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How to Bond with Your Dog: Following my Dogs Lead

“When obedience was emphasized above all else, the bond was sacrificed and the partnership inevitably suffered.”-Jennifer Arnold




How to Bond with Your dog: Following My Dogs Lead

Walk?” “Outside?” “Doggie Park?” I say any of these things and my dog will go from afternoon nap to ready at the door in two seconds. Everyday I look forward to the time when I can take my Dog for a walk. Some Days, we need to do a fast walk due to lack of time. But usually I will try to set a good amount of time so my Dog can explore. She comes from a shelter and was a highly anxious rescue dog, so I do my best to help her create happy memories.

I like to let her sniff around, Of course if she goes somewhere she shouldn't I will gently guide her away

She usually finds where the other dogs have been. My dog likes to sniff and wander through the trees. If there is no one else around while we are out on the trail, I'll take off the leash and let her walk around free a little bit.She will pick her favorite tree and sniff, she will go up to the river and see if there is anything that interests her. Her nose leads the way for us both.I will let her choose which trail to take and what direction. She will watch the birds fly and the squirrels run around. If I find an interesting flower, I will make eye contact and show her. I'll tell her why I like it so much. If a person along the trail asks to pet her I read her cues to see if she is ready to make a new friend. We will drink water together and eat our snacks.



I didn’t realize that what I was doing with my dog was a bond based approach. On a cold and rainy day I found myself in the library looking for interesting new reads. I found a book called Love is all you need by Jennifer Arnold.

She uses a relationship based approach to get service dogs ready. She sees dogs as their own being, and that the relationship between human and dog should be more of a friendship. In her book Arnold writes about how Dogs trained with positive reinforcements only, have stress because there is so much pressure to make their human happen. “When obedience was emphasized above all else, the bond was sacrificed and the partnership inevitably suffered.”


I thought that was interesting because her view of dogs is similar to how highly sensitive people see their dogs and other animals. We do not like to dominate our dogs through bully tactics but rather treat them as part of the family. It's a connection of friendship. They have their own feelings and cognitive processes even if they are not the same as us humans.


I enjoy taking my dog to the dog bakery and have her pick out her favorite treats. I want her to know that she is cared for. She will usually want a peanut butter treat but she is not too terribly picky. Little did I know it's those simple things that make all the difference for my rescue pup. My husband and I knew how poorly she was treated, and we don’t want her to ever feel like her humans are out to control every part of her life. Are we responsible for her? Yes! Does she depend on us? Yes. But my husband and I are Highly Sensitive people so we also care what she “thinks”. Our dog has two beds. One circle and one square. We let her choose which one she wants to use during the day.



In the book Love is all you need I learned how much the importance of choice is. It gives the dogs a sense of control, the ability to make choices is super important for a dogs well being.

There are times when they need to make their own choices like when they are home alone, or when they notice someone at the door and you don’t.


The foundation for a happy life with a well mannered dog is a strong connection between the two of you. The relationship needs to be at the forefront of every interaction.

I knew my Dog needed love but I didn’t know that letting her pick whether she wanted her ball or rope toy would ease her anxiety and strengthen our bond. I want to ease her anxiety as much as possible because I am one of the millions of Americans that struggle with Anxiety. So much research has gone into


I didn’t know that scratching and snuggling was key to laying a good foundation for our relationship.


Anyone can fall easily into the trap of not letting out dogs think or make their own small choices. After all, our furry friends rely on us so much for everything. They could not survive on their own without their human families.


So if you are a highly sensitive Person you likely already have a connection to your dog that is relationship based. And I want to let you know that you are on the right track. It is scientifically better for you and the Dog for the bond to be the focus and not so much control. There are people who will disagree with you. Perhaps your own family and friends. But a better quality friendship between you and your Dog is totally Worth it!.


Thank you so much for reading my article. If you enjoyed this one check out my other article about how do dogs help with anxiety. Leave a comment and say hi!



Hi! I am Paulie D. from Notes from My Hammock. I write about living authentically, mindfulness, wellness, and self-expression.






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