When you bring your puppy home from the breeder, you no doubt want to spend every hour of every day coddling your tiny canine as it fumbles around in the most adorable ways, begging for attention with its endearing youth behaviors. The good thing is that bonding with your puppy is not just something you want to do because you love your new family member – it is also a valuable way to make sure your puppy grows up to be healthy and well behaved. A well bonded puppy becomes a well adjusted dog, and the time you spend with your puppy now will affect how well your dog behaviors later.
Why Bond with a Puppy
Puppy bonding is not just about hoping your dog loves you. It is also about establishing yourself as alpha of the pack, so that your dog looks to you for behaviors and commands. The more your dog feels that it “needs” you, the more bonded it will be. If your puppy thinks that it is the pack leader, it will have less of a desire to strengthen its bond with you, as it will feel it is the one in charge.
That is why puppy bonding techniques are also a way to establish yourself as alpha in your household. Here are some fun and useful ways to strengthen the bond between yourself and your puppy.
1. Groom Them
All members of a pack groom others as a form of gentle affection. Grooming shows your puppy that you care for it, while also improving the comfort level of your new puppy. Teaching your dog to appreciate grooming early is also a benefit of grooming your puppy early and often.
2. Dog Training
As soon as your dog is healthy enough to be rewarded by treats, it is a good idea to try to train them using standard conditioning techniques (clicker training, leading, etc.). Training is a great way to make sure your dog stays obedient, and every time you give a treat you are both rewarding your pet for a job well done (improving its self esteem) as well as showing that you are in charge.
3. Introduce to Strangers – With Protection
As soon as your dog is used to (and appreciates) your presence, you can start socializing your puppy with strangers. This socialization is great for your dog’s future behavior towards strangers. However, it also improves your bond as long as you keep your puppy close to you and show your puppy that you are protecting it from harm. Your dog will look to you for security, and you will be right there to provide it.
4. Become Excited by Everyday Things
Dogs feed off of your energy. When you are feeding your pet or about to play a game with your pet, show your dog a great deal of excitement. Your dog will then also get very excited about the activity and extremely pleased that they shared the activity with you, improving your bond even more. It will also associate you with good things that make it happy.
5. Long, Long Walks
Taking your puppy for a walk is something you need to do anyway in order for your dog to grow up healthy. When you take your dog for regular long walks, it will also find itself enjoying your company and associating you with a good, long, physical day that calms its active mind.
Puppy Bonding is Fun and Important
All of the above techniques for bonding with your puppy are enjoyable, and likely activities that you would like to do anyway. But these activities are not just fun – they are also important for helping establish a bond between yourself and your puppy, and helping your puppy grow up to be a well behaved house member.