Bonding With Your New
"The MOST IMPORTANT
thing you will Ever Do"
Bringing a new
dog into your home can be a very stressful experience for
him. He will be around new humans and also be in a strange
environment. These reasons make it very important for you to make
transition to home life as seamless as possible.
seamless transition into your home is accomplished by making the dog
comfortable with you and it's new surroundings. I'm not talking about
letting it sleep in your recliner or on your new leather couch. I'm
talking about "bonding" with your new dog. This is nothing to
be taken lightly. Bonding is the most important thing you will ever
do in your relationship with your dog.
process begins the second you pick him
up and head for your car. If he doesn’t feel safe with you, it
will be much harder to gain his trust. If trust is not created
quickly it can mean that it will take
much longer to create a strong bond between the two of you.
Take it slow. When you
get to the car, put him in the crate and sit beside him so he can
see you. If he's not crate trained, sit him beside you a secure him
by holding a short leash to keep him safe during the trip home. When
ever possible, have a friend drive. This will allow you to be free
to focus on your new dog during the trip. Then take a nice calm drive to his new home. (This
trip MUST NOT include any road rage moments, it needs to be a very
peaceful experience for everyone).
When you reach
home plan to spend plenty of uninterrupted quality time with him.
The temptation to have friends and relatives stop by to meet him
should be avoided at all cost until he gets used to you and his
new home. Too many people, to quickly, can overwhelm him and he
could become frightened and withdrawn.
you have already taken the time to prepare a safe environment for
him, you will now be able to spend your next 24 to 48 hours
hanging out (bonding) with him.
arrival, take him directly to the place in the yard that you would
like him to use for a bathroom. Remember, he may be nervous so he
will probably have to “GO” after the car ride. Spend a few moments, and after he
relieves himself, be sure to reward him with excited praise and
maybe a little treat.
Next, take him
for a walk. Start by walking around the yard. Then take a short walk
around the neighborhood. At this point, try to avoid direct contact
with neighborhood dogs and other people if at all possible. The
purpose of this walk is to show him that you are in control of the
situation and that you want the dog to follow your lead.
Now it’s time
to introduce him to your house. Leave the leash on for now. Once inside, allow him to discover the areas of the house
you want him to live in. By leaving the leash on, you can
control him and keep him out of any areas you don't want him in. It
will also allow you to keep him off of the sofa or any other pieces
of furniture he should not be on.
After he has
checked out the house take him back out to that special place in the yard and
give him the opportunity go potty again. Remember to reward him if/when he does.
Return to the
house and spend lots of time with him on the floor. This is the time
when the bonding process begins to take on shape. In fact, I
suggest that you spend at least the first 24 hours on the floor with
him. I actually go so far as to put a sleeping bag and pillow on the
floor so that I can live at his level for the first 24 hours.
Stay in close contact with him as much as possible for the first few
days. This will help speed up the bonding process and he will learn
very quickly to be comfortable around you.
During the bonding process take note of what your dog likes and
dislikes. This means toys, food, games, activities and so on. Does
he like his tummy rubbed, his neck scratched? Does he like to play
fetch, frisbee, hide-n-seek or chase a tennis ball? Does he like
begg'n strips or milk bones? Next, find out which things he likes
It is important to know all of these things. This information
will be extremely valuable later. Also, if
you are fun, he'll want to hang out with you! You can also use this knowledge
during later training sessions.
this first week or so do not try to do any major training. The only thing
that you may want to do is introduce a few
boundaries. Other than that, use the time to learn everything you
can about him and let him learn about you. It should just
be a "fun time". During this time, just play and hang out
together as much as possible.
While doing so he will be checking you out and you need to do the
same with him. Observe his
actions and mannerisms under a wide variety of different circumstances. You
will also see what he does to communicate with you.
Finding out all
of these things will give you great incite into his personality.
For the first few weeks, you may want to hand feed
him once in a while. I usually do it once per day for a few weeks
and then drop back to once or twice per week. This helps to build his respect for you and
it shows him that you are the source of all things good in his life.
initial bonding period has been completed (the lines of
communication have been established) you can begin your basic training.
At first he may have a very short attention span, but most dogs
learn very quickly when given proper motivation. Keep commands short
and simple. Be consistent and use the same word or sound for one
command. Teach one command at a time and be sure to praise or reward
a correct behavior. Make sure your dog
knows all of the basics: Sit, Stay and Come. Then
move up to NO and Leave It.
If you have
children and they are old enough to help raise the dog, you should
assign jobs to them before the dog arrives. This way, everyone
will know what to do and the dog will never be neglected. Set
rules for him and the family as well. Example: If the dog is
not to be allowed on the furniture, make sure everyone knows it and abides
by the rules.
time required to complete the bonding process will vary. It can take a week or two,
or it can take a month or so. It will depend on the
amount of time you have invested and the personality of the dog.
When the bond has been
established you can start building on his good habits and use
them to help his basic training. Those first days of bonding will
now start to pay off. You'll have a lot of good ideas about how to
communicate the things you want him to learn. The time you took to
praise his good behavior while you established the bond, will
now begin to reap big rewards.
One of the most important things to
remember is do not punish incorrect behavior. It's
way too soon in the relationship to discipline for any incorrect behavior.
For the first few months he will still be figuring you out and
learning what is expected of him. Punishing or yelling at him will
only create confusion and stress.
long as he is focusing his attention on you by looking up at you or
following you, he is showing you that he is looking for your
guidance. While he is watching you, this would be a good time to
teach him his name!!! When you have eye contact, say his name in a
cheerful tone of voice. This will also help him connect his name to
paying attention to you. This is an important first step in
obedience training. (Learn
to Teach the Sit, Stay,
and Come Commands)