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How to Build a Strong Relationship with Your Pet

How to Build a Strong Relationship with Your Pet

By Rachel Dickinson, Behavior and Enrichment Coordinator

Stay Positive

Using positive reinforcement training methods is not only the safest way to train your pet, but it also builds a strong bond.

Bring your patience

Animals will learn at their own pace, getting frustrated or rushing them to learn a new skill before they’re ready will only set you both up for failure and frustration.

Be Consistent

Practice makes perfect and consistency leads to success! Don’t expect your pet to perform a trick or skill when you haven’t practiced it in a long time. Ehem…algebra anyone?

Build Trust

Whenever I’m asked what’s the most important thing to teach your cat or dog, I always respond with, “trust!” Trust allows your pet to try new things and feel safe!

Set your pet up for success

If you’re teaching your pet a new skill, set them up for success by making things easy and only increasing the difficulty when they’re showing that they’re comfortable and responding to the cue reliably. If you’re teaching your dog the “leave it” cue, don’t start off by asking them to ignore a large steak. Start with something small and easy, like a less-appealing food item. I usually use a boring treat that most dogs would describe as, “meh.” If you’re teaching your cat to high-five, don’t ask them to practice the trick when you’re hosting a birthday party for your dog and his canine pals.


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