How to Bond With Your New Puppy
Are there steps to bonding with a new puppy?
When you bring your new puppy home, there are a lot of requirements you will be making of her. For example, her schedule must fit your own, she has to go outside to urinate and defecate when you tell her to, and she is not allowed to wrestle with her litter mates or hang out with her mother when she needs comfort. You decide how she will be socialized, when she can play bite, and where and when she is allowed to dig and bark. When you are busy making these demands of her, remember that the most important thing you can do to make your life with her special is to bond with her. What steps should you take to bond with your puppy?
1. Talk to her: So what if she does not understand what you are saying? She at least will understand your tone of voice. As you talk to your dog and give her new commands she will learn new words. There have been many dogs that have learned over 150 words, but even if your puppy does not reach that level she will always be able to tell what you are saying just by the way you are saying it.
2. Make eye contact with her: Dogs will avoid eye contact with animals they are afraid of or nervous around, so when you make eye contact with your dog you will build a special bond. Gaze into her eyes and she will cease to fear you and build a special bond with you.
3. Feed her: This should be a simple ritual but many new puppy owners do it wrong and end up destroying any chance to bond using food. Put her food down, let her eat, then take it away after five minutes, whether she eats it or not. The food will be coming from you, always from you, and she will learn to care for you as the provider. (This method of providing food also has other benefits. She will look at you as the food provider and will not assume she is providing her own food whenever she wants; dogs look to their food provider as the dominant member of the pack. If she is not eating because of illness you will realize it right away and be able to examine her and take her to the veterinarian early.)
Bonding Every Day
4. Pet her: This is something we do for ourselves but it can be another part of the bonding process. Even between dogs in the wild, submissive dogs approach dominants for a little attention. Make sure you decide when to do this but call her to you, stroke her under her chin and behind her ears. She will appreciate your attention and will bond even quicker.
5. Groom her: Some grooming tasks, like clipping the nails, giving a bath, or pulling a tick, are unpleasant and not great bonding exercises. Brushing your dog, however, is something she will learn to appreciate and she will seek you out when it is time for this exercise. Take advantage of this opportunity.
6. Play with her: A puppy will spend a lot of time learning how to interact with the world through playing. Some of the games you can play with her are fairly mild but, although there are a lot of books warning you to not wrestle and play tug of war, remember, you are bonding with your new puppy. If you decide that these games are too rough for you or her, if you decide that she is too aggressive or hard to control, you can certainly stop. When she is a new puppy, though, concentrate on bonding!
7. Exercise her: This is the most important part of bonding with a new puppy.
Dogs learn to follow their leaders when they are out walking and your puppy will learn to follow you and bond with you when she is out by your side. Wake up a little earlier each morning and take your puppy for a walk. It will release some of her excess energy and make her less likely to develop nervous habits like separation anxiety and excessive barking, will also give you a great feeling when starting out your day, and of course will be great for bonding.
Take your dog for another long walk in the afternoon or evening when you come home. I take my dog for a final walk in the evening just before I go to sleep. None of these walks are just “potty breaks”. The whole point in the walk is to exercise, and when the dog needs she can stop to defecate-that is just an additional benefit.
I hope you can benefit from these ways to bond with your new puppy. If you follow all of these steps you will have a special puppy. She will repay you in ways you cannot even imagine.
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