Having a new puppy in your life can bring great joy, especially when you take time to bond with them. Although dogs are highly social animals, they don’t automatically form bonds with humans. Bonding with a puppy helps them learn to trust and feel comfortable around you, which can lead to a rewarding relationship. Knowing how to bond with your puppy can help you build a strong relationship that lasts for many years.
Importance of Bonding with Your Puppy
Why is it so important to learn how to get your puppy to bond with you? Bonding with a puppy helps teach them to communicate with you and establishes trust between you. This can lead to a more pleasant and fulfilling relationship with your pet. Knowing how to bond with your puppy can also benefit both of you in other ways. A 2015 scientific review found that positive attitudes and interactions between humans and dogs led to improved well-being.
When to Bond with Your Puppy
When you bring home a new puppy, the ideal time to bond with them is when they are between 4 and 12 weeks old. During this time, puppies are ready to start socializing and experiencing new things, such as going to new places or meeting new people. However, you can begin working on bonding with your puppy when you first bring them home. Spending the first few days with your puppy as much as possible is key to establishing that closeness you’re looking for.
Tips for Bonding with a Puppy
Setting up a routine is one of the first steps to take in the bonding process. Your puppy’s schedule should include feeding time, playtime, training, walks, bathroom trips, and naps.
Encourage and participate in plenty of exercise and activity with your little one. Let them outside to run around a fenced-in yard or dog-friendly park. You can also let your puppy run around indoors to get exercise; be sure to puppy-proof your home by picking up small objects, cords, and other potentially harmful items.
Working on basic commands, such as “sit” or “stay,” and introductory training sessions will help your puppy see you as a trusted friend who can help them learn.
Petting or cuddling your puppy is part of the bonding process and helps them become comfortable with being handled during vet visits or grooming.
Puppy Bonding Exercises and Games
Bonding with your puppy can be a fun experience for both of you through creative activities and play. Training games such as Find the Toy, Follow Your Nose, and Hide-and-Seek will spark excitement and trust. A game of tug helps your puppy learn to listen when it’s time to stop playing. A game of fetch helps teach your little one to come back to you, while hide-and-seek can encourage them to go looking for you or the items you hide.
What to Avoid When Bonding with a Puppy
Learning how to connect with your puppy also means knowing what not to do. Even if you mean well, certain behaviors or actions can have a negative effect on the bond you’re trying to form. For example, puppies should gradually be socialized to get used to being around other people and pets or in different environments. You should avoid forcing your puppy into situations they may find intimidating or alarming. Bringing them to a crowded park before they’re ready could rattle nerves, so understanding comfort levels is essential.
Always refrain from raising your voice to shout or yell at your puppy since this can scare them. Other behaviors to avoid include:
- Having no routine or structure for them.
- Using complicated commands during training.
- Not providing them with enough fun or playtime.
Signs Your Puppy Is Bonding with You
You might know how to get your puppy to bond with you, but how do you know if it’s working? Signs that your puppy is bonding with you include the following:
- Searching for you when playing hide-and-seek
- Ability to communicate their needs, such as letting you know that they need to go out or that they are hungry
- Strong desire to be close to you
- Focusing on you, such as looking at you often
- Obeying commands happily
- A desire for physical interaction, such as playing
Items to Help You Bond with Your Puppy
Setting up your home as a safe and comfortable environment for your puppy can help you bond with them. This means having the supplies needed to keep your puppy happy and healthy. The following items can help you bond with your new puppy:
- Toys for playtime, such as balls to throw
- Treats for training and hide-and-seek
- Food and water dishes
- Pet bed
- Leash and collar
How Long Bonding with a Puppy Takes
Bonding with a puppy can take a short or longer time, depending on factors such as your puppy’s age and temperament. Some puppies can become attached within a few days, while others might need a few weeks or even longer to feel comfortable with you and learn to trust you.
Being Calm and Consistent Is Key
Whether setting up a routine for your puppy or working on basic training as part of bonding, being consistent and calm is essential. When you stay relaxed, your puppy will find it easier to feel comfortable around you. Remaining consistent helps your puppy become familiar with their daily routine, which can help them feel more secure and at ease. Consistency can also help them learn to follow basic commands and form a stronger bond with you.