Your dog needs to trust you. It can take months, sometimes years of dedicated attention and love to earn a dog’s trust. You should not estimate the bond between you and your dog because it is based on appreciation, love, and of course, trust. Earning a dog’s trust is not as simple as giving them attention, belly rubs, and treats. When your dog trusts you, you will know it by their actions. Read on to find out how you will know when your dog trusts you.
How to Tell if Your dog Trusts You
1. They Will Look you in the Eyes
Looking into someone’s eyes can tell you many things; I take you seriously, I trust you, will you go out with me, and more. Generally, when you look someone in the eyes, you are conveying the message that you are paying attention, that you are focused. With a dog, if they look another dog in the eyes, it generally means they are issuing a threat as it is a sign of dominance. Most dogs will not look another dog in the eyes.
With their human, it is a different story. The first step toward canine domestication started when a dog could look into a human’s eyes in a non-aggressive way. Dogs seemed to learn that humans liked eye contact. When a dog manages to look a person in the eyes, they can then establish a meaningful, trusting relationship. It is a sign that your dog understands and trusts you.
2. Confident and Relaxed Around You
A dog’s body language is one way you can tell how a dog feels a lot of the time. If they are anxious or scared, they will pace back and forth, yawn when they are not tired, pin their ears to their head, cower and put their tails between their legs, and excessively pant. It shows that the dog is not as relaxed or confident as they show me.
If your dog trusts you, they will show signs of a relaxed, confident body. This can be done by tails perky and loose or wagging, ears in a forward position, eyes blink often, and mouths slightly open. Your dog trusts that you will keep things under control by their body language. You will notice their confident posture when you are out on a walk or just spending time together.
3. They Come to you for Cuddles
It is so easy to take for granted the doggie cuddles when they take up most of the bed and hog the covers, but when they are sleeping with you it is a good sign that you have earned your dog’s complete trust. The reason that you have their absolute trust is that a dog is the most vulnerable when they are asleep. With wild dogs like wolves, they sleep with other pack members in small, confined areas so they feel secure and safe.
When your dog sleeps with you, they feel that the safest place to sleep is in your bed. To show you their love, snuggling and cuddling is one way to do this voluntarily. This shows you that they know you will not hurt them when they are asleep. They also know that they would rather be near you if some unwanted visitor comes knocking.
4. Calm When you Leave
A common behavioral issue with dogs is separation anxiety. This type of dog will often panic when they are left alone and get into serious, sometimes dangerous, trouble. Even if they do not have this issue, some may still whine and scratch at the door when you leave. This means that they are not completely sure that you are coming back.
When your dog trusts you completely 100%, they will know that you will be back eventually for playtime and belly rubs. Although they may not be happy about you leaving each day, they will be calm about it.
They will wait patiently and be at the door ready to greet you when you arrive home.
5. Responds Well to Training
Most people have the misconception that when training a dog, it is all about the dog. This is not true; it is the bond that is shared on both ends of the dog’s leash. If the dog does not trust the one doing the training, then they are not going to respond as well to the training. When training your dog, you should get the dog to respond to cues that are based on respect and trust, not fear-based lessons where they know they will be punished for not doing it right.
This is why at times, it is hard to train rescue dogs because they have been abused and abandoned, so it is hard to trust their new family at first. Training them may take a few days, even months, because they realize they are in a permanent home and they can let their guard down and start to trust their owner. When the dog trusts and respects you, they will be attentive and eager to learn.
6. Looks to you for Guidance and Reassurance
No matter what you are doing, playing or walking, you and your dog are a team. Even if you and your dog do not agree on when it is time to head home or which tree to pee on, they are just happy to be with their favorite person. It can be very intimidating to be in a new environment for timid or scared dogs, so they find it comforting knowing that someone trustworthy is with them for moral support.
Even if your dog is not anxious outside, you will know he trusts you if he often checks to see what you are doing. When you are walking, they may glance back toward you to make sure that you are still there and happy with their behavior. The dog is getting their confidence from you because even if you are involved in a small way, they are happy.
7. Learn Your Routines
A dog relies on routines to feel normal, to be comfortable, and to have a happy life. Make sure if you want to build trust with your dog that you make these routines positive interactions.
Once the routine is set, your dog will be there to get fed or walked at the set time and they will trust that you will stick to your part of the bargain and do what is supposed to happen.
It feels incredible to know that you have your dogs’ complete trust. It means that you are doing something right to achieve this and that you and your dog have a great bond. It is a big responsibility to have your dog’s trust. The reason is that they will turn to you when they are scared and sad, you will be the first person they want to play with when they are happy.
You should never take their trust or that feeling for granted. Always be there for your dog and you will always have their trust. Dogs are the most loving, loyal pets around and will be faithful and trusting as long as they live so be careful never to break their trust. They need to trust you to commit and offer their loyalty.