It’s always exciting to bring home an adorable puppy. Some puppies may latch to their new owners right away, while most will take some time to bond with humans. Bonding is a new experience for both the human and the puppy, and it can take weeks before you start to notice it.
You can do several things to ensure that you and your puppy will develop a strong bond. Here are 10 things you can do to build a strong foundation for many long years of happiness with your new pet.
The 10 Ways for Bonding with a Puppy
1. Enroll in Obedience Classes
Enrolling in an obedience class lays a strong foundation for puppies and their owners and has many benefits. First, owners will have access to a professional dog trainer that can guide them through the challenges of puppyhood.
Obedience training teaches puppies important skills and commands that keep them safe. It also establishes clear communication between puppies and their owners. So, enrolling in obedience classes is an excellent investment that is sure to strengthen your bond with your puppy.
2. Develop a Routine
One of the most important and effective things you can do for your puppy is to develop a routine together. Dogs are creatures of habit that thrive on consistency, and routines can help improve behavior by reducing anxiety and boredom. They can also help puppies get used to your family’s lifestyle and sleep through the night more easily.
Routines can also help speed up crate training and housebreaking because they help puppies know that they can expect designated parts of the day to be let out to relieve themselves.
3. Buy New Toys
Toys are extremely important for a puppy’s well-being. So, make sure that it has a few favorite toys that it can play with every day.
You can find many different kinds of toys for puppies. One type of toy that you’ll probably need is a durable chew toy to get through the teething stage. Many puppies will also enjoy beginner-level treat dispensing toys and puzzles. These types of toys are especially beneficial because puppies will engage in enrichment activities that activate their natural instincts and provide mental stimulation.
4. Go On a Walk
Going on walks is a fun way to spend time with your puppy. Just make sure to lay out a solid foundation for polite leash walking first. Walks with puppies rarely look like a casual stroll around the neighborhood. When you first start, you may not even leave your driveway or building entrance for a few weeks.
The important thing is to work in increments to ensure that your puppy doesn’t learn to tug or pull on the leash to get from place to place. With some time and patience, you’ll be able to go on safe walks together.
5. Be Consistent with Rules
Consistency is healthy for puppies because it helps them learn house rules more quickly and improves communication between them and their owners. Similar to how puppies thrive on routine, puppies will appreciate consistency because it brings clarity to expectations.
Even if your puppy acts stubborn and strong-willed, consistency will benefit it immensely in the long run. So, keep sticking to your rules and training in a fun and fair way, and your puppy will eventually learn to appreciate them.
6. Engage in Playtime
Puppies tend to have a lot of energy and love to play. So, get ready to join in on the fun and engage in plenty of play sessions. If your puppy sees you as a fun playmate, it’ll want to spend more time around you.
When you play with your puppy, make sure to show enthusiasm and play the games they want to play. For example, some puppies will love to fetch while others prefer to tug. Find what’s fun for your puppy and provide many opportunities for entertaining play sessions together.
7. Learn About Dog Behavior
Dogs communicate very differently from humans. Responsible dog owners will take the time to understand the basics of dog behavior so that they can get a better grasp of how their dog tries to communicate with them every day.
Dogs give a lot of non-verbal cues by using body language. Their poses indicate different moods, and their eyes, mouth, ears, and tail also give a lot of clues about how they’re feeling.
8. Teach Your Puppy New Tricks
Teaching your puppy new tricks is an excellent way to bond with your puppy for several reasons. First, it reinforces obedience and listening skills. It’s a fun challenge for your puppy that exercises its mind and provides opportunities to eat tasty treats. Lastly, it strengthens communication between you and your puppy.
When you first start, make trick training sessions short and fun so that your puppy doesn’t get discouraged or disinterested. As you teach your puppy new tricks, you’ll find that it’ll start to learn other tricks more easily.
9. Get to Know Your Puppy’s Personality
It’s important for new puppy owners to be loose with expectations of their puppy’s personality. While purebred dogs may exhibit certain breed temperaments, some puppies may not necessarily inherit those qualities.
So, it’s best to get to know your puppy’s personality and quirks. Start taking mental notes of its favorite treats, when it’s most active, and what sort of toys and games it prefers. Once you get to know your puppy’s personality, you’ll start to notice how it’s trying to communicate with you. Your puppy will love knowing that you understand it and will naturally want to be around you more.
10. Give Plenty of Positive Reinforcement
Puppies won’t reject positive reinforcement and will constantly look for it. So, make sure to provide plenty of positive reinforcement through praise, pets, and treats. Your puppy will naturally be drawn to you if it views you as a fun and loving being in its life.
With that in mind, a puppy should never be yelled at, scolded, or hit. This can be extremely damaging to a puppy’s well-being and confidence and be even more difficult to repair.
Bonding with your puppy is a daily investment that involves a lot of playtime and training. With time and dedication, your puppy will learn to trust you and will show you affection in its own special way. Bonding isn’t something that only happens in the beginning stages of puppyhood. It’s a beautiful, life-long process that will continue to increase and strengthen as you keep living together.
Featured Image Credit: Yolya Ilyasova, Shutterstock