There is nothing more magical than bringing your puppy home for the first time. Becoming a new pet parent is a rollercoaster of emotions; on one hand you’re filled with joy and on the other…you’re tired and a bit anxious. All new pet owners want to bond with their new fur babies and those crucial first couple of months can make or break the relationship. If you want the lowdown on how to bond with your new puppy, read on. Let’s make you a match made in heaven!
Clear your diary
The best thing you can give your new puppy is your time. Before bringing your new fur baby home, book some time off work so that you can be there for them 100%, without any distractions. Many new dog owners wonder why they don’t immediately bond with new pets but the truth is, if you really want to create a bond, your full-time presence is somewhat a requirement. Be mindful that joining a new family is likely to be a stressful experience for your puppy, so seeing the same face everyday will make them feel safe and secure. Clear your diary as much as possible and make people aware that you won’t be very social for a few weeks. You may miss out on a couple of after work drinks and coffee dates, but it will be worth it.
Set a schedule
Say it with us: routines are everything. When your puppy first comes to live with you, they’ll be completely oblivious to your day-to-day lifestyle and what’s expected of them on a day-to-day basis. Establishing a solid routine from the outset will give your puppy a feeling of security, making them more likely to bond with you. They’ll soon know when they’re going to be fed, when they’re going to be walked and where you expect them to go to the toilet. Not having a routine has been closely linked to behavioural and attachment problems and a considerable amount of anxiety on the dog’s part.
Allow time apart
It sounds counterintuitive but during the first few days of bringing your puppy home, allow some time for them to just be by themselves. Look at it from your puppy’s perspective, it’s pretty overwhelming meeting loads of new people and they need time to suss out both you and their new environment. Offer plenty of reassurance when they need it but be careful not to invite too many people round to your house in the first few days (we know it might be difficult though, everybody suddenly becomes your best friend when you get a puppy!). Giving your puppy space will help keep them calm and adjust to their new way of life.
We’re willing to bet that your pup will love playing games with you even more than the games themselves! Puppies love to play and they tend to form strong attachments to those that play with them on a regular basis. These games don’t have to be extravagant; a simple game of hide and seek will do just fine! Fetch, tug-of-war and find the toy are also up there as doggy faves. Let your puppy do what puppies do best, have fun.
You might think that letting your puppy get away with murder will make them like you more but actually, the opposite is true. Dogs like boundaries; they like knowing where they stand, what they’re allowed to do and what they’re not. When your puppy sees you as the leader and knows they can depend on you to look after the ‘pack’ it secures the bond between the two of you.
Offering love and affection on a regular basis will go a long way towards helping you bond with your puppy. Cuddles on the sofa help build trust between dogs and dog parents and most puppies love the warmth and comfort of being held in your arms. Remember, not all dogs want constant affection so try not to smother them. If you try to cuddle them and they wiggle away, chances are they’re not in the mood. Be patient and let your brand new bundle of joy come to you.
Train, train, train
Training a puppy is very different from playing with a puppy, so you need to clearly define the two in order to form a strong bond. Remember, you are the leader and will set the pace of the training. Dogs are sensitive creatures, so always keep in mind that positive reinforcement works best. If your puppy is scared of you, it will take longer for them to trust and feel secure around you. Be sure to never shout around your dog, especially if it’s in frustration; dogs are more in tune with human emotion than we realise.
Puppy-rearing is no mean feat and requires buckets of patience. They’re like children; always in everything, yelping for attention and making a mess of your house. If you keep losing your temper with your puppy they will learn to be wary of you and this can impact how close the two of you become. It may not be easy but take a deep breath, the puppy months will pass and you will most likely miss them when they’re gone.
Once your pup has had all their immunisations and they’re free to explore the outdoors, make sure you get out with them often. Exercising with your dog will strengthen your relationship as you will both come to associate the positive act of exercising with being together. Plan new adventures for you and your fur baby and show them all of your favourite places. They will definitely appreciate it.
Feeding your puppy the occasional treat straight out of the palm of your hand is a great way to show your pooch you love them. Doing this develops trust and they will come to associate you as the one that nurtures and cares for them. It’s a great technique for pups that are a bit on the shy side or those that are undersocialised. We have a great range of puppy treats available on our website, click this way to shop.
Ultimately, if you want to create an ever-lasting bond with your puppy it takes one simple act – be there for them through thick and thin. Being present, consistent, patient and kind is a sure-fire way to win your doggo’s heart. Many puppies cry through the night when they first get to their forever home and just the act of reassuring them is enough to make them feel safe and happy in their new environment. The puppy days are short but the way you interact with your fur baby during this time will set the course of your lives together.
Have you recently welcomed a new puppy into your home? Do you have any more tips for bonding that we haven’t covered? Connect with us on social and share your stories!
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