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Bonding with your new puppy and or rescue

Dogs and humans have shared incredible bonds for over 300,000 years. Throughout history, they have collaborated in various tasks such as hunting, farming, protection, and detection. Handlers train dogs to sniff out cancer and other illnesses, showcasing their remarkable abilities.

Effective communication and clear understanding are key when working with dogs. Whether bred for work, sports, or hunting, dogs bring joy and serve as heroes to their handlers. To achieve your goals with a new pup or rescue, establishing a strong bond is essential. This bond forms the basis for training; skipping this step may lead to frustration and agitation in your puppy. Nowadays, acquiring a puppy is straightforward – save up, make the purchase, and suddenly, you have a beloved life companion. But is it really that simple?

Long ago, when dogs were first domesticated, humans and dogs had to earn each other's trust. Nowadays, many people quickly turn to obedience training with conflicting aversive corrections. While aversives can be necessary for safety, I prefer educating my clients on communicating with their dogs through short, fun, motivating play sessions, rather than the "do it or else" approach. I guide owners in building a strong relationship with their dogs while training enjoyably.

One effective method is to identify activities that your dog adores and pair them with high motivators such as praise, affection, treats, toys, or playtime. Some dogs excel in fetch or frisbee, while others thrive on using their sense of smell to find things. Some dogs relish AKC rally & obedience, while others might prefer dock diving and agility. Although sports are not mandatory for a strong bond, engaging your dog in activities that fulfill their genetic needs can strengthen your relationship based on trust and achievement. Just like humans, dogs struggle to excel when their basic needs are not met, so focus on fulfilling your dog's needs in distinctive and enjoyable ways!

Here are some paw-some tips to forge an unbreakable bond with your furry pal!

  • At minimum, provide activities for your dog's mind, body and bond every day!

  • Feed their kibble by hand during short, fun training lessons.

  • Make sure to spend quality time together.

  • Engage in playtime with your puppy.

  • Differentiate between training your pup during playtime and calm moments.

  • Boost confidence and a sense of accomplishment through trick training.

  • Teach them how to unwind and relax with you.

  • Follow up with a soothing body massage and meditation session.

  • Take your dogs for walks and embark on new adventures.

  • Support and nurture their confidence.

  • Explore new activities.

  • Advocate for your dog to ensure they always feel safe and secure, fostering a reciprocal bond of trust and security.

Rules to building a healthy relationship:

  • Don’t be a Boss, Be a parent- You want to guide them and teach them about the world and its dangers. You want to set them up for success, and encourage them to make the right choices to stay safe.

  • Parents are leaders- Be your dog’s leader. A good leader does not just tell her followers what to do: they show them what to do and how it should be done through compassionate education. 

  • Your dog is always learning from you. Pay attention to your own behavior and how your dog reacts to it.

  • HAVE FUN! Keep training sessions short, upbeat, and fun. Be their cheerleader in life. Try mixing fun tricks into the obedience to keep things fresh and fun. If you or your pup are struggling with something, think about how you can make it 1 or even 5 steps easier to build their skill set and set them up for success.

  • Play with your dog and do things that are fun for both of you!

  • Don't let yourself get frustrated, always end a lesson on a good note!

  • Don't get discouraged when your dog fails or you and or your dog have an off day. Training isn't a linear process, it's more like a roller coaster that we race down while also dogging life struggles. So try to stay positive even on the toughest of days and you will see a positive shift in your and your dog's relationship!

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