Recognize the bond between human and dog

The bond between man and dog ensures a trusting social relationship, ie a kind of friendship between animal and owner. It is not easily recognizable in all dogs, because not all four-legged friends are humanely dependent on their breed-typical predispositions.

Through evolutionary adaptation, breeding and socialization, a kind of partnership between man and dog has developed over the years. A good bond with the human partner is beneficial for the four-legged friends and we humans benefit from it, if we engage in the animal friendship - a clear example of this are therapy dogs. But how can you tell that your dog trusts you and feels safe with you?

Bond between man and dog: what is it?

Attachment Theory is a psychological thesis developed, among others, by the British child psychiatrist John Bowlby to analyze the early mother-child relationship. He and his colleagues assumed that the nature of the relationship, as well as the behavior of the mother towards her child and vice versa, have a major impact on the subsequent development of the child. For example, behavioral problems may be due to a disturbed mother-child attachment. According to Bowlby, children with a secure attachment to their caregiver can adequately regulate closeness and distance to it; that is, they are happy when their caregiver is present, but still behave normally and calmly when they leave the room.

In addition, there are three different bond types in which the relationship to the caregiver is disturbed:

● Uncertain avoidance: The children / dogs often play on their own and do not seem to care if their caregiver is present or not. They avoid contact and work independently, even when they are suffering from stress internally.

● Uncertain ambivalent attachment: The children / dogs show extreme separation anxiety, they are deeply insecure, they are anxious and panicked when their caregiver leaves the room. If she is present, the children / dogs either cling to her or behave repellent to aggressive.

● Disorganized attachment: The children / dogs appear confused and show strange behaviors, such as stereotypical movements (turning in circles or chasing their own tail) or freezing.

It can also be mixed types from the disturbed bond types appear in appearance. The dog researchers and book authors Heinz Weidt and Dina Berlowitz were the first to transfer the attachment theory to the human-dog relationship. A secure bond is, according to them, a feeling that is characterized by security and security. It is part of a vital system.

Binding to humans manifests itself in different ways

In some dog breeds that have been bred to cooperate with or to associate with humans, a secure bond seems easy to recognize. They show a clear orientation to their caregiver, always reassure themselves about their presence and their consent before they do anything and like to cuddle up on the sofa. When a person comes home from work, they are happy, but they do not suffer from separation anxiety when they are away. Shepherds like the Australian Shepherd, society dogs like the Maltese or some hunting dogs like the Labrador or Golden Retriever typically show their affection for the favorite human being so openly.

However, there are also dog breeds that have been bred for self-reliance and independence from humans. These include herding dogs such as the Caucasian Owtscharka, some hunting dogs such as the Dachshund or Fox Terrier and watchdogs such as the Doberman or Rottweiler. They too can develop a secure bond with their owner, they just do not necessarily show it as clearly and effusively as the dog breeds, whose main task is to keep their people company, or to whom a pronounced "will to please" (will to please) is bred. Their signs that they trust their caregiver and feel safe with them are far more subtle. Partially, they seem stubborn and idiosyncratic, but they also develop a secure attachment to their human with a species-appropriate attitude. It can be recognized, for example, from the fact that the dog behaves relaxed when he is near his owner. In conflict and stressful situations, even a less affectionate four-legged friend will orient himself to his human partner, if the trust is right.

Important: Each dog is always an individual with its own character, so it may well happen that a representative of a dog breed bred for cooperation and human relations is rather cautious and idiosyncratic, and a self-bred four-legged friend likes to cuddle on the sofa.

Make sure bond to the dog

So do not go crazy if your dog is not cuddly and seems to have his own head. The main thing is that you are a loyal, reliable partner to your four-legged friend, who offers him security and security. Such a secure bond can be achieved through clear rules, consequences in education, communication and behavior as well as a suitable training with the right reward.

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