Dogs are very sensitive creatures. You’ll notice they’ll share a deep connection with you, as their human. But can they bond with other dogs too?
Many believe dogs’ behaviors are only a result of their desire for survival. But their emotional and mental capacity allows them to build a connection with their fellow creatures.
This connection is often much deeper than being playmates or companions.
Find out what a “bonded pair” means and how to tell if your dogs are bonded to each other.
What is a Bonded Pair of Dogs?
A “bonded pair” is a common term in dog adoption centers and animal rescue programs, used when two dogs or cats form a strong close relationship.
While these dogs might play with other animals in the home, a bonded pair have a special relationship.
Bonded pairs are more comfortable and playful around each other. When one is not around, the other often shows signs of anxiety or loneliness.
There are three types of bonds you often see in pets.
Familial bonds are strong relationships that develop between dog parents and their puppies or between the puppies themselves.
These bonds are strengthened by the pups being able to bond with one another during the first eight weeks of their lives and are often difficult to separate once they reach nine weeks old.
Trauma or Grief-Induced Bonds
Trauma bonding occurs between puppies who are put in a shelter together. They can become close as a result of their shared traumatic experience.
Trauma bonding arises out of deep attachment, dependence, and trust. This kind of bonding is due to a shared intense trauma as a result of a natural disaster, abuse, or some type of captivity.
A proximity bond is present among dogs who spend a lot of time together. They become best friends who rely on each other for support and comfort.
This bond may not be as natural as a familial or trauma bond, but it’s just as strong. Under the right circumstances, dogs who share a proximity bond become inseparable.
How Long Does it Take for Dogs to Bond with Each Other?
It depends on your dog’s innate social skills, training needs, and other behavioral characteristics. But the average time it takes is about one month.
First, make sure your dog knows how to get along with other dogs. Use positive reinforcement techniques when introducing them to each other.
You also want to be confident that the dogs know and respond to the command words “sit” and “stay” to avoid fights and aggression.
If you have an anxious dog, they may be scared to approach another dog. They might not enjoy playing or eating around other dogs.
Treat your dog’s anxiety with a holistic approach before trying to bond them with another dog.
Take them to the vet for proper medication, provide training, and give them plenty of mental stimulation.
Learn how to wrap your dog for anxiety to help them through this issue.
How to Tell if Dogs are Bonded to Each Other
Many signs will indicate when your dog is bonded with another dog. Look out for the following behaviors to know if your furry friends are building a strong healthy relationship with each other.
Whether they are sleeping, playing, or taking walks out, dogs who are bonding will always want to be with each other.
During playtime, the dogs will run and chase one another and play in a very carefree manner.
Dogs who are bonding and becoming friendly with one another will constantly follow each other around the house and yard.
When they are resting, you will often find them curled up close together for comfort.
As pack animals, dogs often follow hierarchies that determine who leads and who eats first. This hierarchy also determines who they share meals with.
If you see your dog sharing their food with another dog, this means they see them as members of the pack.
In contrast, if you see your dog protecting and preserving their food from another, they do not see the other dog as a trusted companion.
If your dog is doing this you can teach them to share their food. Or teach them to stop being aggressive when someone tries to eat their food.
Remember that you can maintain your dogs’ strong bond by giving them the same food at the same time. Please make sure both of them are always full and satisfied. Doing so will strengthen their relationship.
Comforting Each Other
If one of your dogs has anxiety or feels scared and is crying, the other might try comforting them.
They will come close and lay their head in the other dog’s lap or put their body up against the other to try and help them feel better.
Sometimes they’ll even try to play to try and distract the other dog from their fear.
In return, your dog will feel less stressed and more comfortable because they know their furry friend will be by their side.
Playing is a huge part of your pooch’s development. It improves their physical health, imagination, and social skills.
Most dogs will play with anyone with the same amount of energy. But some dogs tend to be more aggressive or shy.
If your dog goes out of their comfort zone to play with another dog, friendly companionship is likely about to form.
The relationship might be stronger if your dog exclusively plays with only one other dog. It means they trust them the most.
However, it would help if you still encouraged your pet to befriend other dogs for their social development.
Grooming Each Other
If you’ve seen a mother dog licking her puppies’ bodies, ears, butts, and faces, it’s because they are healing their wounds or comforting them.
Licking is a form of grooming that dogs do to feel better. Some dogs also lick themselves when they’re injured to cure a wound.
Here are other reasons your bonded pair lick one another:
- Showing submission to the more dominant dog. This behavior includes the beta licking the alpha’s face or chin.
- Asking the other dog to play. Your dog might lick another dog as an invitation to swim, run around, or play-bite each other. This happens between strangers and long-time furry friends.
- Bonding and affection. Licking is your dog’s way of saying, “I love having you around!”
Sleeping Next to Each Other
Bonded pairs of dogs also use their sense of touch to strengthen their friendships. It’s the most effective way to show emotion, trust, and affection toward their human or fellow creatures.
If you notice your dog snuggling up close to another dog, this means they feel comfortable around them.
Dogs typically feel vulnerable when sleeping. But with someone they trust beside them, they feel less anxious and cautious of their surroundings.
Puppies also sleep next to their littermates for warmth and comfort. Your dog might long for this feeling, relying on their dog friend to cuddle with them.
Dogs like pleasing people, trainers, and their fellow dogs. And what better way to entertain a furry friend than sharing a toy?
So if you catch your dog sharing a bone or a plush toy with another dog, expect a strong bond between them.
Have you seen a dog growling at their fellow dog every time they get near their toys?
While this behavior is expected because of their protective instinct, dogs can also enjoy sharing the things that give them joy with people and animals they feel close to.
Knowing Each Other’s Names
Dogs don’t always make an effort to recall the sounds that come out of our mouth unless it’s a command word that we have trained them to obey.
But if your dog knows another dog’s name, there’s a big chance they like that dog. Check if your dog shows signs of excitement when you call the other dog’s name.
Do their ears perk up? Do their eyes twinkle? Are their tails wagging? These are all signs of excitement.
Sniffing Each Other
Sniffing each other’s bodies is typical dog behavior. You’ll see them doing this if they meet another pup for the first time.
However, if your dogs sniff each other more than usual, they’re probably great friends. It indicates a strong interest in each other, along with friendliness.
They like to stick their nose on other dogs’ bodies to get information from them. Dogs have two sacs on their butt that produce pheromones and scents that determine their gender, emotion, owner, food, and health.
Bonded pairs feel satisfied, comfortable, and happy in each other’s presence and scent. It means they care about the other pet too.
How Do I Introduce My Dog to Other Dogs?
The first step to introducing your dog to other dogs is to keep calm. Leave them on their leash and allow them to approach the other dog gently.
Keep your distance in case the dogs get over excited or aggressive.
And always have some treats with you. If the dogs are rewarded for being nice to each other, they will be more likely to remain friendly throughout the introduction.
Find out more about introducing your dog to another dog.
Aggression is a common behavioral problem when introducing dogs. But you can stop it with proper training, depending on their aggression type.
For example, if your dog is being aggressive to protect themselves from predators, teach them to understand that they are safe in their environment.
If it’s dog-on-dog aggression, desensitizing your dog to other dogs in a controlled situation will help.
Learn the other ways you can stop your dog from being aggressive.
Should I Get a Second Dog to Keep the First Company?
You can get another dog to keep the first company only if you’re ready for the additional responsibilities.
Getting a new dog will make exercise and training more exciting. It will help ensure that both pups get enough entertainment and stimulation.
Potty training also becomes more convenient because they mimic each other’s good behavior.
Find out why you should get a second dog for your family.
Are Your Dogs Bonded?
Dogs can lead a simple life. They don’t have issues eating the same food every day or playing with the same toy or walking the same track.
In the same way, they don’t mind playing with the same dog throughout their life. They will comfort each other, sleep beside each other, and share toys to become a bonded pair.
Are your dogs bonded? If your dog is too stressed to befriend a furry pet, teach them how to calm down first.