So you got a new puppy and you’re now looking to get that special bond you see other owners have with their pet. How do you get that? Do you just strap in and hope for the best? Or do you take action and try to bond with your new puppy? If you’re not planning on hoping for the best, but actually putting in the effort to care for your doggo, then this article is for you. Keep reading to learn just what you can do to get that special bond with Fido.
The first thing you need to remember is that, as with anything that’s long term, patience is key when it comes to bonding with your new pet. You may think it’s quick and easy for the dog to get attached, because all you do is give him love and cuddles. However, all dogs are different, so they can develop a bond at different rates.
Keep in mind that, like humans, dogs have different personalities and may adapt differently to new surroundings and new people. While some dogs become attached within a week, some may take weeks or months of practice before they fully trust you.
You’ll want to also give your dog some space, when he or she requires it, as it will help them understand that you are not a threat to them. This is especially true if your dog is a rescue, as they may have past trauma holding them back. Giving them some space in the adjustment period will let them know that you’re there to care for them, not hurt them in any way.
Whether it’s walking your dog on a daily basis, teaching them basic commands or doing outdoor activities, you should try your best to create a routine for you and your new pup to do together, as often as possible.
Walking your dog on a daily basis, for instance, is needed anyway, for both potty training, and health reasons. So, when you do that, try to also work on some fun activities together. This way, your dog will associate having fun with spending time with you. Some such activities could be playing fetch, or tug of war.
Whichever activities you choose to do together, make sure it’s something that your dog enjoys, so don’t force him or her to play fetch if they don’t enjoy it, “Cause we said so” is not a valid reason.
Treats can be a very effective way of getting a pet to like you. Find a food that they like and then make sure to only give them from your hand, so that they associate this with interacting with you.
Treats are also a good way of teaching your dog basic commands like sit, stay or no, if you want to make sure they don’t break anything in your house. Keep in mind that they’re new, so they don’t know the house rules just yet. You will need to reinforce them a few times, to make sure they remember that chewing on your shoe is a no. That being said, you’ll want to reward any good behavior you want to promote, like them not jumping on the table.
When doing this, however, make sure you don’t over do it with the treats, as you don’t want to cause any health problems like obesity or otherwise, due to constant treats.
Positive reinforcement is proven to work more efficiently than punishment when it comes to training your dog, so it comes as no surprise that it’s also a way of affecting the creation of a bond between you and your dog, or lack there of, if you’re using punishments.
Rewarding expected or accepted behavior is one way you can use positive reinforcement to your advantage. Either give your dog a treat, as suggested above, or maybe he’s more keen on some belly rubs and a “good boy”.
This technique can be applied to so many activities and actions, that there’s no telling how much it will help you strengthen your bond with your dog. Use it for moments when your dog does exactly what you tell them to do, like waiting for your to add food to their bowl before they start chomping down on it, or reinforce a negative behavior that hasn’t been done. Isn’t Fido a good dog for not digging out all the dirt from your flower pots today?
In the end, no matter what, always remember to look out for your dog’s reactions, as that’s the best indicator of what works best for them and what doesn’t. Treat them with love and respect, care for them and show them affection. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but there will come a day when your dog will bond with you and show you just how amazing it is to have them in your life.