Congrats on the latest addition to your family! You guys will be BFFs in no time flat, but first, a little ice breaking is in order.
Bonding with your dog early on is fundamental to building a healthy relationship between your wee buddy and the world around him. Generally, this process is fast with puppies, but can take a little longer with older dogs. Read on for eight pointers on how to bond with your new furry sidekick.
We know it’s hard not to want to smother a puppy with cuddles and kisses, but it’s important to allow your new family member a little independence. Give him the opportunity to explore his surroundings safely and allow him to discover his new roommates on his own terms. Socialising your pup early on will make for a well adjusted and sociable adult dog.
Embrace the Learning Curve
Your new dog (especially if you’re getting one as a puppy) has a lot to learn. Not only does he have a new family, but a new home as well. Always be patient and be sure to let your dog know when he’s being good—like anytime he pees outside rather than inside (it’s no use reprimanding a puppy for peeing indoors; remember, he only just started going to the bathroom on her own (her mum was helping up until a couple weeks ago) or comes when you call his name. For more detailed tips on housetraining a puppy or dog, check out this RSPCA guide.
Learn to Read Your Dog
Here’s a handy illustrated guide to dog behaviour. If you have small children, here’s another helpful post on How to Introduce Your Dog to Your Baby: Myth vs. Reality. From excited to scared and playful, it’s important to be attuned to your dog’s feelings and his reactions to his new environment.
Put On Your Walking Shoes
Allow your little mate the chance to acclimatise to the area, which is a surefire way for him to get more comfortable with everything. The one-on-one time strolling around your neighbourhood is a great way to bond and get some exercise together.
Communication Is Key
This means training. Gaining your dog’s respect is important in the early stages and rewards are an integral part of this. Start with easy tricks like sit and work your way up. Throwing in a bit of this training on your walks together is a great way to incorporate these two steps.
Interactive games like tug of war are great for bonding. As the Whole Dog Journal explains: “‘Leader’ is defined as the one who controls the good stuff. By playing tug and granting your dog access to the tug toy, you remind him that the toy belongs to you, the higher-ranking member of the social hierarchy, and out of the goodness of your benevolent-leader heart, you let him play with it sometimes.” So there you have it!
It’s All About the Simple Things
This one’s a freebie. Acts like feeding your dog and giving him treats and cuddling shows him that you love him. Read our article, 8 Ways to Say ‘I Love You’ in Dog Language if you need some tips. Easy peezy!
Give It Time
Easy come, easy go, right? The more time you spend together, the more comfortable your new dog will be around you. If this means just hanging out on the couch, going for a drive in the car together, or taking a stroll around the area, it all counts—your buddy will just be thrilled to be around you. And if there are times when you can’t be around as much as you need to be you can always rely on a loving Rover.com sitter to step in and give your dog all the attention he deserves!