How To Bond With Your Rescue Dog Or New Puppy


Last Updated: November 17, 2023 | 6 min read | 1 Comment

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Here’s how it works.

woman bonding with rescue dot on a pation drinking a fruity beverage

Let’s discuss how to bond with your rescue dog after you bring her home (learn more about the rescue process) and why bonding with your dog is so important. Here are some ideas on how to start making sure there is a smooth transition for you both and finding ways to make your relationship grow. Especially with rescue dogs who might be coming from a traumatic experience prior to adoption.

Dog’s Are Man (And Woman’s) Best Friend

According to Wisdom Panel’s 2020 Pet Census, 72% of dog parents and 32% of cat parents admit they’ve canceled plans to spend time with their pets.

How To Bond With Your Dog

One of the best things you can do for your dog is simply to spend time with her. It’s important that you make time for your dog. A dog isn’t meant to just wait at home for you and then watch you eat dinner, watch television, clean the house, etc. You must do good things for your dog to show her you care. It’s quite similar to a relationship with someone you’re dating. Below are some tips for how to bond with a new dog.

“We were so excited when we adopted our dog, Sally, from the shelter. We could tell she was a bit nervous/anxious on the car ride home. We kept her on a leash while we walked her through the house at first, then after a couple of minutes, we let her have free reign. She explored her new home, and shortly after, we found ourselves cuddled up on the couch with her. We could tell she was exhausted after an eventful day, so we decided to calm her and give her some affection that first evening at home with us. I think this was the best thing we could’ve done for her then.”

– Kimberly Alt, Canine Journal

5 Dog Bonding Activities

1. Play Games

After the workday is finished, we spend time with Sally playing fetch, pulling on her rope toy, or going for a walk/run. Sally loves exploring new places, so we try to change up our walking/running routes. That way, she can explore different scents and be exposed to new areas. We try to do as many of these things as a family, so we can all bond together.

2. Dog Sports

Some dogs enjoy participating in dog sports. With so many options, from agility and disc dog to flyball and herding, you are sure to find a sport you and your dog will love doing together! It’s a productive way to keep them active which helps maintain a healthy weight. Even just going to the dog park and playing toss with a ball is a fun game for them.

3. Dog Play Dates

Another thing we do with her is have “play dates” with other dogs. Your dog needs to be exposed to other canines, and even though Sally is playing with another dog during this time, it’s an excellent opportunity to see how well she listens to us. This is a good test to see how our relationship is with Sally. As you most likely know, two dogs can cause a bit of trouble, so during these times, we correct Sally, and if she listens, it shows that she respects us even when her pals are around.

4. Snuggle Time

My husband’s favorite bonding activity is cuddling up with Sally — on the floor, on the couch, basically anywhere. We give her lots of petting during cuddle time, especially on her belly, because that’s one of her favorite spots. Dogs especially love to have their belly rubbed and be scratched (behind their ears). You can use your hand or a scratching tool like this one from bearbark that also removes dirt and helps prevent fur tangles.

5. Learn A New Trick

Training your dog to do tricks is another bonding activity. While it might seem like a chore for humans, mental stimulation is healthy for dogs, and they enjoy pleasing their pet parents. These training tips from PetMD can help you train in a way that will strengthen your bond with your dog.

Take an obedience class or some other type of training class with your dog. (You can even take online obedience classes.) A class requires you to spend a certain amount of time per night with all your attention on your dog. No distractions, just you and your dog learning new tricks and commands together.

“We took an obedience class with Sally and saw huge improvements in her ability to learn commands, plus we grew closer in our relationship. Not only did we work with Sally during class, but we also had “homework,” which gave us even more time dedicated to her.”

– Kimberly Alt, Canine Journal

Tips On Bonding With Your New Puppy Or Dog

When we adopted Sally, my husband wanted to make sure we both fed her once a day. At first, I thought this was a little silly, but I was all for it because it meant he had to do the morning feeding (and I got to sleep in some) since he isn’t home for her afternoon feeding. It turns out; he was thinking about this correctly (don’t tell him I said that!). Learning to bond with your new puppy or dog can sometimes be difficult if your furry pal is attached to one person. These tips will help you get over that hump.

Sometimes, dogs tend to cling to one family member, typically the one that feeds and walks them. To avoid this type of behavior, have other people in the family feed and walk your dog. These are positive activities that dogs generally enjoy, so all family members must be involved. Also, make sure other family members are giving treats, petting, playing, and spending time with your dog in general. Your dog will start to associate the other family members with positive, safe experiences, which will help her be less clingy to just one person in the household.

Best Pet Insurance For Rescue Dogs & Puppies

Best OverallBest ValueFastest Claim ProcessingBest Multiple Pet DiscountBest Newcomer
Pets BestFigoHealthy PawsEmbraceLemonade
Read ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead Review

As a puppy, your dog has probably not shown any significant health concerns at a young age. Since pet insurance companies do not cover pre-existing conditions, the younger your dog is when you signup, the better coverage you will likely receive throughout their lifetime.

Further, pet insurance can help support you financially during the unpredictable puppy years when dogs are more likely to chew on things they shouldn’t and run into dangerous situations. And as for rescue dogs, they can take some time to adjust to their new home life and can get into their own trouble too.

Fortunately for you, if you sign up for pet insurance before your dog is diagnosed with a health condition or suffers from an accident (post-waiting periods), it can help you cover the expenses.

Choosing the best pet insurance for your dog is a personal decision. Still, we recommend selecting a company based on coverage, customer service and reputation, claim repayment timeline, price, and available plan customizations.

We’ve selected the best pet insurance companies and evaluated them in our pet insurance reviews. Our article includes our top three picks and the most popular pet insurance companies in the marketplace.

Can Humans Have Bonds With Any Animal?

The human and dog bond isn’t a new or difficult concept to grasp. However, humans bonding with cheetahs, penguins, gorillas, alligators, and lions may be tricky to wrap your head around. Check out these amazing bonds between animals and humans.

Why Is Bonding With Your Dog Important?

You’re on a walk with Fido and decide to let him off leash for a little bit. You’ve been building up to this moment and feel you can trust him. Out pops a rabbit on the trail. Fido begins to chase the rabbit, but you holler, “Fido, NO!” Fido stops and comes to you immediately. Do you know why Fido did this? Because you and he share a strong bond with one another.

You never know when something unexpected may happen, and the stronger your bond with your dog is, the better prepared you will be to give your dog commands, and he will listen. For example, when we first adopted Sally, she would try to sneak out the front door. After a few weeks of obedience class and strengthening our bond together, she stopped this behavior.

These bonds take time to create, so don’t feel discouraged if your dog isn’t there yet. I’ll admit, we aren’t quite there with Sally, but we hope to be someday. Bonding with a new dog isn’t something that happens overnight. Each dog is different, so the timeline for when you both have complete trust in one another will vary from case to case.

Did you know that women and dogs share a unique, tight bond? It’s actually quite fascinating, and we encourage you to learn more about the bond shared between women and canines in our article.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

Notify of
1 Comment
Oldest Most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Scroll to Top
Send this to a friend