There are few things in life more exciting than getting a new puppy, and it’s only natural to want them to love you right off the bat. But while it may have been love at first sight for you, it’s important to remember that it’s a very overwhelming time for your pup. After all, everything is new to them, including building a relationship with you! So, to help speed up the process and turn your new pal into a best friend for life, follow these 7 simple tips to bond with your puppy.
#1: Create the perfect setup
Just like there are certain environments that make us feel comfortable and safe, the same applies to doggos. Getting them cosy and settled in is the first step to forming a strong, long lasting bond with your puppy.
Before you do anything, ensure your home is completely puppy-proofed. That means securing cables and wires, removing choking hazards, keeping toilet lids and bins firmly closed, getting rid of any potentially harmful plants and keeping doors and windows closed.
Once your place is free from danger, be sure to invest in a good quality, comfy pet bed and plenty of toys to create a cosy space for your new family member.
#2: Let them sleep nearby (at first)
The jury is still out on whether or not sleeping in the same room as your four-legged friend negatively impacts sleep, but when they’re so young, it’s a necessity.
In the first few months of their life, your furry friend will need toilet breaks and plenty of attention at all hours of the night. For that reason, it may be a good idea to set up a crate near your bed for those first crazy weeks to make things easier both for you and your pup. Not only will this make night time toilet breaks a breeze, but sleeping so close together will only grow your bond.
Planning on going away for a night or two while your four-legged friend is still in the early stages of puppyhood? We recommend enlisting the help of an experienced Puppy Sitter to keep a close eye on them.
#3: Train them
You want your dog to be obedient, and your dog wants to spend time with you, so training is a win-win scenario! Get down to the same level as your pup and spend some dedicated training time with them. It’s not only going to help them learn new tricks, but it’ll help both of you bond.
Plus, it doesn’t hurt that training goes hand-in-hand with treats, and what doggo isn’t going to love the person feeding them yummy snacks?
There are plenty of ways you can train your fur baby on your own, but puppy preschool is a great place to start. Also, they’ll get to socialise with other dogs, which is hugely important to their development.
#4: Set rules and boundaries
Like any relationship, it’s crucial to set boundaries and enforce some ground rules with your puppy. For some Owners, this could mean identifying and enforcing no-go zones in the house (like the couch or kitchen). For others, it could mean praising and encouraging behaviours you like.
Consistency is the key here, so make sure all the members of your household are on the same page. After all, there’s no use constantly moving your pup off the couch if your partner keeps inviting them up. Likewise, punishing them (which won’t help anyway) for a behaviour that another member of the family is praising them for is only going to confuse them.
#5: Settle into a routine
One of the most important things you can do to bond with your puppy is creating a routine. Dogs tend to be creatures of habit, so forming a basic routine will build trust with them and therefore improve your relationship.
That means making sure they’re getting daily (or twice-daily) walks, eating regular, high-quality dog meals, and going to bed and waking up around the same time each day. Kind of like us humans, really! And while it’s hard to schedule potty breaks then they’re so young, it’s still worth getting them used to the idea of a dedicated toilet time.
#6: Give them space
With a face that cute, it’s only natural that you want to spend all your time with your new best mate. However, being a puppy is pretty exhausting and meeting new family members can be downright scary. That’s why it’s best to give them some space from time to time. That way, they can explore their new home on their own, play a little by themselves, then rest up and do it all again.
Another good reason to give your pup a bit of breathing room is to prevent them developing separation anxiety. Ensuring they get enough ‘me’ time as a puppy will give them the confidence to go it alone for longer periods as an adult doggo.
#7: Be patient
Introducing a new puppy into your life and into your home isn’t always going to be smooth sailing. In between all the cuddles, playtime and laughter, there’s bound to be plenty of hiccups, accidents, and maybe a destroyed sock or two.
That’s why it’s essential to be patient during the whole process. Every dog is different. They learn at different paces, settle in at different paces, and most importantly, bond at different paces. Don’t expect it to happen overnight, but give it some time, and you’ll have an unbreakable bond with your puppy.
Why is it important to bond with your puppy early on?
Having a strong relationship is beneficial to both you and your furry friend. Not only does a good bond keep you both happy, but it keeps you both healthy, too. Studies have shown that spending time with a dog can reduce blood pressure, improve our immune systems, boost self-esteem and even reduce stress. As for your four-legged buddy, giving them lots of scratches and pets can lower their blood pressure and reduce their anxiety. What’s not to love about that?