How To Bond With Your Rescue Dog

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How To Bond With Your Rescue Dog

Rescue dogs have an abundance of love to offer.

Though these canine friends will provide the best companionship and loyalty you can imagine, it can take time to get to this point.

Many rescued dogs have a complicated past filled with uncertainty, so we will need to put in the work to gain their trust.

In this article we will discuss the best ways to bond with your rescue dog, and offer you some helpful tips to better understand your new canine friend.

How To Bond With Your Rescue Dog

Understanding Your Rescue Dog’s Point Of View

Before you begin the process of bonding with your rescue dog, you should first try to understand your dog’s point of view.

Though we may find it easy to immediately fall in love with our pups, it’s not as simple for them.

Many of these dogs end up in shelters and rescues due to losing a previous home for whatever reason, causing a sudden shift in their world.

Many of these pups were uprooted from their lives and they cannot understand why. 

If this were your past, you can imagine how hard it would be to settle into your new home and trust your new family.

It can take time for a dog to realize they are no longer in danger and to begin to form bonds with the new people in their lives.

Learning About Your Rescue Dog

While this isn’t always possible, it’s always best to learn as much as possible about your new rescue dog.

This can help you better understand the behaviors you may see in your pup once they enter your home, as well as offer you insight on what they have been through in the past.

This doesn’t have to change anything throughout your bonding process, but it’s always helpful to have a deep understanding of the path that led your rescue pup to you.

If there is information available about your rescued furry friend, we suggest trying to learn as much as possible.

Check out our list of questions to ask about your rescue dog.

How To Bond With Your Rescue Dog

Bonding with a rescue dog can be a bit more challenging than a dog purchased from a breeder, but the love they will ultimately offer is worth it.

To help you create a lasting bond with your new canine companion, let’s discuss the best ways to gain their love below.

Offer Patience And Understanding

From the moment you welcome a rescue dog into your home, you will need to offer plenty of patience and understanding.

The stress of this sudden environmental change can be overwhelming, especially if the dog has had an uncertain past.

It will take time for a rescue dog to not only let their guard down, but to also begin to bond with those around them.

When adopting a canine friend, you should always keep the 3-3-3 rule in mind.

This rescue rule states that it takes 3 days for a dog to no longer be afraid of their new home, 3 weeks to finally feel comfortable in their new home, and 3 months for their true personality to shine.

The road from adoption to true bonding can be long for some pups, so patience is essential in helping these dogs succeed.

We know how much you want your pup to bond with you and practicing patience is the only way for this to happen.

By giving your dog space to warm up to you and their new home, you are ensuring a special bond to come.

Form A Routine

Many people are unaware of just how much dogs crave routine and structure.

Routine is especially crucial for a rescue dog, as they have been subjected to so much change throughout their lives.

A daily routine will help your rescue dog learn that not only can they rely on this new routine, but they can also rely on their new home.

A simple routine can allow your shelter dog to let their guard down, as they can have a general idea of what’s to come each day.

As they become accustomed to their new routine and life, they can begin to bond with those around them.

Dogs will also begin to open up to those involved in their daily routines, ranging from those who feed them to those who take them on walks.

Positive Reinforcement With Every Accomplishment

Rescue dogs are often very insecure in their own skin.

This can be a result of everything from an ever changing environment to a traumatic past, causing them to struggle with confidence.

Positive reinforcement can help not only build their overall confidence, but realize they are in a loving home that supports them.

Positive reinforcement makes a dog feel good, especially ones that are learning how to feel secure in their new home.

Positive reinforcement should be offered to rescue dogs as they maneuver life in their new home.

This can include:

  • When they go potty outside
  • Learn a new trick
  • Finish their food
  • Walk on a lead correctly

The best ways to offer positive reinforcement include offering praise, giving treats, petting your dog, and offering any other reward they enjoy. 

Limit Any Overwhelming Experiences

When you welcome a rescue dog into your home, they are likely already overwhelmed for the first few weeks.

They are constantly taking in new sights and smells, as well as learning how to interact with their new family.

Learning how to adapt can be hard enough, so any overwhelming experiences should be avoided as best as possible.

This includes having too many visitors, interacting with unfamiliar dogs, making loud noises, and more.

While you can slowly introduce these experiences, it’s best to limit them in the first weeks.

Make Time For Play Sessions

Playing with your rescue dog can be an excellent way to help the two of you bond.

Play sessions can allow your pup to not only let their guard down, but learn just how fun it can be to be silly with their new family.

These fun play sessions will become ingrained in their mind, and help them associate you with happy experiences.

Some of the best interactive games for you and your rescue dog include variations of fetch, tug of war, frisbee, and any other activity that promotes the two of you playing together.

Once you make regular play sessions a part of your routine, you will be surprised at how quickly your rescue pup falls in love with you.

Daily Exercise Together

Daily exercise can be a wonderful time for a rescue dog to bond with their new owner.

This is an opportunity for you to spend one on one time with each other, as well as forming a regular routine that you can follow through with each day.

Dogs bond with their owners through structure and stability, as well as shared experiences.

Daily walks and adventures offer both of these things benefits.

Create A Cozy Sleep Space Near You

Offering your rescue dog a place to sleep near you can help the two of you bond.

Though it may take some time for your new pup to let their guard down around you and rest, it will ultimately strengthen your bond when they finally do.

You can encourage your dog to sleep near you by making a cozy bed in your room, or even on your bed.

It may take time for your pup to rest in these areas, but knowing it is there could encourage them to give it a try.

Basic Obedience Training

Basic obedience training is one of the best ways to bond with a new rescue dog.

Not only does basic training encourage you and your pup to spend time together, but positive reinforcement throughout this process can build their confidence.

As your pup learns more tricks, they will become more and more excited to continue the process.

Before you know it, your rescue pup will become your shadow.

Offer Plenty Of Cuddles When They Are ready

Once your dog has become comfortable enough to appreciate belly rubs and cuddles, be sure to offer them at any given opportunity!

Petting your dog can release hormones that help them feel more connected to you, which will further strengthen the bond you have been working on.

Cuddle time is a wonderful way to show your pup how much you love them, and prove just how wonderful it is to be in a loving home.

How Long Will It Take My Rescue Dog To Bond With Me?

Tips On How To Bond With Your New Rescue Dog

As we mentioned above, it can take time for a rescue dog to become comfortable in their new surroundings.

It can take some dogs months to allow their true personality to shine, and just as much time to form a close bond with their new family.

Every rescue dog has a different background, so there is no way to predict the timeline in which they will become bonded to their new owner.

However, by following the steps we listed above, you can speed up the process and encourage the bond.

As long as you practice patience and understanding, your rescue pup will eventually become your best furry friend.

Final Thoughts On How To Get Your Rescue Dog To Bond With You

Bonding with a rescue dog can take time, but there is no process more rewarding.

By giving your pup the space and time they need to warm up to you, you can ensure a beautiful friendship to come.

Peter Schoeman profile

Peter Schoeman

Peter was the creator of the The Dog Adventure. CharityPaws acquired The Dog Adventure in early 2022 in an effort to share our mission of rescuing animals to more readers. He writes about all topics related to dog training, nutrition and the best dog equipment. He resides with his wife, 2 kids and one very cute labradoodle.

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