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Bonding with Your Adopted Dog

Bonding with Your Adopted Dog

Bonding with Your Adopted Dog

Did you recently welcome a furry friend into your home, only to feel like you’ve made the worst decision of your life? Are you lying awake at night, wondering if you should just return your dog? Trust me, I’ve been there.

When I adopted my rescue pup last year, I was certain I was ready. I work from home and have plenty of experience with dogs. I thought I could give a great life to a special canine companion. But within a week, I started questioning everything. My partner, who isn’t even a dog person, immediately bonded with the little guy. Meanwhile, I felt like a horrible person because I just couldn’t seem to connect.

I scoured Reddit, forums, and every pet website I could find, desperately searching for advice. But there wasn’t much out there about the struggle of bonding with an adopted dog. I started to worry that something was wrong with me.

As I later learned on Reddit, bonding with a rescue pup takes time – a lot of it. While some people may instantly click with a new puppy, it’s often harder with rescues who have experienced trauma or upheaval. But the good news is, you’re not alone in feeling this way. And there are plenty of things you can do to strengthen that precious bond.

Start Slow and Set Boundaries

When I first brought my dog home, I made the mistake of trying to rush the bonding process. I wanted him to love me instantly, just like my partner. But experts advise taking it slow and letting your new furry friend set the pace.

For the first few weeks, limit the number of new people and activities your dog encounters. This gives them time to adjust to their new home and get to know you at their own comfortable speed. Follow their lead – if they seem shy or anxious, don’t force them into situations they’re not ready for yet. Let them warm up to you gradually through quiet, calm one-on-one interactions.

It’s also crucial to establish clear boundaries and expectations from the start. Show your new pup which areas and items are off-limits, and use a firm “no” to communicate. This helps them understand what behavior is acceptable in their new home.

Get Physical (But Take it Slow)

One of the best ways to bond with your adopted dog is through physical touch and affection. But again, you’ll want to start slow and let them get comfortable. Try gentle grooming, petting, and even bathing to help your pup associate you with positive experiences.

When bathing your new furry friend, use the opportunity to get them accustomed to having their paws, mouth, and other sensitive areas handled. Move slowly and reward good behavior with treats. This builds trust and shows them you’re a safe, caring presence in their life.

You can also try sleeping near your dog during those first few nights, either in their bed or crate in your room. This allows them to get used to your scent and associate it with security.

Get Active Together

As you and your new pup start to feel more comfortable, incorporate physical activity into your bonding routine. Going on walks together is a great way to build trust and communication. Your dog will look to you for guidance on how to behave, so be patient and use positive reinforcement.

You can also include your dog in your workout routine – whether that’s hiking, jogging, or playing fetch in the park. The shared experience of exploration and exercise can really bring you closer.

And don’t forget about playtime! Tossing a toy, starting a game of hide-and-seek, or just engaging in some good old-fashioned roughhousing shows your dog that you’re their go-to pal for fun and excitement.

Make Them Part of Your Everyday Life

One of the simplest but most effective bonding techniques I learned is talking to your dog constantly. Narrate your day, have conversations, and make them an active participant in your routine. This helps them feel included and valued.

You can also bring your dog with you during daily tasks like gardening or household chores. Letting them observe and be near you helps them feel more comfortable and understand your communication.

And if you have the means, consider sending your new pup to doggy daycare a few days a week. This gives you some solo time to recharge while they socialize and get exercise. Then you can come back together refreshed and excited to reconnect.

Bonding with an adopted dog takes patience, time, and a whole lot of consistency. But I promise, if you stick with it, you’ll soon have a lifelong best friend who feels like they were always meant to be part of your family. And that’s a feeling like no other.

In the meantime, be kind to yourself. Adopt your new furry pal from I Have Dogs and let the magic of a shared life together unfold at its own pace. Before you know it, you’ll be inseparable.

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