How to bond with your new dog

How to bond with your new dog

When you first bring a new dog into your home, no one really knows each other yet. This can be stressful for any dog, but it’s particularly hard for a rescue animal who might have trust issues with humans.

However, there’s absolutely no reason at all why you shouldn’t be able to bond. Just follow this simple advice and before you know it you’ll have a best friend for life.

Be patient

A rescue dog will have a history before you came into their life, and it might be a difficult history at that. This means they might feel overwhelmed and anxious when they first arrive at your home. This could make your dog seem ‘unfriendly’. Try to let them come to you and not ‘crowd’ them while they get used to you and your home.

Be predictable

Dogs tend to thrive on routine and this can be particularly true of a rescue dog who has had to cope with a lot of unpredictability in the past. So be consistent with the time of meals, walks and bed. This gives your furry friend the message you’re dependable. 

Talk and touch matter

Your dog will be very sensitive to the tone of your voice which should be calm and low-pitched. Try to avoid shouting at them, even if they have done something wrong. Positive reinforcement works much better than punishment.

When it comes to touching and petting, different dogs will have different ideas of what they do and don’t enjoy. Some will love being stroked whereas others might not be so keen. If your pooch falls into the latter camp, bear in mind that it doesn’t mean they will always be this way – as the bond between you develops, physical affection is likely to be more welcome.

Make time for fun

Walks are very important for dogs (and humans!) and are a great shared daily activity. 

Play is also an excellent way to bond and really get to know your furry friend’s personality.

Different dogs will enjoy different games so experiment and see which holds the most appeal. Is there a particular toy your dog seems to gravitate towards? Do they love playing with a ball? Are they always happy when there are treats on offer?

It’s equally important to understand what your dog doesn’t like and, while they are a unique individual with unique preferences, it’s worth being aware of some of the things that most dogs find unpleasant. These include being patted on the head, being hugged, loud noises and strong floral or citrussy scents.

Give lots of praise

By nature, dogs tend to want to please their humans so it’s really important to praise your canine pal when they do something you want them to such as staying, sitting down or coming when called. A simple “good dog” or “well done” accompanied by a smile and a pat will make your four-legged friend want to repeat the same behaviour. If they have done something really amazing, you might want to up the ante by giving them a treat as an extra reward. Make sure this is a healthy one though. PEDIGREE treats are low in fat and contain Omega 3, Vitamin E and calcium.

Giving your dog lots of positive reinforcement on a daily basis will make a huge difference to your relationship.

Swot up on canine behaviour

Your dog can’t talk to you, so it makes sense to get a basic idea of the signals that show they are stressed or anxious. These might include their tail being between their legs, lip-licking or yawning. Learning these will mean you can soothe and reassure your furry friend when they most need it, which helps to build trust.

Remember your dog will pick up on your mood

Your canine pal will be very good at sensing how you’re feeling. This means if you’re stressed and anxious, they are probably going to be too. So try to relax about bonding. It may happen within a couple of weeks or it may take a little longer, but it will happen.

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