What is your favorite part of the bond you have with your dog? Is the love and bond that you share with your dog (or dogs) irreplaceable? What makes it so strong? What even is it and how can you nurture it? We wondered these things because we know how happy our dogs make us, and so we partnered with Sleepypod to explore the human-animal bond with our dogs and to learn how we can nurture it.
This post is presented by Sleepypod, who is teaming up with the new Amazon Original unscripted competitive reality series, The Pack.
This video is part of the Pet Voices PRESENTS series. CLICK HERE to see all the series videos.
About The Pack: The Pack exemplifies the human-animal bond as it follows 12 dogs and their human partners tackling challenges together while traveling around the globe. The series will premiere on November 20 on Prime Video.
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 0:01
One of the best things about having a dog in your life is the relationship and bond that you create with them. Another name for the special relationship is the human animal bond. And though, Chloe and myself, have both experienced it firsthand, we wanted to learn more. What exactly is the human animal bond? How can it benefit both us as humans and our pets? And what can we do to build and strengthen the relationship that we already have?
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 0:25
And this video, we are creating in partnership with Sleepypod, who is an innovative pet product company and solution focus company. And they are focused on pet safety, which is an important aspect. And Sleepypod has teamed with a new global unscripted series that celebrates the unrivaled bond between dogs and their humans called The Pack. So, it’s hosted by Lindsey Vonn and her dog Lucy, and features 12 teams of dogs and their humans on an epic adventure. The Pack will premiere on November 20th on Amazon Prime video.
We got to talk with Nicole Ellis and Nick Benger who were the dog trainers, safety, and wellness experts on The Pack. And they got to tell us all about the human animal bond and how to strengthen it.
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 1:19
And while we’re super excited about watching The Pack and participating in the Packed Weekend, we wanted to start with actually just talking about what is the human animal bond? So, Chloe, what is the human animal bond?
WHAT IS THE HUMAN-ANIMAL BOND?
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 1:29
Well, according to HABRI, which is an organization, a nonprofit fully focused on researching the human animal bond, it is a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals, and it’s influenced by behaviors. So, the ones that are essential to our health and well-being. Basically, the human animal bond, makes everybody not only happier but healthier.
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 1:54
And I think something else to note is that it’s something that will improve and grow over time. So, just because you get a new pet doesn’t mean that you’re going to have that bond immediately. But that’s okay. It’s going to grow and it’s going to blossom into something beautiful as you spend more time with them.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 2:09
Yeah. And it’s one of the reasons we are really excited about this new series coming out. And we will let Nick put it in his words. Because I think he says it best, especially as somebody who got to witness the bonds while filming The Pack.
Nick Benger, Dog Trainer, Safety and Wellness Expert on The Pack – 2:22
The Pack is all about celebrating the relationship between dogs and their people. So, the main message is how fantastic our dogs, with the year 2020, I think it has been a really good kind of wholesome content. But me as a dog trainer, I look at it as look at all of these amazing things you can do with your dog. We almost want people to rediscover their dogs. You know, realize, I have a dog to be my best friend, to come places with me. Hang on, can I take them to the coffee shop? If I speak to my boss, can I take them to work? I go paddle boarding, or I go mountain biking, or whatever the activity is, can I take my dog along? That’s what I would really love. I really love seeing people more things with their dogs.
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 3:06
I think that’s a perfect way to put it. Rediscovering that bond, that relationship with your dog is so important. But why is it important? We did a little bit of research and we went back to HABRI and discovered some more data from studies that they’ve actually done on the relationship between humans and their pets. So, Chloe, what are some of those really cool benefits of having a great relationship with your dog?
BENEFITS OF THE HUMAN-ANIMAL BOND
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 3:29
We know that our pets make us happy. When your dog comes running up to you and you walk in the door, we love that feeling of excitement. HABRI also found that it lowers your blood pressure. It can actually help your heart health. So, not only by lowering your blood pressure, but improving the flow. There was some research done that showed that every time you look at your dog in the eyes and say, “I love you,” their heart rate goes up. They get filled with that dopamine that we all love and that makes us feel happy. And those kinds of results can lead to help with depression. Dogs have been known to help people with PTSD. They’ve been known to help people who have anxiety. And so, you can benefit your health just by focusing on that relationship, that love, and that bond that you have with your dog.
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 4:14
I can definitely relate to that firsthand. I know when I’ve had a hard day just snuggling up or even just looking at my dog sometimes, it makes the world feel lighter. It makes me feel like I do have a companion and I’m not alone in some of the hard challenges.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 4:29
And if it’s so great for us, if we love it so much, not only for making us happy, but for our health, what are things that we can do to grow it and to make it even stronger? Just really solidify that bond and grow that bond even more? And Nicole had a really good tip. And this is something that we think everybody can do and think about.
Nicole Ellis, Dog Trainer, Safety and Wellness Expert on The Pack – 4:50
I love the ability to grow a bond between a dog and their partner. And you’re going to see it on the show, but that’s something you can do at home very easily. At home, I train five to 15 minutes. So, I’m not training all day, things that your dog enjoys, find what your dog loves, and go with it. I have a dog that loves tennis balls. We go to the park and we play fetch him. Him, he’s not so big. That won’t be his favorite pastime, tennis balls.
So, finding what your pet loves and do it with them. Take them new places and you will see that bond start to grow. Take your training new places. If you always practice your sit and high five in the living room, maybe try it on a walk together. And together, both of your confidence is going to go up, the trust between you two is just going to grow, and I think you’ll unlock a whole new relationship that you didn’t even see coming.
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 5:34
And Nicole actually brought up another interesting and important thing, not just for you and your dog, but for kind of the world in general of how working with your dog and creating that bond, how it can actually help other dogs. So, we’re going to let her tell you about that.
Nicole Ellis, Dog Trainer, Safety and Wellness Expert on The Pack – 5:51
I love spending time with my dogs. And I feel like if we just committed a little bit of time every day, our dogs can join us on so many adventures. And that’s really what The Pack shows. And we can also potentially have less dogs in animal shelters, too, just by committing a little bit of training. So, it really does change lives.
WORKING ON THE HUMAN-ANIMAL BOND EVERY DAY
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 6:08
So, we’ve talked about how it makes you happy, how it makes you healthy, and starting to talk about some of the ways that you can nurture that bond and really grow that bond. And I know for us with our dogs, it’s a really important aspect of our day to day. For me, every morning, this may seem funny, but I just talk to my dogs. I literally have a conversation with them. And they look at me, it’s like they know that I’m telling them things that don’t matter to them at all. But are set in a way where I care that they’re listening. And just those moments of us eye to eye, that feels good. So, it’s another one of those easy to do things. Just have a short conversation with your dog by looking at them and talking to them and making them feel like they’re important.
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 6:51
Absolutely. Some mornings I even ask them, what’s their day like? What are they going to do today? What toy are they going to chew on? And even though they don’t say words back to me, we still get that connection in those moments where we’re linking eyes and it just feels good.
But another thing that I do is I actually incorporate a little bit of time with feeding. Every time they get a meal, so twice a day, for breakfast and dinner. We actually do a little mini sit stay. So, they do a little training session for every meal. It’s part of our routine. So, it doesn’t feel like we’re doing anything extra. But it’s something we are spending a few minutes together before they eat their delicious food.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 7:30
Yes. I’m always thinking about what are the ways in which I can help my dogs feel more connected to me. Because that just feels good and it helps with things like training. But something that I do a lot is every time they go outside, when they come back in, they get a treat. And they’ve now come to expect that in a way where if they’re out there and I open the door and say, “Come”, they do right away. And it’s probably because they know a treat is coming. But it just turned into this like bond between us where it’s like, “I’m here. I’m here for my treat.” Part of the reason I do that is just because I’m rewarding them for giving me attention. And in talking with Nick, he had a really good tip to help people reward attention to your dogs, so that in the end you are getting more attention from them, which will strengthen your bond. So, here is what he had to say.
Nick Benger, Dog Trainer, Safety and Wellness Expert on The Pack – 8:19
Initially for the first seven days, I would say, every time your dog looks back toward you, I say, yes. Yes, just means what you’ve done as your reward, and then I would reward. And then at the end of the week, usually what happens is you have a massive difference in how much your dog is seeking out an engagement relationship, whatever word you want to call it with you. And some people might want to jump to this stage. Then you just have to reward attention paid towards you when there are particular distractions. When there’s another dog in the park, when you’re walking past a picnic, when you’re walking past something that would really get their attention ordinarily. If they choose to pay attention to you, then let’s reward that, let’s encourage that. And it doesn’t take long before you really start seeing those benefits in your relationship and you see the knock on effects and actually how much they’re cooperating with you, how easy they are to live with, and how much you get out of having a dog as well. Because, you know, I think a lot of people get a dog envisioning one thing and end up with something entirely different because they don’t have the understanding of training and all that kind of thing.
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 9:25
I think that’s so important in any kind of relationship to actually, you know, mutually benefit each other and give each other attention. One of my favorite things about my dog, Luna, is that every time we leave for any amount of time, it can be five minutes, it can be five days. When we come home, she always brings us a toy. And we’ve made it fun by giving her new toys that she can come and bring us and prance around with. But we also every time that she does that, we give her attention back. We spend time with her. We play with her because we’re excited to see her. And it’s just a happy moment for both of us. And I love it so much.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 10:02
And if we think about it in terms of from the dog’s perspective, they are seeking our attention and our love. And so, every time they’re doing something like that, like bringing us toys, that’s so adorable. That is something that we should give attention back to because it goes to an easy way to just be showing each other, you and your dog and your dog to you, that you love each other and that your bond is strong and continue to reinforce it and grow it.
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 10:28
And I think that’s something that’s so easy to kind of forget. And, you know, you come home from work, you come home from running an errand, and your dog does it every single time. They’re excited to see you. And it’s kind of, if the day has been stressful. I think take that 30 seconds to five minutes to embrace that happy moment. Whether they’re bringing you a toy, whether they’re jumping up to see you, whether they’re waggling their tail, or whatever it is, just embrace that moment for both of you and it’ll go so far.
TRAINING TO GROW THE BOND WITH YOUR DOG
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 10:56
We’ve said a few things that lean into training-esque ways in which you can encourage and build and strengthen that bond. And yes, that’s all indeed true. But training can feel like work. So, I love Nicole. When we spoke with her, she talked about the simplest things and how you just do them five minutes a day, like Jessica just said, and how much that can make a difference.
Nicole Ellis, Dog Trainer, Safety and Wellness Expert on The Pack – 11:18
Do something fun, for both of you. That’s really what it’s about. We should never be yelling or manipulating our dogs in any way. It should always be enjoyable. So, whether it’s asking for a simple behavior, taking a minute to get some kisses, and refocusing ourselves, kind of make it easier. Set your dog up so that they can’t fail. And that’s really what training is all about. We want them to succeed and then we can make it a little bit harder for them. They’re going to love it. And we are going to love it. And end on a high note. It’s easy to get frustrated. So, try to take it back a step and see what we can do to make it easy so our pets win. If we end it where they’re not having fun and we’re not having fun, we’re not going to want to do it. So, end it where everyone’s having fun. End it with a party. And that will keep the training going and keeping it fun and positive for everybody.
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 12:08
So, one of my favorite tips is when I’m watching TV, a commercial comes on. I know now we can fast forward, we can record, we have all of those fancy things. But actually take a couple of minutes of commercial break and do some training with your dog. Even if it’s just something as simple as a sit or a stay. Or if you’re working on a new fancy trick, it’s a great opportunity to get a quick little bit of practice in right there. And then you can go on and watch the rest of your TV show.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 12:35
And I think that’s a really good point, because five minutes a day doesn’t necessarily have to be five minutes consecutive. It could be two minutes here, two minutes here, another minute at the end of the night. It’s more just about doing something that feels positive. So, like Nicole said, ending on a high note. I like to do things while I’m cooking. Onyx loves, my one dog loves to watch me cook. I’m sure he’s just hoping I’ll drop things. But I have him sit in a certain spot. And as long as he stays there while I’m cooking, I will sometimes give him little treats. And it just encourages him to know that’s his sport. And he can go to it so that I’m not tripping over him usually in the kitchen.
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 13:12
And then of course, we’ve also already mentioned, that you can do a little bit of training when you feed your dogs. And then also, like Chloe mentioned before, when they’re coming inside, you can have them sit before you give them that treat for coming in. So, then it’s kind of a two part training exercise.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 13:27
Yes. And you can also make it part of your nighttime routine, right? We all have this routine that we do whether it’s turn off the TV, get your water, head to the bedroom, whatever it is, you could find even 30 seconds in there where maybe you just go to your dog and you ask them to sit for you. And you give them a treat before bed. And it just becomes something you’re doing to encourage that behavior over and over because dogs do like consistency. They’ll catch on that these are positive things that they are getting rewarded for. And that will encourage them to seek you out so that they can get those rewards.
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 13:59
Absolutely. They love routine. And they love treats. So, they will be a big fan of these five minutes a day, for sure.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 14:08
We hope that you got a few ideas of ways that you can solidify, grow, strengthen that bond between you and your dog. And we believe that if you take some time and watch The Pack coming out on November 20th, you’ll get to witness the growth of these teams and what they are doing with their dogs and how their bond grows. Which hopefully will inspire you to, you know, take those five minutes every day and do something special.
Jessica Shipman, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 14:35
Right, so then you can go on and do amazing things like the dogs in The Pack and their partners.
Chloe DiVita, All Pet Voices Co-Founder – 15:02
And if you liked this video and have something to share, a comment, something you do in your five minutes of each day, or another way that you bond with your dog, please let us know. Leave a comment below. And be sure to follow our page so we show up in your news feed every time we share a new video.
For more information on Sleepypod and The Pack:
Sleepypod – sleepypod.com
Amazon Prime Video’s The Pack – amazon.com/thepack