The addition of a new puppy to your home can be an exciting and fun experience, but one that requires plenty of hard work, diligence and good, old-fashioned TLC. If you develop a strong bond with your new pup, you have a pal that you can count on.
When Do Puppies Bond With Their Owners?
Puppies are, in many ways, clean slates. In the majority of situations, a new owner can develop the beginnings of a bond with a puppy practically right off the bat, according to the Humane Society of Missouri. Puppies are not usually like adult dogs, who may or may not have experienced traumatic experiences with other humans in the past. Despite this, some puppies may take more time than others to connect to their new families. All puppies are different, and all of them go into new situations equipped with different experiences and backgrounds. Some puppies, for example, may be more attached to their littermates and siblings than others, which may make them initially more reluctant to bond with people.
If a puppy is around 3 months old or perhaps even a little bit younger than that, he may be especially speedy at bonding with the people in his new life. Older puppies may not bond to you as quickly, but with a little perseverance and love can be well on their way in no time.
Negative associations early on can often make the bonding process a lot more difficult. If an individual employs fear as a scolding and training tactic, for instance, the puppy may, instead of bonding, hide away from the "scary person." The key to properly -- and quickly -- connecting with your puppy is developing trust, and lots of it. Trust can come about in many ways, from spending quality time with your pup and helping him become increasingly more self-assured to playing with him and enjoying plenty of brisk, energetic outdoor strolls together. Bonding is something that requires patience. It may or may not come about instantly, but it's always worth the effort.
When puppies go into new homes, everything is unfamiliar to them at first -- and perhaps even a little daunting and confusing. Encourage smooth and quick bonding by making sure your wee pooch is as comfy as possible in his new surroundings. Excessive noise and large crowds of people are both things that can overwhelm puppies, so keep them out of your new puppy's life. Allow your puppy to gain comfort and confidence at his own pace; keep things mellow and relaxed in the meantime.
By Naomi Millburn
DogChannel.com: Do's and Don'ts of Bonding With Your Dog
Animal Planet: Bonding With Your New Dog
Humane Society of Missouri: Puppy - Getting Started Off Right
PBS Tips from Matty: Bonding With Your Dog
ASPCA Complete Guide to Dogs; Sheldon L. Gerstenfeld
Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine: House Training Your New Puppy
About the Author
Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.