adopted dog

Tips on How to Bond with Your Rescue Dog

When it comes to rescue dogs, building a special bond is much more meaningful.

Bonding with your dog is important no matter how he or she came into your life. However with a rescue dog, this new relationship needs to start off on a different foot. Dogs coming from a shelter environment have already been let down—this can mean your rescued pooch is less trusting of people, and may not want to form a new bond with yet another human. And really, can you blame him? Don’t fret! Rescue dogs can be just as happy and loving as any other dog (even more so), but it might mean you have to put in a bit of time and effort to get there. The best part about getting to that special bond is that anyone can do it and it’ll be fun and memorable for the two of you. Give these bonding activities a try, and you’ll have a new best friend in no time at all.

Quality Time

Any kind of bond starts with quality time together, and the same goes for the bond of trust you want to build with your new rescue dog. Quality time can mean a lot of different things—and it doesn’t mean you have to do anything during this time. It can be just hanging out, making the effort to go to him and talking with him. Turn on the TV and invite him to join you on the couch. The great thing about dogs is that they don’t care what you’re doing, as long as they’re included!

Play Time

Dogs love to play, and if your dog thinks that you’re fun to be around, he’s more likely to bond with you. Set aside a time for play every day, and include lots of interactive toys. Balls, tug toys, anything he can fetch—these are favorites for a reason. Treat toys are always a hit, as they involve play and food. Start by introducing new games into your daily interactions; they can go a long way to helping build that awesome bond.

Lots of Praise

When it comes to praise, you need to shower your rescue dog with both quality and quantity. While there’s nothing wrong with your average “Good boy,” you’ll want to take praise up a notch by making a big fuss over the smallest thing. Just like humans, dogs love to hear how great they are.

Getting Touchy

Nothing means as much to a dog than touch. The more you pet your dog, the stronger the bond you create. Make sure you schedule time into your day giving your rescue dog extra affectionate petting. You could even use the opportunity to learn some super chill doggy massage techniques.

Basic Training

Training your dog can help him to trust you and strengthen the bond between you. This doesn’t mean you have to sign up for a professional class—start things out casually at home with basic commands every day because practice makes perfect. Once your bond becomes stronger, take training to the next level with an obedience class and skills classes.

Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic is the Editor of, the flagship site to over 70 different pet communities, which offers pet parents a one-stop-info-shop for all things dog and cat related. Amy's been with PetGuide since the beginning, guided by the wisdom of her Shih Tzu mix and furry roommate, Oscar. Together, this pet power couple has their paw on the pulse of the pet industry, sniffing out trends, advice, news, tasty treat recipes and other tail-wagging stories.
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