27 Ways How To Get a Dog To Like You (Build Love & Trust)

There is a common misconception that when we buy a puppy or rescue an older dog and bring them home that it will be love at first sight. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case and as with any relationship, it can take time and effort with a new dog.

​It’s a common issue that dog and the owner just don’t hit it off straight away. There are no guarantees with animals as we know but these 27 tips on how to get a dog to like you will get you going in the right direction for sure.

What we will cover in a nutshell is:​

  • How To Get A Dog To Love You
  • How To Get A Dog To Trust You
  • How To Get A Dog To Respect You

Let’s get started:

Puppies are easily distracted by others in the house and do not necessarily bond with someone straight away. An adopted dog can have many issues that make them fearful or nervous initially. which cause their owners to ask “how to get a dog who hates you to like you? How to gain the trust of an abused dog? or gain a puppy’s respect?

We need to understand their needs to know how to build a bond with our newly acquired K9 and what simple techniques will get a dog to love you the most.​

How to Bond with a Dog that Doesn’t t Like You

1. Feed them

This might seem obvious but if you want to get a new dog or an unfamiliar dog to like you there is more to it than placing a bowl of kibble on the floor. In the wild dogs work for their meals and both puppies and adults will respect you more if they have to earn their daily rations.

Make them do tricks, sit, lie down, rollover. Use a toy that dispenses treats or a Kong which will stimulate them mentally and make the food a reward. Hand feed your dog occasionally. This is how to get a rescue dog to trust you, and encourage good behaviour not only will it build a bond between you by spending time together, it will help prevent food aggression.

A common problem in rescue dogs that have been neglected. Don’t leave food out for them to pick at all day. You need to make it clear that food comes from you and is not just left lying around for him to help himself.

2. Go for walks

This tip is a winner and a sure way how to make your new dog love you more than anyone else. Find activities that make your dog happy. Dogs enjoy walks and all breeds need exercise to keep them fit and active.

This is quality time we spend with our four-legged friends so make the most of it. Don’t just march around the block or park with the sole intention of taking care of business.

Explore, let him sniff to his heart’s content, rummage in piles of leaves together, splash in puddles, play hide and seek, keep off your phone, make it fun and watch the love grow.

3. Keep calm

It may be tempting when your beloved pet greets you by jumping all over and licking your face to join in with the excitement but this is not the way to get your pet to love you more. All it does is encourage bad behaviour. Keep calm and ignore them until they do the same, then reward them with lots of praise and attention.

Simple techniques like these are how to earn your dog’s trust. Being calm and speaking softly is also how to get a scared dog to like you as the last thing they need is an unpredictable, excitable owner.

4. Let them come to you

Not all dog’s need or want constant attention. If you have a smaller toy breed or lapdog, they may never leave your side and love being petted but this doesn’t apply to all dogs, especially ones that have been in kennels or abused. Don’t take it personally and don’t push it.

Giving them the choice is how to get a scared dog to come to you, let your dog decide when he wants affection offer treats as a reward but don’t pressure them. This is very important if you are trying to get a rescued older dog to like you as they may be fearful or nervous if you are constantly approaching them, however, good your intentions. You want them to feel safe, and the best way to do this, is by letting them approach you every time.

5. Training

Learning how to train your dog is essential for getting your canine to love you. It is also important to respect training a puppy. If you let your dog do exactly as he wants he will never respect you. As well as being one to one-time, dogs understand humans and love to please us and training provides a great opportunity to increase the relationship between you.

Using their favourite toys, praise or treats as a reward for learning something new will make your canine companion see you as a provider of the things they love most in the world and they, in turn, will love you for it.

6. Give them tasks

Most dogs love a job to do and enjoy nothing more than making their owners happy. Making them feel important by giving them daily tasks will get them to love you more than they already do. We all know dogs love a game of fetch so train them to fetch the post, your slippers.

Over time increase the complexity teach them to remove clothes from the dryer, tidy toys away, open drawers. Not all dogs have the capacity for complicated tasks so don’t be upset if they just don’t get it. However, if they enjoy helping out they will have fun and like you all the more.

7. Respect their space

Another good one when knowing how to earn a dog’s respect is space. Sometimes dogs feel stressed and like to have a space they can call their own where they can retreat to and they feel comfortable, safe and secure.

This can be a crate or bed placed somewhere out of the way like the corner of the room. When your pup is in his own space don’t allow other pets or children to pester him.

8. Treats

Who knew that handing out treats would make your new dog love you best? While this is a great way to ingratiate yourself into your dog’s heart, treats (by treats I mean healthy treats, not doughnuts, chocolate or biscuits) should only be given as positive reinforcement and limited.

Get your dog to sit, stay, lie down before handing out the reward and don’t overdo it. According to the Kennel Club between 30% – 60% of dogs in the UK are obese so make sure you include some of the more active ways of making your dog love you too.

9. Let them sleep with you

Controversial I know! Should or should you not let your dog sleep with you is something many owners debate but here’s the thing dogs love it and if you look at it logically in the wild as a pack animal they are not banished to sleep on their own, they all pile in together so it makes sense Fido would want to be with his family during the night instead of in a dog bed.

I know if you have a working/hunting dog that comes into contact with other animals and loves a roll in fox poo it isn’t hygienic and if you have 3 Great Danes it might not be practical. However, for most of us sharing our bed or even bedroom with our pooches is very comforting for them and here are 5 ways it can benefit you too

  • Feel safer – Having a dog nearby when we are asleep and at our most vulnerable makes us feel more secure and leads to a better night’s rest.
  • Keep us warm – Not much use in the summer months but who doesn’t love cuddling up to their warm bodies on a chilly night.
  • Stress relief – As we know from therapy dogs a pooch’s presence relieves stress and anxiety one of the main causes of insomnia.
  • Make you live longer – I kid you not! Studies have shown that sharing your life with a pet will increase your time on earth that’s definitely worth a snuggle.
  • Improves mental health – Night-time can be a lonely time especially for those who suffer from depression. Having a calm, loving presence next to you can bring great comfort.

10. Be Consistent

Have you ever wondered why your dog seems to have a better relationship with someone else in the family other than you? Consistency could be the answer as to forming a better relationship with your pet.

Dogs like to know where they stand in this world and in a family. They are keen to please but can only do that if they understand what we want from them. Therefore, it is essential that not only you are consistent in your treatment of Fido also that everyone else in the house is on the same page.

If you don’t like begging, make sure no one else in the family is sneaking bits of sausage from their dinner plate. When you say something mean it. Shouting at your dog for jumping up then letting him carry on with the same behaviour is counter-productive.

Dogs are not stupid they soon work out who they can wrap around their paws, which is why everyone living in the home must use the same words and techniques.

11. Take them on trips

There are so many walking holidays with dogs nowadays that there is no need to leave your beloved hound behind when you go on holiday. It’s even possible to take them with you to Europe with the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS). You do need to make sure they have the correct vaccinations and invest in a Pet Passport but pack their suitcase, food and Frisbee and enjoy your getaways together.

12. Do things together

Dogs are man’s best friend and a great way to get them to love you more is to do things together. If your local pub is dog friendly take them with you for a pint (not literally) It’s free to take dogs on trains so go on a day trip to the beach and when you’ve had your fill of the sand, sit on a bench together, treat yourselves to a hot-dog and watch the world go by. There are 100s of groups online that arrange local doggy get-togethers and walks, so get involved.

Other things you can do with your furry pal depending on the breed, include agility training and classes, flyball, sled-pulling.

If you’d like to set up your own, check out our article on the best dog agility equipment you can use at home.

Why not get your canine to try his paw at dancing, it is a thing and there are a number of heelwork to music classes throughout the UK.

Spending quality time with your pet will increase the relationship he has with you and is how to make your dog love you most in the family.​

13. Keep them healthy

Getting your dog to trust you isn’t an instant process it takes time to develop and one way to achieve this is by keeping your dog healthy. You are the only thing that stands between your pet and numerous injuries and ailments so make sure you take good care of him.

Make sure he is vaccinated and micro-chipped, learn to watch out for him being uncomfortable or in pain. Check ears regularly for infection and ensure they are wormed routinely. Keeping your dog healthy is one of the key things to keep him happy and he trusts you to do so.

14. Don’t let them get too hot or cold

Many dogs are susceptible to extremes in temperature so it is vital we protect them from both the heat and cold. Make sure your dog has plenty of fresh water in the summer months and a place they can relax in the shade. Heavy coated dogs should be trimmed when the temperature increases and short-nosed breeds like the bulldog and pug really suffer when they get too warm.

Heatstroke in dogs can be fatal so keeping them cool will ensure they love you. Alternatively, some breeds such as Whippets, Chihuahuas and Yorkshire Terriers really feel the cold so it is important to keep them dry and warm with a coat during the winter months. If they like to get wet, use these to dry dogs fast.

15. Keep them free of fleas

If you have ever witnessed a dog with fleas, you will know how uncomfortable it is for them. Along with the constant itching and scratching, they will look and feel thoroughly miserable. A severe flea infestation can also lead to more serious health problems such as skin allergies, tapeworms and anaemia. Regular flea treatment is a must if you want your pup to be happy and get in close for more cuddles.

16. Grooming

Brushing your dog is one of the earliest and best ways to interact with them and there are more benefits than you can shake a stick at. Firstly, and most obviously grooming stops your pooch’s hair from becoming matted and tangled which is uncomfortable and painful. For more on the best grooming supplies and tips, see here

It also enables you to give your pet a daily health check. However, there are many benefits on an emotional level too, so even if you own a short-haired breed these daily sessions are extremely important in building trust between dog and owner. Wild dogs groom each other to establish unity and respect therefore as responsible owners we should start this routine as early as possible.

Choose a time when Fido is relaxed and calm and use treats or praise as a reward. Grooming reduces stress for both you and your dog and it teaches both puppies and an adult dog to respect you.

17. Belly Rubs

If your canine displays his tummy for a belly rub it is one of the signals your dog trusts you. This position makes him vulnerable and he is showing confidence that you won’t take advantage of the situation.

Dogs have something in their brains that responds purely through the stimulation of hair follicles which is why a good tummy tickle is irresistible to most dogs. However, take note of the word most! Not all pooches like their stomachs rubbed so don’t force the issue as this can lose their trust.

18. Play

All dogs love to play with a human friend be it with a ball, tug toy, chew toys, or Frisbee, so take advantage of their playful natures and join in. Playing is how puppies learn manners and dogs enjoy and studies have shown that lack of play can lead to behavioural problems in dogs.

Not only does a good game keep both you and your dog mentally and physically active. It releases endorphins and is key to a dog’s happiness. A lot of people who begin relationships or move in with dog owners feel disliked by their partner’s pup. Playing with them might just be how to make a dog like you if it hates you. Who knew gaining a dog’s love could be so much fun?

19. Get on their level

Imagine if we lived in a world of giants who controlled every aspect of our lives. Scary thought uh? That’s why to initially gain a dog’s trust we must get down to their level so as not to appear as a threat. The way you approach the new member of your family is important and you should never rush in from above patting a dog’s head as they perceive this as a threat.

To gain an abused dogs trust, crouch down and approach from the side being careful not to make eye contact and give them a level of space. Observe the dog’s body language if they are interested in engaging they will let you know so don’t pressure them. Gaining a dog’s trust takes time especially with an older dog so don’t take it personally.

20. Observation

Getting to know the body language your pet exhibits when nervous, tired, in pain or stressed is a great way to become his protector, step in to prevent things from things escalating and build your dog’s trust in you.

Stepping in front of that really, friendly St Bernard down the street who Fido is terrified of will give you extra brownie points as well as noticing that he really has had enough of your friend’s toddler clambering all over him. Dogs can’t tell us how they are feeling so it is up to us to watch and learn.

21. Listen

If you ask your friends or family to do something and they say no, you would try to find out the reason for their refusal perhaps they are busy, feel unwell, or would feel uncomfortable. Why then do we refuse to listen to our faithful friends when they say no. With dogs, we will attempt to bribe them or pull on the leash until we get them to comply with what we want, seeing this as a sign of domination or stubbornness.

Maybe just maybe they are trying to tell us something too. Perhaps they are frightened or don’t understand what we require. Next time your dog says no, try to find out why and work on the problem together. Listening to what he is telling you will ensure your dog will love you most in the family.

22. Find that sweet spot

All dogs have different personalities; the same goes for where they like to be petted. Some like a chest rub, some enjoy a good scratch on their backs and most love a good tickle behind the ears.

My dogs personal favourite is at the base of the tail for three seconds, which always ensues in lots of reflex leg-kicking and a blissful expression. Finding your canine companion’s sweet spot is a sure-fire way of increasing their love for you and once you hit the mark they will keep coming back for more.

Ear rubs are a firm favourite have you ever noticed your dog almost trance-like as you gently massage them. Here’s the reason why.

However, your pooch letting you rub his body is a level of trust; Dogs see out-stretched hands and touching of the head as dominance which is not always welcome so if you have adopted a rescue dog who is slightly nervous be careful before rushing in with those ear massages.

23. Do not punish

This is essential to gain your dog’s trust. Hitting or punishing your dog will confuse him and make him fearful of you. It is rare a dog understands what he has done the first time to displease you and you are just giving him a message that the person he loves most in the world is unpredictable and someone to be feared.

This doesn’t mean we have to let our pets get away with murder, positive reinforcement will teach our furry companions what is needed for them to cope and live happily in our very confusing human world.

24. Let him do things he loves

Depending on the breed of dog you own chances are they will love a certain pass-time, for example, most Labradors love to swim, Spaniels love to find things and Terriers love to dig. Now while I’m not endorsing your Jack Russell digging up the flower beds, giving them the opportunity to what they enjoy the most is a great way of getting your pup to love you more.

Here are some tips you can try, play scent games if your pooch enjoys nose work, invest in a sandpit so your four-legged friend can dig to his heart’s content, Take your water-lover to the local river. These things will not only enrich your dog’s life they will make him adore you.

25. Be There

You will struggle to get a dog to love you the most if you are never around and they do not see you as their main carer. Too many people think they can get a dog and then farm it out to daycare or leave it alone for long periods.

Dogs are social creatures that crave companionship and although they may seem excited to see you upon your return being out all day or locking them outside alone will not create that special connection between you.

Involving your pet in every aspect of your life is how to make a dog like you again, even if you have been absent in the past, be there to provide the things they need and they will reward you with respect and love.

26. Comfort

One of the biggest myths about dog behaviour is that you shouldn’t comfort them when they are frightened. Wrong! it does not, contrary to popular belief reinforce the behaviour. If an unfamiliar dog is unsure of thunder, fireworks, etc that is an emotional reaction, it is not a choice and comforting them will not reinforce fear. So, to make your worried dog love you, next Guy Fawkes night turn the music up and give your dog a cuddle.

27. Take it Slow

How many times have you heard the words “I’ve had my new dog for a week and she doesn’t like me” or “My new puppy and I haven’t bonded yet” Yes for some dog, owner relationships there is an instant attraction but for most it takes time, space and effort to build trust especially if you have rescued or adopted a dog.

So how can you tell if your dog respects you? Dog’s respect is shown by their general happiness and relaxed demeanour within the home. They look to you for guidance, tolerate grooming and being checked for injuries. They will happily wait for food and walk behind you or at your side.

They won’t barge past the second you open the door or glare when you move them from sofa. Don’t expect miracles overnight try some of these tips and tricks on how to get a dog to love you and make your time together fun and you will soon be showered in trust, respect and unconditional love from your pooch.


How do you know your dog loves you? /how do dogs show love?

There are lots of ways dogs show their love for their owners

  • Eye contact – In a dog’s world eye contact can be a confrontational act so it is not something a dog will do with other dogs and strangers. they show love by gazing into our eyes with that expression we all find so difficult to resist
  • They wag their tails – Everyone assumes a dog wagging his tail is friendly however this isn’t always the case. Scientific studies have revealed that nervous dogs wag to the left while relaxed happy dogs pleased to see their owner wag to the right.
  • Mirroring your behaviour – Have you ever noticed your dog yawning when you do. This only happens when dogs feel empathy with someone.
  • Cuddles – Although we are told dogs don’t like to hugged they do like cuddles. If your pup snuggles next to you on the sofa it’s some form of love.

Do dogs feel love?

This has been debated for years but recent research has revealed that dogs do feel similar emotions to humans so yes they can and do feel love.

Do dogs know you love them?

Dogs feel a very strong connection with their human families and scientists have proved they experience similar emotions so it is entirely possible a dog feels love. They do not understand the term though so they are only aware that you provide for them and engage with them which strengthens the bond between you.

How firm should you be when training your dog to love you?

A dog needs to respect you to love you and therefore needs to be trained. Some breeds definitely need a firm hand. This should be done with lots of positive re-enforcement. Being firm doesn’t mean punishing the dog it means being consistent and not showing signs of weakness.

My dog used to like me and play with me, but he has stopped and is somewhat cold and distant what could be the cause?

There could be a few reasons why your dog is behaving this way. Is he feeling unwell? Is he depressed about something? It could simply be that he is bored. Try to mix it up and challenge him a little. change the games, toys and see if that helps.

If I am away for a long time will my dog still love me when I come back

You only have to type “dog soldier reunion” into YouTube to see that dogs do remember and love you just as much on your return.

If I get another dog or pet will my current dog stop loving me?

No, your current dog won’t stop loving you but there could be jealousy issues. Make sure you don’t lavish attention on the new arrival. A good tip is to have your current dog stay while you pet the newcomer then reward with a treat then do the reverse so each dog gets the same amount of love.

My dog likes licking me a lot does that show he loves me?

Licking is a form of affection in dogs so yes it can be love. However, licking can also be attention-seeking.

My dog won’t sit with me anymore?

Like some humans’ dogs can be happy in their own space. If you can’t think of a reason why your dog might not want to sit with you perhaps you hug him (dogs don’t like hugs) or if he is a long-coated breed maybe he is just too hot sitting next to you?

The reason could just be that he wants his own personal space so don’t take it personally. Try offering treats as a reward or investigate calming massage techniques to make sitting next to you a pleasurable experience.

My dog doesn’t like belly rubs or being petted what do I do to make him like me?

Not all dogs like to be petted. Belly rubs are usually pleasurable because rubbing the hair follicles triggers a reaction in the dog’s brain but for some dogs this area is too sensitive.

Don’t push the petting issue let him come to you and try to find his sweet spot. Dogs don’t like being petted on the head as they see this as a sign of dominance. Try a gentle rub behind the ears or on his chest. Once you find some common ground he’ll come back for more.

How can I know the things my dog loves to do?

The key tips to knowing what your dog likes to do is observation. You know your pet better than anyone and can tell when they are happy. If a dog doesn’t like something he will avoid doing it or show lack of interest whereas if he loves something perhaps a game of Frisbee he will keep coming back for more.

How to correct a dog’s bad behaviour without making him hate me?

Dogs like to know their place in the order of things they need routine and boundaries so to be happy they need to be trained. The key is to be consistent and use lots of positive reinforcement.

If you don’t like your dog begging for example never ever feed him from your plate and make sure no one else in the house does. Always reward good behaviour and never shout or punish the dog as this will make them confused and fearful.

How do I know a dog has stopped liking me?

Most dogs love unconditionally how many times do we see dogs that have been ill-treated still adore their owners? However, if something has happened to make a dog fearful or nervous they will avoid you and their body language will be different perhaps ears back, submissive body posture, even peeing in the house or hiding when you enter the room.

Why doesn’t my dog like people living in the house with me?

There may be several reasons, he may feel protective or be nervous about certain people. Once you establish the reason you will be able to take steps to build his confidence around other people in your house.

How to get a scared dog to like you

Getting a frightened dog to like you takes time and patience and here are a few tips. Approach slowly from the side without talking or making sudden movements, avoid eye contact and crouch to the dog’s level. Don’t get too close that the dog feels threatened. Stay calm, show a treat and wait.

If the dog doesn’t approach after a few minutes move calmly away and try again later. It could take many attempts but eventually, the dog will learn you aren’t to be feared.

John Devlin

Hi, my name is John, and I am the founder of Dogsbarn – a UK-based website dedicated to helping the owners of furry friends enjoy life with their four-legged companion. We currently own two golden retrievers, George and Henry, who love running around in the park together. We are thinking about adding a third – called Frank! Our mission is to provide excellent guides and introduce great products we’ve bought or come across online.