Building a bond with your dog is always important. It’s the basis of your friendship and the structure of the love you and your pet share. With adult rescue dogs, however, your bond is especially important. Many adult dogs were either left at shelters by previous owners or raised without much individual attention which can cause trust issues and fear of humans. Still, building up a bond with adult rescues is certainly doable! While it might take some time, adult dogs are capable of learning, adapting and loving. Here are several ways how to bond with an adult rescue dog to ensure you help the process by proving your trustworthiness and giving your dog what they need emotionally. Next thing you know, you’ll have a best friend for life!
How to Bond with an Adult Rescue Dog
1. Give them time to adjust
It’s important to remember that adult rescue dogs had a history before you, with personalities, expectations and routines that might be different from yours. This means they’ll likely need some time to adjust to your way of living and their new environment. They might even feel so overwhelmed that they retreat into a private area or seem stand-offish at first. Instead of hugging or crowding your new pet, give them time to get their bearings and understand your lifestyle. Show them your patience by keeping your physical contact loving but brief and keeping your voice light. This should allow your dog to adjust to their surroundings and you, easing them out of their shell and introducing them to their new life.
Show your reliability by sticking to a routine with your new dog. Keep their meals regular in time, location and size, and maintain a regular exercise rhythm. Be sure to include play time in their daily routine to build a relationship based on fun and love. If you work during the day, try to take off time during their first few days home so you can help them adjust to their new environment. Then, try to keep their schedule consistent while you’re at work, whether that means taking them to doggie daycare or hiring a dog walker. Their ability to expect daily activities will help your dog relax and begin to feel that they can depend on you.
3. Invite them into your life
Then, once they do adjust, include them in your daily life. Spending quality time with your rescue dog will help both of you grow accustomed to each other and develop your bond. Take them on car rides, hang out together on the couch, or share the bed. If you decide to let your dog sleep next to you, however, make sure they’re comfortable in your bedroom. If your dog is still new, try to introduce them to your partner beforehand, use a comforting mattress with plenty of room, and try to avoid using unfamiliar sound machines. These small details will help make sure your dog feels like they belong in your bedroom and allow them to let their guard down for some cuddling.
Rescue dogs require lots of praise in order to feel welcomed and loved. Shower them with different praises whenever they deserve it to help cement your bond. Here, your tone of voice and facial expression are very important: keep your voice high and smile while petting them. This should help build their confidence and signal to them that they can trust you to reward them for good behavior. Positive reinforcement also helps train older dogs who are constantly looking to be validated by their owners.
Adult rescue dogs sometimes need a little extra love but are always a blessing. Find the balance that works for both of you and start having fun with your new best friend! These are just a few ways we showed you how to bond with an adult rescue dog- how will you bond with yours? Let us know on our Facebook page!