By Wendy Tuller
You may have wondered if your dogs are bonded are not. A bonded pair can be defined as two dogs who have spent a lot of time together and have formed a close relationship and rely on each other, whether they are siblings, Mom and puppy or just two that hit it off by spending time together. Most often it is a codependent relationship. The following are just a few types of bonds.
- Kennel mates
- Breeding pairs
There can be unhealthy bonds, such as one dog bossing the other around, eating its food and undermining the confidence of the more submissive dog. On the flip side, in a healthier bond, the submissive or shy dog can gain confidence from the stronger personality and both are better for the relationship.
It’s always a question in rescue whether a pair is truly bonded or if they can be separated. In the unhealthy scenario, it would be best for the submissive dog to be split from the pair and go to a home where he/she can gain confidence and have a healthier life. Some pairs are like old married couples who die within a short time of each other, or where one pines for the other when he/she is gone. Some pairs have been brought into a shelter together and if one is adopted, the one left behind fails to thrive and just deteriorates in that environment without his/her buddy. This type of bonded pair would do best together.
It still can be double trouble—my bonded pair have both a healthy and an unhealthy relationship. The female sometimes eats all the food, steals the toys and guards her stash from the male. When he is super stressed, he jumps on her. But they have a calm, easy relationship as well. They will lay together with or without touching when one seems to need reassurance, or their steps will be peppier when they are on a walk together. He teases her and tries to sit on her and seems to enjoy when she gets grumbly about it. You can almost see him smile. He is more people-oriented and she is very independent and allows pets but really doesn’t seek them out.
He recently had surgery and their separation seems to be bothering her more than him. She wants very much to be allowed in the pen with him, but luckily she is being respectful about it. He is not worried about anything at the moment.
It’s an emotional pull to see two dogs together in rescue and there are rescues devoted strictly to bonded pairs. If you have the space and the resources, it can be very rewarding. They can entertain each other and calm each other and play together. It’s a good idea to find out what kind of bond they have and usually a rescue will have figured that out before putting them up for adoption together.
National Great Pyrenees currently has several bonded pairs available and you can check them out on the website at adoptable-dogs. Or, view our Pyr Show broadcast about bonded pairs on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVou7FxHBhE.