We all love our dogs, but bonding with them can sometimes feel difficult in the beginning, especially if they have come to you from a rescue centre. Just like with humans, to bond you need to build up your trust, understanding and relationship with each other.

If you are feeling like you’re not strongly bonded with your dog yet, here are some tips to help strengthen your bond.

Spend time together

The fundamental thing to do to develop your bond between you and your pet dog is to spend time with them. Just like any friendship, it is important to spend time together to be able to get to know one another. Most people have a dog for companionship, so it should be easy for you to spend time with them. Whether that be cuddling on the sofa or just having them in the same room as you.

Top Tip: Leave an item of your clothing in your dog’s bed for them to get used to your scent.

Communication

We would recommend speaking to your dog in a variety of different situations (both at home and out and about). Chat to them so that they are used to the tone of your voice. However, communication doesn’t just have to be using your voice. Your body language, eye contact and emotional connection will all impact the way your dog sees you. Remember to be gentle with your new dog as you don’t want to startle them.

Training

There are many ways that you can train your dog, including agility courses and puppy classes. Positive reinforcement training is all about strengthening the bond between you and your dog. Your dog will come to see you as the ‘treat giver’ and working together to solve problems will make you stronger together.

Exercise

It is always important to walk your dog every day, but did you know that exercising together can help to strengthen your bond? Going on adventures together will be fun for both of you. Playing in the house can also be a great form of exercise for your dog. It can provide a bit of healthy competition whilst playing games such as tug of war can have a positive impact on your bond.

Respect

As dog owners, we can be quite selfish and become so focused on what we want, that we forget that our dog has its own likes and dislikes, and more importantly – its own personality. If your dog hates to have his belly rubbed but loves ear scratches, respect that! Your dog will trust you more if he knows you are not going to force him to do something he doesn’t like and your bond will grow stronger.

Just remember, once you bond with your dog, it can never be broken. They will love you forever.

Rachel Smith
Rachel Smith is a huge animal lover and has always been passionate about the wellbeing of pets. She currently has a rescue dog, Stewie and a corn snake, Samson, but has experience of looking after various different pets over the years.

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