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Building A Bond of Trust: Why Helping Your Dog Feel Safe Matters



When I think of what I want my relationship with my dogs to be, a song that comes to mind is Bruno Mars’ “Count On Me”.

Lyrics:

“You can count on me like one, two, three. I’ll be there. And I know when I need it, I can count on you like four, three, two. And you’ll be there. Cause that’s what friends are suppossed to do”.


The world we live in can be quite frightening and dangerous for our dogs. We are our dogs safe harbor and anchor and part of being a responisble and good dog guardian is doing eveything we can to provide them with safety, security, and comfort.


What are the benefits of our dogs feeling more safe and secure?


-Improves mental and physical well-being. When dogs feel safe, they can experience less stress, anxiety, and worry. This leads to a stronger immune system, better sleep, and overall happier and healthier lives.


-It helps them to shift out of surivial mode, learn healthier and better coping skills, and to look to you for guidance and direction.


-Trust and security are the foundation of any good relationship. When your dog feels safe with you, they are more likely to be open, playful, and affectionate. This deepens the bond you share and makes communication and training easier.


-They are more confident and receptive to training, making them easier to live with and enjoy interactions with the world around them.


-Dogs are social creatures who crave acceptance and belonging. By making your home a safe haven for your dog, you fulfill their basic need for security and give them a strong sense of belonging with you.


-Encourages positive behavior: Dogs who feel secure are less likely to exhibit destructive behaviors like chewing, barking, or anxious peeing. They are more confident and receptive to training, making them easier to live with and enjoy interactions with the world around them.


-Provides a sense of belonging: Dogs are social creatures who crave acceptance and belonging. By making your home a safe haven for your dog, you fulfill their basic need for security and give them a strong sense of belonging with you.


-Reduces fear and anxiety: For dogs who have experienced trauma or have fears, feeling safe with you is crucial to how they experience and process the world and ultimately, their overall health and well-being. Your reassuring presence helps them overcome anxieties and allows them to explore the world with confidence.




Here are some ways you can help your dog feel safe:


  • Create a predictable routine. Dogs can thrive on consistency. Establishing regular exercise, mealtimes, and bedtime routines provides a sense of stability and predictability.

  • Provide safe spaces that are always available to them. Make sure your dog has a quiet, comfortable place where they can retreat and feel undisturbed. This could be a crate, a dog bed, or even a specific corner of the house.

  • Practice positive reinforcement. Reward your dog for good behavior and avoid harsh punishments. This promotes trust and builds confidence in your relationship. You can’t be safe and unsafe at the same time. How you inteact with your dog matters for long term success.

  • Stay calm and patient. Dogs pick up on human emotions. Showing calmness and patience during stressful situations will help your dog stay calm and feel secure.

  • Socialize your dog and explore the world together. Introduce your dog to new people and environments in a positive way, slowly, and on their terms. Do not force anything and pay attention to what your dog is telling you. This helps them build confidence and reduces fear of the unknown.

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