Do you think that your dog trusts you?
Are you having issues bonding with a newly adopted rescue dog or puppy?
Well, then it seems like you need advice how to earn a dog’s trust and build a sound relationship between the two of you.
People often think that their new pet will instantly like them and trust them. But, in reality, this rarely happens.
After all, you’re a stranger who has suddenly appeared in Max’s life. So, it’s completely natural for Max to be scared and untrusting in the first few weeks or even months until he gets to know you better. If your new pup was previously neglected or abused, trust comes even harder to him.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to show your pet that you mean well.
Here are seven tips on how to earn a dog’s trust.
How Do You Earn a Dog’s Trust?
#1 Be gentle
You’re probably excited to greet the new member of your family, but you must remember that this is a stressful time for Max, especially if he is a rescue dog.
He is surrounded by new people and new things. Your house seems scary and unfamiliar. That’s why Max might be even more terrified if you approach him acting all excited or you start cuddling him on the spot.
Also, your excitement might be misunderstood, and it could trigger the dog’s flight or fight response. That’s the last thing you want.
What’s more, if you start your relationship with your dog on the wrong foot, it might take you a while to fix things. So keep your calm and speak to Max softly.
#2 Don’t get angry
A dog that doesn’t have proper house training or a young puppy might be a real test for your patience. But it goes without saying that you should never yell, kick, bully or hit your dog, no matter how frustrated you feel.
That’s the worst you can do, which will certainly damage your relationship and make your dog wary of you.
If you feel like you’re about to lose your temper, go out of the room and go somewhere to calm down. You’ll never earn a dog’s trust if you’re not in control of your emotions.
►►Need some help with house training? Check out Everything You Need to Know About Potty Training a Dog!
# 3 Give him space
When you bring a new dog home, your first step should be making him feel safe and relaxed in his new surroundings.
Don’t force him to interact with you if he doesn’t want to or if he looks scared. That won’t end well for both of you. Instead, give him some space so that he can get to know you and your family.
My advice is to fashion him a crate in a quiet corner of your living room where he can hide but observe your actions and activities. Don’t forget to add toys and make it as comfortable as you could. In time, the dog will get used to your presence and will seek you out.
►►Check out Puppy Crate Training That’s Easy as 1-2-3 for tips on using the crate!
# 4 Consistency is key
To gain a dog’s trusts, you have to be consistent in how you treat him.
Dogs like routines, stability, and predictable owners. They feel safe when they know that you’ll take care of them and provide food and comfort. Most importantly, they feel safe when they know what you expect of them.
But if you’re constantly changing the rules and sending mixed signals, Max won’t trust you.
For example, if you allow Max to chew your old shoes, but you scold him for destroying a new pair of shoes – you’re inconsistent in your behavior and confusing your pet. So, think ahead what behavior you would like to encourage.
#5 Pay attention to your dog
If you want to earn a dog’s trust, you have to listen to him and observe his body language.
Sometimes Max might not be doing what you want because he is feeling tired, depressed or sick. He can’t say it to you with words, but there are always subtle signs that will show you that something is wrong.
Furthermore, learn what your dog loves to do so that you can bond over the experience. For example, if he likes to play fetch, play fetch. If he likes walks in the dog park, take him there as much as possible.
# 6 Protect your dog
Most people think that dogs are the ones that protect, not the ones that need protection. But that’s not true.
Sometimes your dog will need you to be there for him and defend him. For example, if someone is bothering your dog, you have to intervene and remove the dog from the situation. By doing that, you’re showing your dog that he can trust you to help him.
In addition to this, don’t place your dog in situations where you know he will react negatively or feel threatened. It’s not fair to Max, and it will make it harder for your to earn his trust.
#7 Spend quality time with your pet
This tip might sound obvious, but people sometimes adopt a dog, and they just don’t spend enough time with him. You have to play games, go for walks, provide cuddles, not just food, and allow Max to be part of your life.
Spending an hour or so after dinner is certainly not enough. Besides, the more time you spend with your pet, the quicker you’ll bond.
Giving a rescue dog a chance for a forever home is one of the best things you can do as a pet owner. However, earning a dog’s trust might take a few weeks or months, so you should be willing to commit to such a responsibility.
And if you’re wondering if it’s worthed, it is. What you’ll gain in return is a loyal companion who will be there for you for the rest of his life. Just don’t violate that trust you’ve worked so hard to earn.