Bonding With Your Pet – How To Build A Relationship

Bonding with a pet is an important move to make. One needed to ensure a long-lasting and happy relationship. While bonding may come naturally to many, others can struggle and don’t know where to begin. The process can be much easier when you get your pet as a baby. As they grow they adapt and become familiar with you and your habits. Bonding can be harder if you are adopting an adult shelter pet though. The saying, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, may not be entirely true but it does take some extra effort!

Bonding with your Pet

  • Leave them alone – If your new pet seems unsure of you, don’t force the situation. Let your new pet – be it a dog, cat, bunny, or guinea pig, be the first to initiate contact. Often times confining your pet to the same area as you while sitting quietly will entice them to investigate you. Don’t try to pet them until they’re comfortable being near you. Do they cower under things? We’ve heard that the best way to bond with something like a baby bunny is to sit in an empty bathtub with them, forcing them to be near you instead of cowering under the nearest piece of furniture!
  • Treats! – Don’t ever underestimate the power of a treat! The initial pet bonding time is all about making your animal have positive associations with you. Once they are comfortable being near you, start petting them, scratching behind the ears, and dole out a treat or two. Dog and cat treats are easy to come by, but for smaller pets like rabbits, try a little bit of banana! They can smell it a long way off!
  • Consistency – If you want to form a strong bond you have to be around your pet regularly. During the bonding process is not the time for vacations and pet sitters! Make yourself available to your pet regularly and be sure to try to work them into your daily routine. Consistency builds a stable and safe environment.

Remember that patience is key, especially if you have a shelter pet that has had a rough life. Try visiting the pet at the shelter a couple times before you take them home. Just like with any relationship trust and comfort must be established before any true affection can grow!

photo credit: OLAF via photopin (license)

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