Did you just get a new dog? Congratulations on your addition to the family. You might now be realizing that getting a new dog can be as overwhelming as it is exciting, mostly because you are yet to bond with your dog.
If you are in this situation, you might be asking yourself, how do I bond with my dog? Here’s the ultimate guide on how to create mental, physical, and emotional bonds with your new dog.
When you get a new pup, it can be quite tempting to want to spend lots of time with him and smother with kisses and cuddles, right? Well, you need to know that dogs are not born social animals. Therefore, they might not take to you or their surrounding immediately, and socialization is important for them.
Allow your dog to explore his surroundings and discover his new home and family on his own terms. Remember to avoid behavior that creates negative experiences for the dog – such as hugging as it immobilizes the dog and increases his stress levels. If you have a puppy, it is best to start socialization training when he is 4-12 weeks old.
Brand new environments mean that a dog has to get used to new sights, sounds, and smells, and this can be quite stressful.
Every dog has his own personality. Therefore, it might take one dog longer than another to warm up to a new environment.
If you want to create an emotional bond with your dog, be patient with him, and make things comfortable for the dog by giving him positive experiences and keeping things calm.
Most importantly, avoid taking your dog on long walks that introduce him to more new environments and new people, as this can be overwhelming for him. Instead of taking him to the park, for instance, take a stroll around the neighborhood with him, so that he can get acclimated to the neighborhood.
Engage Your Dog in Interactive Play
Engaging in interactive play is a great way to bond with your dog. Interactive games such as tug and retrieve not only help you to create a bind with your new dog, but they also help him learn important skills.
That said, deciding which interactive toy your new dog will love best can be an uphill task, primarily because you do not know his preferred playing style. However, this should not discourage you from playing with your dog.
Get a number of tug toys and try different games with him, to see which one he enjoys best. Some of the interactive games to play with your dog are:
- Tug of war
Remember that it is important to play with your dog because once he learns to play without you, he learns to keep away, and creating a bond with him will be difficult.
Create Space for Your Dog
Imagine being in a new place where you are surrounded by new people and a new environment. The last thing you’d want is to be forced to spend every waking moment with them, right?
Your dog might feel scared of his new environment and not take to your family immediately. You can help him get comfortable by creating a safe spot, say comfy bed or crate, where he can retreat to when he wants to be alone or feels tired.
If your new dog keeps going to his safe spot regularly, do not feel offended. Give him time to get accustomed to his environment but, at the same time, motivate him to come and spend time with you or play with you.
How Do You Motivate Your New Dog to Play with You?
- To motivate your dog to play, choose a throwable toy like a tug rope, and attach a string that is about three meters long to it.
- Put it in an easily accessible drawer, and before every meal, say fun things to your dog like “do you want this” and act goofy while you make your way to the drawer.
- Pause before retrieving the toy and keep saying nutty things to show the dog how much fun you are having. Dance around for a few seconds, then toss the toy but make sure that the dog does not get his mouth on it.
- End the game before the dog can participate and quickly pout the toy back in the drawer while saying something like, “oh no, it’s gone.”
- Repeat this process 2-3 times every day and on the second day, allow the dog to get the toy in his mouth for a few seconds.
- In no time, he will be motivated to come and play once you retrieve the toy, and you’ll have created a great bond with him.
What experience have you had with new dogs? We’d love to hear what you did to strengthen the bond between you and your new dog.