One of the ways you can show your pet appreciation is to learn new things together. Learning new things together is a way to strengthen your relationship and also build trust whether you have a new puppy or an older dog. Teaching your dog a new trick is a way to counteract boredom in dogs and also reduce anxiety. Some dog trainers even recommend teaching your puppy or adult dog one trick per week as a way to continuously build trust and also keep your dog's mind active and engaged as they get older.
A great trick to start with is teaching your dog the command “Touch.” To do this you would give your dog a treat and have them touch their nose to the inside of your palm or have them touch their nose to the outside of your fist like a “fist bump.” Practice teaching your dog that every time they touch your hand, they get a treat. Eventually your dog will play the touch game without a treat and this will become something they really enjoy. You can practice “Touch” to keep your dog in communication with you when they are anxious like when others are around or you are in a new or noisy area. You can also teach people to practice “Touch” with your dog. This is a great trick to teach your friends and family when they come to visit your home.
The Touch command can be especially helpful if your dog gets anxious when meeting new people. The command Touch is often used in Puppy Training to help build confidence in growing dogs. Imagine going to the vet and having the vet say “Touch” and your dog happily comes up to them to say hello with their nose. Doesn’t that sound like a much better alternative than your dog freaking out at the sight of a new person or new vet tech? Allowing your dog to make the decision to engage with you and others with their nose in response to the word “Touch” gives them some control of their surroundings and allows them to decide when to come to you or another person. Allowing your dog the opportunity to “Touch” in an uncomfortable situation can comfort them. Allowing your dog the choice to use “Touch” as a greeting for others helps them communicate confidently too which builds their confidence in themselves as well their trust in you too!