Recognize the bond between humans and dogs

The bond between man and dog creates a trusting social relationship, i.e. a kind of friendship between animal and owner. It is not easy to recognize in all dogs, because not all four-legged friends are human-related due to their breed-typical dispositions. A strong bond between man and dog is characterized by trust and the feeling of security - Shutterstock / DuxX

Through evolutionary adaptation, breeding and socialization, a kind of partnership between humans and dogs has developed over the years. A good bond with the human partner is beneficial for the four-legged friends and we humans also benefit from it if we engage in 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 humans and dogs: what is that?

The attachment theory is a psychological thesis that was 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 mother's behavior towards her child and vice versa, have a great influence on the child's later development. For example, behavioral problems can be attributed to a disturbed mother-child bond. According to Bowlby, children with a secure bond with their caregiver can adequately regulate proximity and distance to them; that is, they are happy when their caregiver is present, but still behave normally and calmly when they leave the room.

There are also three different types of attachment where the relationship with the caregiver is disturbed:
Uncertainty avoiding binding: The children / dogs often play on their own and don't seem to care whether their caregiver is present or not. They avoid contact and act independently, even if they suffer from stress internally.
Uncertain ambivalent bond: The children / dogs are extremely afraid of separation, they are deeply unsettled, react fearfully to the point of panic when their caregiver leaves the room. If she is present, the children / dogs either cling to her or behave dismissively to aggressively.
Disorganized bond: The children / dogs appear confused and show strange behaviors, such as stereotypical movements (turning in a circle or chasing their own tail) or freezing.

Mixed types from the disturbed bond types can also appear. The dog researchers and book authors Heinz Weidt and Dina Berlowitz were the first to transfer the attachment theory to the human-dog relationship. According to them, a secure bond is an emotional state that is characterized by security and security. It is part of a vital system.

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Attachment to people is expressed in different ways

In some dog breeds that have been bred to work with people or to keep them company, a secure bond seems to be easily recognizable. They show a clear orientation towards their caregiver, always reassure themselves of their presence and consent before doing something and like to cuddle on the sofa. When people come home from work, they are very happy, but also do not suffer from separation anxiety when they are away. Herding dogs like the Australian Shepherd, companion dogs like the Maltese or some hunting dogs like the Labrador or Golden Retriever typically show their affection for their favorite person so openly.

However, there are now dog breeds that were bred for independence and independence from humans. These include herd guard dogs like the Caucasian Owtscharka, some hunting dogs like the Dachshund or Fox Terrier as well as guard dogs like the Doberman or Rottweiler. They too can develop a secure bond with their owner, they just do not necessarily show them as clearly and effusively as the dog breeds, whose main task is to keep their people company, or who have a pronounced "will to please" (will to please) is grown. Their signs that they trust their caregiver and feel safe with them are far more subtle. Sometimes they seem stubborn and idiosyncratic, but they also develop a secure bond with their people if they are kept appropriately. It can be recognized, for example, by the fact that the dog behaves relaxed when it is close to its owner. In conflicts and stressful situations, even a less clingy four-legged friend will orientate himself on his human partner if the trust is right.

Important: Every dog ​​is always an individual with its own character, so it can happen that a representative of a breed of dog bred for cooperation and human orientation is rather reserved and headstrong, and a four-legged friend bred for independence likes to cuddle on the sofa.

Establish a secure bond with the dog

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