Whether you’re adopting a puppy or adult dog, establishing a healthy bond with him from the start will help ensure a meaningful friendship.
The powerful bond between human and animal is one of the main reasons we bring dogs into our lives. It is an easily attained friendship that enriches our lives and nurtures our hearts. Dogs bring warmth and unconditional love to our homes, but it is their fiercely loyal companionship we value the most. Forging a healthy bond with a new puppy or dog is a fun and enriching journey. Here are ten simple ways you can weave strong threads of friendship with your new friend.
1. The initial step to creating a foundation for friendship will occur during your first interaction with the dog or puppy. Start by giving her the opportunity to come over and investigate you. Allow her to smell you and get comfortable with your presence; doing so helps her understand you are not a threat and are respectful of her space. She will appreciate not being overwhelmed by hugs and cuddles, and having the chance to check you out before you touch her. This process is often very quick and easy with puppies, but may take a little longer the older the dog is.
2. Once your new friend has sniffed you and exhibited signs of being relaxed around you, begin the interaction. Start by calling her to you in a calm, happy voice, and tell her what a good dog she is as soon as she shows interest in you. When she comes over to you, offer her a treat or pet her on the chest. Once you have met and become comfortable with each other, pull out a toy and engage her in some play. This will establish that you are a respectful friend she can trust and have fun with.
3. Bringing your puppy or dog home is when the fun really begins, since most of the bonding will occur once she is a member of your family. The most important steps to building a strong connection will involve the seemingly small, insignificant things you do for your dog every single day. By feeding her, walking her, taking her outside to potty, training her and playing with her, you will teach her that you are the source of all the good things in her life.
4. When it’s feeding time, engage the dog before she gets to eat. Have her sit and wait while you prepare her meal, then ask her to lie down and wait as you set the food in front of her. give her a release command to signify she may eat, and do not bother her until she is finished. This exercise teaches her to respect her role in the family while building trust during a structured routine. she also learns that you will not create stress or take her food once you’ve given it to her. This level of trust is important when building a bond between yourself and your dog. If she believes she has to defend her food or eat it quickly before you take it away, you connection will be negatively impacted.
5. Training is one of the best ways to establish a strong bond between yourself and your dog – as long as it is built on a foundation of communication, trust and understanding. working with your dog and teaching her various obedience commands helps you learn how to communicate effectively with each other, and teaches you to trust one another. Dogs want to make their human companions happy, so by working together and communicating effectively, you fulfill this need-to-please desire. always use gentle, positive, reward-based training.
6. Play is another major factor in bond building. Games like fetch, tug-of-war, chase and “find it” will strengthen your connection by making you the focus of your dog’s happiness and excitement. Don’t be afraid to goof around and laugh; she’ll appreciate the positive energy coming from you!
7. Touch and one-on-one quiet time are among the most powerful bonding tools we can use, especially for dogs that enjoy cuddling on the couch or lying by your side while being stroked. Dogs communicate through touch just as they do with body language. Use petting, massages and ear scratches to share mutual affection with your furry friend. watch for cues to ensure your dog fully enjoys this sort of attention; stress can be counterproductive to bond-building.
8. Your dog can make the perfect exercise partner and doing these fun activities together will strengthen your friendship. Many dogs, once they reach physical maturity at around two years of age, make excellent running or jogging partners. This form of exercise is a great structured activity that relieves boredom, releases energy and gives your dog a job to do. consider a variety of activities such as hiking, cycling, walking, swimming, soccer and skijoring. Your dog will feel closer to you when she’s included in your exercise routines.
9. The little things in life can also strengthen the connection between you and your dog, so consider taking her with you to run errands, if weather permits. Dogs always benefit from extra time out of the house, with you. If you have some gardening or other outdoor work to do, give her something healthy to chew on so she can hang out with you while you work.
10. Last but not least, remember to take time every day to appreciate and love your canine companion for all the joy and love she adds to your life. Sharing mutual love and respect is the secret to a powerful connection that will last a lifetime!