New Dog. Now What? 5 Steps To Building A Bond With Your New Dog.

Whether you just got a new puppy or a senior, every dog comes into your home desperately wanting to feel a part of your pack. There’s tons to do at first, but too often people overlook the most important part of welcoming a new dog into your home: Building a Bond.

A bond between dog and human makes everything from training to general obedience easier. You’ve read the books. Your teaching your dog his new place to go potty, or to knock it off with the counter surfing. Maybe even to “go lay down”… but how the heck do you build a bond?

Here’s 5 Simple Steps to start building a bond with your dog from Fernando Camacho of FernDog Training LLC in New York and New Jersey. They’re really simple, but incredibly powerful way to prevent or address behavior issues and leave you with a happy, healthy dog.


Sounds super simple, right? Maybe too simple? Here’s the thing… walking for us is more often a means of getting from point A to B than it is an experience. But for dogs, it’s an instinctual need. Walking as a pack is an experience for dogs. It’s the foundation of all communication. It helps build the relationship between human (Pack Leader) and dog, while also releasing physical energy.

Fern recommends at least a half hour a day, and more if you’ve got it. Look at it this way… you’ll be building a trusting relationship with your dog while chipping away at that New Year’s Resolution for yourself!


Dogs need it. Some dogs need an absurd amount of it. Most dogs don’t get enough. So make it fun! Daily walks are a great way to exercise your dog, but playtime is too. Play with your dog. Toss a ball. Play chase for a few minutes. Playing allows your dog to release physical energy that builds up and can lead to unwanted behaviors while also building your bond.

Things get busy, we totally understand. So dog daycare is another great option to ensure your dog gets the exercise they need. At Canine to Five, every dog gets to play with each other and do behavior exercises like group sit/stays with the Pack Leaders. It’s a workout for their body and mind! Even a couple times a month gives dogs the exercise and socialization they need to be more balanced and happy in the home.


We all do it. We’re on the look out for the unwanted behaviors like jumping or counter surfing so we can correct it, but then 90% of our communication with our dog ends up being corrections. When they’re being good, we’re just relieved and don’t want to risk interrupting it. Imagine if that was your relationship with another human being. $10 says that relationship wouldn’t last that long.

So, shift your thinking and be on the look out for all the WANTED behavior your dog displays and reward it. Mark that behavior with a treat, a pet, or a “Good Dog!” Your dog will naturally shift to the behaviors that get this response from you while keeping things more positive and fun. According to Fern, 80-90% of your communication to your dog each day should be praise for good behavior, and 10-20% of corrections.


We’re so relieved every time our dog is calm, settled, or resting, we forget to reward that. This is the same idea as #3 on the list, but connected to state of mind. Remember: State of mind dictates behavior, so let your dog know that a calm is a state of mind they want to be in by offering treats, pets, and praise for it. Be careful not to hype them up, since that may send the message that you’re praising excitability, and you don’t want that. But rather calmly offer the praise or treat to reward the moment.


Shut your mouth. Really. A lot of hang ups or barriers to a Human/Dog bond springs from the reality that we are Verbal Communicators and dogs are Non-Verbal communicators. They communicate through energy, body language, etc. We use words, and that’s just a whole lot of babble to your dog majority of the time. We’re not saying throw out talking all together, just use less of it. Practice communicating with your dog in other ways, like through eye contact or energy. Talk to your dog less and you’ll begin to feel a difference in their behavior and their bond to you.


Have more questions? We’re here for you. Just stop by the desk next time you bring your dog in for dog daycare or dog boarding. We’ll help you find the answers you need to build a lasting bond with your new dog. Or check out Fern discussing the 5 Steps in this YouTube video.



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