular grooming.
While you could hire someone else to do the hard work, grooming your dog yourself can strengthen your bond.
Touching your dog, even with a brush, is thought to lower stress hormones and increases the level of oxytocin (also known as the love hormone).
Not to mention, regular grooming will keep your Aussie looking fresh for far longer and at a lower cost than hiring a groomer.
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8. Massage Your Aussie
Grooming your dog is one way to increase your physical contact with them. However, not all dogs enjoy a good brushing. Some dogs still want that physical affection though.
If you want to build a better bond with your Australian Shepherd, spend some time massaging them. Make small, gentle circles with your fingertips over their chest, neck, and hindquarters.
There isn’t much science behind whether massage really works, but it can definitely be an enjoyable experience for you and your dog.
They will appreciate the focused one-on-one time and the rubdown may even prove to lower their stress levels.
9. Have a Conversation
Now that many people are working from home, how often do you go without talking? Having a conversation with your dog can help to build up your relationship.
They may not understand what you are saying, but they do recognize that you are talking to them. You can work out a few problems that you might be having with a coworker.
You can read them a passage from your favorite book. No matter how you decide to approach talking to your dog, they will love to hear your voice.
10. Know Likes and Dislikes
Perhaps the best way to build a bond with your Australian Shepherd is to understand their likes and dislikes.
This allows you to reward them in a meaningful way when they are well-behaved. It means that you can play their favorite games with them and practice performing their favorite tricks.
When you leave a puzzle toy stuffed with food, it can be high-value rewards that they find particularly tasty.
It should go without saying that knowing what your dog does and does not like is key to building the bond between you. Otherwise, you might be inadvertently making your dog miserable by only offering him things he dislikes.
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How Do Australian Shepherds Show Affection?
Australian Shepherds can be quite affectionate with their owner, especially if you have taken the time to build up your bond. Understanding what to look for can help you know if you are on the right track.
One of the first signs that your Australian Shepherd loves you is physical affection. They might nudge you with their nose to prompt you to pet them.
An affectionate Aussie might also lick your hands, place a paw on you, or press their body against you. It might even take the form of consistent eye contact.
When your Aussie chooses to be physically near you, it is a sign that you are doing something right.
Exposing their belly to you is another key indicator that you have a strong bond with your dog. This is a sign that they not only love you, but that they trust you as well.
It is a very vulnerable position for your dog to be in. Be sure to praise them and reward them with a good belly rub.
Another sign of affection is that they bring their toys to you. This indicates that they are choosing you to play with them. While they love to play all the time, they don’t necessarily love to play with everyone.
Take it as a high compliment if your pup chooses to play with you.
Do Australian Shepherds Have a Favorite Person?
Australian Shepherds are extremely loyal dogs. This makes them great companions, but they do not necessarily make excellent family dogs.
Instead of bonding with everyone in the family, Aussies are more likely to bond with just one person. While they may be friendly with everyone in the family, they will make their preferences for one person known rather clearly.
If your pup is not well socialized to other people, they may even be a bit wary around others. They do not like to be alone and prefer to be with their favorite person the majority of the time.
How Do You Tell if Your Aussie Loves You?
In addition to the ways that your Aussie may show affection toward you, there are a few other key behaviors that indicate that your Aussie loves you.
The first is that he or she may offer you protection. Whether you are home or not, a dog who loves you is likely to protect you and your home. They may stalk the perimeter or gaze out the window while you are gone to ensure that no one gets in.
They may also be very excitable when you return. A dog who loves you is likely to greet you with a few kisses and some tail wags. It means that they are glad you are alright and are pleased to see you return to them.
A committed canine companion is also likely to follow you around. If you are staying home, then they might follow you from room to room. If you are out and about, they are likely to keep pace with you on a walk.
Even at the dog park, they might stay relatively close or come back to check in with you while they play.
Read Also: 9 Things to Know Before Getting an Australian Shepherd
Building a Stronger Relationship with Your Dog
Australian Shepherds are loyal to a fault. They will love spending extra time with you no matter how you go about bonding with them.
Teach them a few new tricks, brush their coat, or simply give them a quick massage. Your dog is dying to bond with you and spend quality time with you!
Why are Aussies so clingy?
Australian Shepherds are known for wanting a deep bond and relationship with their owners. They crave that type of companionship with their favorite person.
Additionally, they are also high-energy dogs which means they want to be in the center of all the action. They always want to be included in what you have going on.
This sometimes gives owners the impression that their pups are a bit clingy.