As a dog owner, you might feel at sea as you learn how to build a better bond with your dog, but growing closer to your pet isn't rocket science. Even for a first-timer or someone who rescued an older dog, getting your bearings around a new animal simply takes time and patience. Offering attention and care will go a long way toward building a bond with dogs, but you don't have to go it alone. Reach out to a certified animal behaviorist and your dog's vet for advice as needed.
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How to bond better with your dog
The basics of dog care may seem obvious, but if you research what your particular dog needs in terms of nutrition, you'll help him feel better physically, and this in turn will make him a better pet in your home. Ask your vet which kibble amounts and types your dog requires based on his age, weight, and breed and be sure to learn how to best use treats when you're training and rewarding him. Be very cautious when it comes to feeding a dog human food from the table, as certain items may cause discomfort and even grave illness in some pets.
Exercise and play regularly
You both need a workout, so do it together and you'll be building a bond with your dog. Giving your pet a chance to run free in a fenced area or dog run so she has a chance to frolic on her own is one way, but leashed walks are just as beneficial and are easier to achieve.
Remember that an underexercised dog can exhibit signs of boredom and overexcitement, so make outings a priority. Equally important is playtime, which is truly bonding time for your dog. Keep a basket of toys handy as well as some outdoor options so she can run, chase, fetch, and chew to her heart's content.
Stick to a routine
Following the same schedule when it comes to walks, meals, treats, and more can ease your dog's stress and give you both something to count on. Training early is a part of this process, which means offering extra attention as you teach your dog where to do his business, when to sit on command, and which toys are approved for his gnawing pleasure. As you learn how to bond better with your dog, train him consistently but with a firm though gentle hand. This way, you'll both feel confident in your abilities as you mix and mingle with other dogs and people in the greater world.
Make it safe for your pet
Set your expectations from the beginning so your dog knows how to behave. For example, if you don't set up a safety gate in front of the laundry room, your dog won't learn that she's not supposed to enter it and chew on your brand-new tennis socks.
The same holds for your outdoor space. Your bond will strengthen if your pup feels safe and secure in her happy place in the yard. This might entail a sturdy fence or electric version, a designated place to dig (such as a doggie sandbox), and a kiddie pool for cooling off on a hot day. At the very least, be sure you have an appropriately sized dog crate where your pet can retreat to rest when she's tired or simply relax if she's overstimulated.
Sleep close to your dog
If your dog's very young, you'll want to consider having him sleep near you at first so you can easily get up to take him out when he needs to pee. If your dog's crate isn't too heavy to move each time, place it near your bed when it's time to tuck in. Alternatively, set up a dog bed near yours so he knows where to settle when the lights go off. Whether to allow your dog to share your own big bed is a personal choice, so weigh the pros and cons before you invite your pup to jump up.
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