Dogs can make special bonds with their hoomans.
But they’ll also be closest friends with other dogs.
Ever wonder how to know if your dogs have that bond?
Then this article’s for you!
Keep reading to find out:
- The role hormones play in dog bonding.
- The 1 mistake of separating bonded pairs.
- 5 exciting stories from dog parents on their bonded dogs.
- 15 ways to tell that your dogs are bonded to each other.
- And much, much more…
How to tell if dogs are bonded to each other?
You can tell that your dogs are bonded to each other if they’re always together. They get stressed or depressed if separated. They do everything together: playing, grooming, sleeping, snuggling, and eating. Bonded dogs also keep each other relaxed, even in stressful situations.
15 ways to tell that your dogs are bonded to each other
Bonded pairs happen in many species of animals.
And for many species, it’s not just for companionship. It’s also for protection and maintaining social structure.
But dogs are pretty special. They’re one of the few who have been with humans for companionship. And they will also bond with their doggy friends.
This study tells us that there are many signs of bonding.
I’ll discuss them below.
So keep on reading!
#1: They’re glued at the hip
What are “bonded dogs”?
They are pooches who have formed a special attachment with each other.
Dog pairs are usually those who have grown up together.
They’ll do everything together. It will seem like they would die without the other.
And in some cases, this is what happens.
According to House with a Heart, they have a very close relationship. That it becomes dangerous to separate them.
#2: They’ve lived together for many years
One of the signs of bonded dogs is that they grew up together.
According to the DDFL, they are over 5 years old and have lived in the same house for many years.
They will also show signs of stress when not together. Which I’ll explain in the next section.
The very definition of the word bond implies a connection made by shared experiences. And even love.
Which is fitting for bonded pairs as they will spend a lot of time together.
They will do all these and more:
Bonded dogs are so in sync that they won’t need a lot of entertainment. Because they entertain themselves, says City Dogs Rescued.
Want to learn more about these unique pairs?
Then keep reading till the end!
#3: They get stressed when separated
In rescue shelters, the staff has to look out for bonded pairs.
Most adopters shy away from taking two dogs together.
So these dogs have a high possibility of staying at the shelter for longer than most.
Even short periods away will cause them to show signs of stress:
VCA tells us that these are:
- Dilated pupils.
- Pinned-back ears.
- Low body posture.
- Displacement behaviors.
#4: They get depressed without each other
Bonded dogs have come to rely on each other a lot.
Physical absence will result in depression.
Indeed. Many dog parents on the Internet tell stories of the effects when one dog dies.
One tale goes like this…
The dog left behind didn’t want to play or go outside anymore.
Eventually, he only ate a little at meals.
His fur parent continues that they found him dead one morning. It was just 3 months after his bonded pair died.
“Why does depression happen in dogs?”
The Kennel Club states that it can happen because of these factors:
- Fears and phobias.
- Physical illness or pain.
- Changes to social groups.
- Seasonal affective disorder.
- Changes to the environment.
- Learned state of helplessness.
Depression isn’t an easy thing to deal with.
Do you think your dog’s experiencing it?
Here are the signs to look out for:
- Loss of appetite.
- Inability to settle.
- Behavior changes.
Note: If you see these symptoms in your dog, take them to the vet. Have them do an examination. This will rule out any physical pain or illness.
And if your pet’s problem is purely behavioral, you will have to get expert help.
Contact a certified animal behaviorist in your area. They’ll be able to give you the best help.
Take note of your doggo’s symptoms. And try to see if any significant changes happened in the past months.
In the meantime, you can try doing these for your pooch:
- Keep your dog active.
- Spend more time with them.
- Slowly socialize them with other dogs.
#5: They relax in stressful situations
Dogs who have bonded often adjust quickly to unfamiliar situations.
This happens a lot in rescue shelters.
Dogs surrendered to them will often get stressed and anxious.
But bonded pairs help each other to relax.
According to the RSPCA, both dogs help each other to settle down.
#6: They keep each other happy
One of the pros to adopting bonded pairs is that they keep each other from being sad.
They’re never alone. So they can keep each other entertained even when you’re not around.
Single dogs often get stressed when you leave them alone at home.
When my friend got married, she took her dog, Hela, with her.
She and her husband moved to the next state.
Hela went from having 5 doggo siblings to becoming the only dog in the house.
It wasn’t an easy adjustment.
The first time they left Hela alone, disaster ensued.
She pooped and peed on the furniture in the house. And even destroyed anything she could reach.
It took a lot of time. And a few toys. But Hela was able to adjust properly.
#7: They groom each other
The AKC tells us that this behavior stems from when they were puppies.
Mother dogs often groom puppies as a way to clean and comfort them.
Puppies also lick their mom’s muzzle when they transition from milk to semi-solid food.
“I’m hungry. Gib me food.”
Domesticated pups have retained this behavior from wild dogs.
In fact, wolves do it with their cubs today.
So, why do bonded pairs groom each other?”
Ultimately, it’s their way of showing that they care for and respect the other dog.
So you can find bonded pairs licking and nibbling on each other.
They’re communicating that they want the same from their pair. Just like when they asked their moms to care for them.
#8: They always play together
Bonded pairs find ways to entertain themselves.
And one way to do that is by playing together.
This is one reason why bonded pairs adjust so quickly.
They’re getting their exercise.
Dogs need to have this every day. This lets them spend excess energy.
And it lessens the possibility of behavioral problems.
This can be a problem with dogs alone in the house with no activity.
Here are other benefits of exercise:
- Promotes flexibility.
- Improves sleep quality.
- Reduces stomach problems.
- Lowers stress-related issues.
#9: They eat together
Some dogs get possessive of their food. Especially when other dogs come near their bowl.
But one sure sign of bonded dogs is that they have no problem eating together.
Remember my friend’s dog, Hela from #4? She has 4 dog siblings.
And she’s very close with one of them, Duchess.
They grew up together. And often ate their meals together.
The 2 dogs weren’t a super bonded pair. As they were fine even when separated.
But it was only with Duchess that Hela showed interest in doing things together.
When their other siblings came, she would tolerate them. But she still preferred eating with Duchess.
#10: They share treats
Treats and kibble are different for our dogs.
They eat their kibble every day. So for them, it’s low-value food.
Our dogs get used to stuff, too.
But their treats are high-value for them.
Especially as it only comes out in times when they do something positive.
For truly bonded dogs, they can share their treats.
A study done in 2017 explains how this is possible.
Dogs share food with other dogs even in complex situations
In this experiment, the scientists wanted to learn if dogs were willing to share their food.
First, they trained the dogs to recognize and touch a token. And when they did it, a reward would come to them.
Next, the dogs (Dog 1) did this exercise. But the scientists gave the reward to their partners (Dog 2).
Both dogs had spent time together. So they were familiar with each other.
To really test the dogs, the scientists put Dog 1 in one room with the tokens.
And Dog 2 in another, with a dispensing machine for the treats.
The two canines had a clear divider. So that they could see each other.
And Dog 1 learned that if they pushed the correct token, a treat would come out for Dog 2.
The scientists also had unfamiliar dogs take the place of Dog 2.
Results showed that all the Dog 1s had a strong preference for sharing food.
And they do it to those familiar to them.
They rewarded the unfamiliar dogs 3x less often than their friends.
“So, what does this tell me about bonded dogs?”
It shows that dogs who have spent time together will share their food. Even their most valuable, yummy treats.
Another thing it demonstrates is that they can perform better when with other dogs.
#11: They sleep together
Aren’t sleeping dogs such a precious sight?
You just want to pet them while they’re sleeping.
But for most dog parents, their fur child isn’t one to sleep with their siblings.
Bonded dogs are different.
They like spending time with one another. And it’s stressful for them to be apart.
Sleeping is one activity that they do to strengthen their connection.
You might also want to know: 13 Reasons Why Your Dog Sleeps With You Every Night + Tips
“Why does sleeping together help them become closer?”
It has to do with the hormone oxytocin.
This is responsible for enabling the mother-child bond.
It’s a hormone released by touch.
Dogs and their fur parents produce it when they have positive interactions.
In this study, oxytocin levels increased when dogs and their fur parents did this:
- Eye-eye contact.
But the one that produced the most was when they gazed at each other.
Besides that, the hormone also regulated dog behavior.
Nasally applied oxytocin helped the dogs adapt to social situations. And even produce positive interactions with other humans and dogs.
“How does the body release oxytocin?”
Oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin are the feel-good hormones of your doggo’s body.
When there’s a positive interaction, it triggers the reward center of the brain.
Dopamine gets released. This causes an increase in serotonin. And then the brain produces oxytocin.
In short, it puts your pup in a good mood.
This is why bonded dogs cuddle together and touch as much as they can.
It not only makes them happy but also secures their connection.
#12: They look for each other
Bonded dogs are inseparable. When one’s missing, the other would constantly look for them.
One dog parent on the Internet shares this story about her bonded dogs.
They had an incredible connection. And would do things together. So let’s call them Rosa and Oz.
Oz was a senior dog who had some health issues. While Rosa was younger.
One day, their regular vet checkups resulted in unfortunate news.
Oz’s condition had gotten worse. And the best thing would be to let him go.
It was a hard decision. In the end, the family opted for euthanasia.
That was hard for Rosa. She didn’t know where her friend had gone.
She kept searching for him in their favorite spots to hang out.
When her fur parent would take her out for a walk, she’d look back at the door. As if expecting Oz to come through it.
It was months of whining and lethargy. At some point, Rosa even refused to eat.
But with help from a certified animal behaviorist, she was able to bounce back.
She has a new companion. They get along well.
But their relationship isn’t the same as with Oz.
#13: They don’t fight
One amazing thing about dogs who have bonded is that they don’t fight.
It’s such a rare occurrence. And you’ll really notice it because they’re always together.
Bonded pairs have an established relationship. Each dog usually knows how the other would react in certain situations.
But there are times when there are confrontations. Especially when it comes to food or toys.
And it’s not safe to go between fighting dogs without knowing what to do.
Dr. Christine New advises dog parents on how to prevent and stop this.
Stopping dog fights
Step 1: Don’t use any part of your body to stop the fighting. You’ll risk dog bites. And may end up in the ER for stitches.
Step 2: Use either of these to distract the dogs:
- Spray water on them.
- Broom or chair between.
- Make a loud noise (shutting the door).
Never yell at them. It will only increase arousal. And may worsen the fight.
Step 3: Keep them separate once you’re able to.
Preventing dog fights
Dr. New tells us to take the following precautions:
- Allow their alone time.
- Spaying and neutering.
- Avoid dog-heavy places.
- Separate feeding places.
- Leashes on when outside.
- Store food and toys safely.
- Choose a companion dog of the opposite sex.
Note: These are suggestions on what steps to take.. There are many reasons why dogs fight. The best course is still a professional consultation.
If it happens all the time, there may be underlying issues. Take them to the vet to rule out hidden medical conditions.
Then take them to an animal behaviorist for behavior management training.
#14: They comfort each other
This is usually seen in bonded pairs surrendered to shelters.
One pair had a fascinating story.
The rescuers brought them to the shelter together. And placed the two dogs in kennels separated by a wire fence.
But the staff didn’t know they had a bonded pair on their hands.
One of the dogs, Abby, scaled the division. She would lie down with her pair. And she would do it all the time.
Want to know more about their story?
Watch this video for the details on Abby and her pair:
#15: They protect each other
Bonded dogs not only do everything together. They can also sense when one isn’t feeling comfortable.
And in these situations, they’ll be each other’s shield.
In fact, many dog parents on the Internet see this in their pooch.
It happens in times when other dogs invade the space of their friend.
One story goes like this:
Sadie’s day out
It was dog park day. And Sadie was playing with her usual group of doggy friends.
There was a new doggo who joined their group.
For a while, everything seemed fine. But one dog took offense at what the new one did.
A fight started, and the dog parents got alarmed.
But Sadie was calm. She went straight between the two dogs.
And blocked them with her body. She kept moving with them.
Always staying between. Until the two dogs backed away. And everyone calmed down.
His story is more specific. He used the same technique as Sadie. But it was a situation where there were only 3 dogs.
Rambo and his doggo friend, Baloo, had the backyard to themselves. It was a sunny day and they were playing together.
Suddenly, the neighbor’s dog came near the chain-link fence. Baloo went up and started sniffing.
The other dog had a stiff posture. And didn’t want Baloo running up to him.
Rambo ran between them and blocked the neighbor’s dog. Then, he kept moving in front until the pooch calmed down.
After that, he nudged Baloo and herded him away from the fence.
“What is this behavior?”
The RSPCA tells us that this is “splitting”. It’s an interesting part of doggo body language.
Basically, one dog prevents others from getting too aroused.
They know how playing dogs should act. And it’s their way of diffusing the situation. Allowing the other dogs to chill out.
Dogs may also do this with their fur parents.
Continue reading: 19 Signs Your Dog Is Protective Over You (Check Out #7)
People also ask:
How long does it take for dogs to bond with each other?
It takes years for dogs to bond with each other. Most shelters say that it takes 3 to 5 years of living together for dogs to truly make that connection.
But, introducing puppies to older dogs takes a lot less time. It may take 4 or 5 weeks before older dogs initiate playing behaviors, says Karen Pryor.
What happens when you separate a bonded pair of dogs?
When you separate a bonded pair of dogs, they exhibit signs of stress. They can even display anxiety-related behaviors.
Stressed and anxious dogs often have the same signs such as:
- Escape behaviors.