Pet Bonding 101
You’ve probably heard all about the special bond that exists between a pet and its owner, but if you’re new to pet ownership, you may be struggling to form that bond. Before you throw up your hands and assume that you aren’t cut out for owning a pet, try these seven ways to build trust, promote loyalty and, ultimately, connect at the heart with your pet.
Set aside time to Hang out
If you want to bond with your pet, you have to actually spend time with it. Most pets enjoy routine, so set aside a specific time each day to completely focus on your furry friend. What you do during your time together is up to you, but if you keep your pet time sacred, you'll be bonded before you know it.
Pet your pet
Pets are called "pets" because petting is part of the gig. As you pet your animal, the animal becomes accustomed to your touch and begins to trust you. As trust grows, your feelings reciprocate and bonding begins.
Make time for grooming
Have you ever watched a mama animal with her babies? A lot of her time is spent licking and grooming her little ones. No one's asking you to lick your pet, but take a cue from the animal kingdom and spend some time brushing and cleaning Fido or Fluffy. This type of intimate interaction feels natural to your pet and helps you grow closer.
Make a play date
Every pet has a distinct personality, and playing with your pet allows you to see its full range. The more you can appreciate your pet's personality, the more connected you'll feel to it.
Eats & treats
They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach... so maybe men aren't all that different from animals. Your pet's dependence on you for food provides the perfect opportunity for bonding. As your pet begins to trust you as a food source, a ritual around meals develops. Allowing yourself to enjoy this process can really bring you closer to your pet.
Take a hike
While not every type of pet is suited for an actual hike, most pets benefit from and appreciate regular exercise. Like many other forms of bonding, exercising with your pet helps you develop a knowledge and understanding of one another that enables you to sync expectations and routines.
A happy pet home is a pet home with boundaries. When you set rules and expectations for your pets, they become comfortable with you in the leadership role, and you become comfortable as the leader. Boundaries may be difficult to set at first, but when you know your pet will respond to your commands, you'll feel confident in your pet-owner relationship.
More on bonding with your pets
How to bond with your rescue dog
Dog Training Made Easy is a series of quick videos to teach your dog basic training and commands. In this episode, learn how to bond with your dog.
More tips for pet owners