Did you know that May 14th is the first ever Bond With Your Dog day?
As if we needed an excuse!
Dog trainer and mind coach Tina Elven, who lives in High Wycombe with her family and Cockapoos Buster and Ollie, created the day to mark the incredible relationship we share with our dogs.
She hopes the day will see owners share the special moments and memories they have with their four legged friends.
And to mark Bond With Your Dog day starting this month, we spoke to her about how the idea came about.
Hi Tina, thanks so much for chatting to me, can you tell me a little about your background?
Yes, I’m a qualified dog trainer and mind coach, and for a long time it’s been a dream of mine to combine these two concepts into something that would help dog owners strengthen their doggie relationships as well as a way of looking after their own mental health.
This year you created ‘Bond With Your Dog’ day on May 14th. What is the message behind the day?
It’s a special day where people can focus on the relationship between themselves and their dog.
We want people to use the day to promote the benefits of dog ownership by posting how they bond with their dog.
I’m hoping we are going to see some wonderful images and descriptions of what people are doing with their dogs and for it to be a huge celebration of canine companionship!
What kind of activities will pet parents and families be enjoying on Bond With Your Dog day?
On our website and via social media we are providing dog owners with ideas on how to celebrate the day which could include organising a doggie party or a pampering day.
We also encourage dog owners to spread the love by showing acts of kindness on the day by helping someone in need who may need help with a dog walk.
For those who want to really take things further, we even have a special ‘Woof, creating memories together,’ download that people can have printed on a t-shirt and it’s on the website here.
What would you love for Bond With Your Dog day to achieve?
We are hoping that people will start to embrace the thought that dogs are simply looking for us to spend more time with them, they want to feel secure and loved.
Naturally, it would also be great to see people’s images on social media using our hashtag #BondWithYourDogDay.
Because who doesn’t appreciate a picture of a cute dog and seeing the bond they have with their owner?
We’re also running a competition where people can submit their picture to us directly and be in with a chance of winning a prize.
Your business is Dogs are Family, can you tell us how it came about?
It’s been a bit of a journey to be honest. It was important to us to have a name that really summed up the relationship us humans have with our family dogs.
For many dog owners the relationship they have with their dog is one of the strongest they have with anything, human or animal.
Research shows that a significant number of dog owners would save their dog before assisting a stranger if the situation arose.
When we considered just how strong this relationship could be it was obvious to us – Dogs Are Family.
It doesn’t matter if that family is you and your dog, a couple and their dog or if your family has children in it as well.
Your dog is as much part of your family as any other member, and we wanted to encourage and celebrate that with the right name!
What does Dogs Are Family do?
Our aim is to strengthen the relationship people have with their dog.
People have dogs for all sorts of reasons and creating special moments together is key to the development of a strong bond. We want to make sure that those special moments happen so people celebrate the way they feel about having a dog.
We provide unique activities and gifts to help ensure that people create lasting memories of their time with their dog. One of our products for example is Woof Wag Wishes ®, a novel concept not seen before in the dog world!
This is an interactive memory book which guides them through a year of wishes so they can create special memories together, sharing experiences that they may not think to do on their own and it’s something we know will bring so much joy to families.
What goes into having a great relationship with a dog?
There needs to be a good deal of mutual trust and respect. Your dog needs to feel reassured they are always safe with you and that you respect their boundaries.
Like all relationships, though, the one that you have with your dog is anchored in a set of shared memories and experiences.
These are about spending time together, observing each other’s reactions in different situations and always building on your understanding of each other.
I know it’s kind of obvious, but why are these moments so important?
The more there are, and the more variety you have, the stronger the bond.
A daily dog walk along the same route blurs together in memory and doesn’t stand out.
Changing things up and doing different things means that you are creating a storehouse of special moments.
Introducing your dog to a new experience, whether it is a treat you may have cooked or a challenge you’ve set is a fascinating experience.
You learn something new about yourselves and each other and that’s the secret to a good relationship.
And let’s not forget the immense benefits all of this has on your own well-being and happiness.
How does Dogs Are Family help dog owners?
Our flagship product, Woof Wag Wishes, really aims to drive dog owners to regularly try new things with their dog.
Once a week, you take time out from your busy day and spend it with your dog trying something new as we know how easy it can be to slip into doing something familiar.
Woof Wag Wishes is taking taken all the hard work out of this as each week reveals an activity that is new and surprising.
Simply pick a category, select a wish and scan the QR code on the page and this will take you to a web page which will describe what you will do with your dog that week, and you grant the wish!
If you have the Woof Wag Wishes book, you have somewhere to write down what happened when you granted the wish. By the end of a year, you will have a memory book filled with special moments.
We also have the Woofers Club for children which started out as summer camps for children and dogs last year. It was so well received that we decided to create an online club for children and dogs.
Children have fun with their dogs but there’s an educational element too around staying safe, understanding canine behaviour and body language.
Plus fun activities ranging from how to make a dog treat to art projects and we’re really excited about launching soon!
So Dogs Are Family is all about celebrating dogs!
Yes it is. We didn’t want Dogs Are Family just be to about the activities, we wanted people to be able to shout about how much they love their canine companion.
We’ve created greeting cards, beautifully illustrated by a wonderful artist with card is showing a different aspect of dog ownership.
There’s a range of digital downloads of images and slogans about dogs that can be used to create a personalised item of clothing or accessory.
We want people to be loud and proud about sharing their feelings about their dog!
To find out more about Bond With Your Dog day and how to join in, visit www.dogsarefamily.co.uk
You can learn about the Woof Wag Wishes and buy a gorgeous book for a year of memories at www.dogsarefamily.co.uk/wishes
If you enjoyed this post, you might like to read Why Michelle Burgess created National Terrier Day on March 27th or How to take fabulous photos of your dog for National Dog Photography Day on July 26th.