by Good Dog People June 04, 2020 5 min read

A little trust can go a long way, especially when it comes to the special relationship every pet parent builds with their dog. However, it’s important to remember that trust has to be earned - as hard as it might be, you have to accept that your pup may not instantly trust you. This is especially so if you’re about to adopt a trained dog from a shelter, that might not have received as much love as they should have. 

Thankfully, it can be easy to build trust if you put in enough love and effort into caring for your pup and showering them with the attention and affection they deserve. You might be wondering how you can bond with your pup all while helping them feel safe and settled in comfortably in a new environment, so let’s dive into these tips on how to build trust with your dog!

#1 Patience Is Key

Top 3 Tips For Building Trust With Your Dog

This tip is especially important if you’re planning to adopt a rescue from the dog shelter as your pup may have experienced neglect or other rough situations in their previous home. Trust takes time to build, and it’s all about consistency - your pup wants to make sure you’ll always be there for them before they give you their complete trust and love.

If you’re dealing with an anxious dog, give WAHL’s Four in One Calming Formula Shampoo a try when bath time comes around as this specially formulated pet shampoo can help clean, condition, detangle and moisturize your pup’s coat, all while helping to soothe your pup.

Regardless, for the first few weeks and maybe even months of caring for your new pup, they may not necessarily open up to you as much as you’d like them to. Nevertheless, don’t rush it! While it will take a lot of coaxing and constant attention, it will be ultimately worth it when you’ve managed to build an unshakeable bond with your new furry friend!

#2 Give Them Some Space

Top 3 Tips For Building Trust With Your Dog

When your pup first enters their new home, introduce them to their new environment by putting them on a leash and bringing them from room to room. Once you get to the final stop of the house tour - their bedroom, take their leash off to signify that this is their safe space. This will help them associate the space with calm and safety. 

Throughout their life, your pup will likely undergo some stressful situations, especially when it comes to adjusting to their new environment. This is why having a neutral area they can escape to when they feel threatened or stressed is so important. 

Mark this space out with some playpen fencing like Dr. Cage’s Play Pen. You could also include an appropriately-sized dog crate for your pup to rest in. Fill this space with puppy supplies and feed them doggie treats here to help them understand the purpose of the space.

If you are worried about how they’re doing while you’re giving them the space they need, use Pawbo+’s Wireless Interactive Pet Camera to keep an eye on them without stressing them out. This is great especially if you often have to leave home for work.

Top 3 Tips For Building Trust With Your Dog

Here are some other guidelines you can follow:

Quiet Zone - The best place for your dog’s new home base should be out of the way from the majority of activity around the house, somewhere quieter where excessive noise like loud music, the TV or even too much human conversation can be blocked out.

Doggy-proof It - Make sure there’s nothing in their home base area that could potentially hurt them such as sharp corners or food inappropriate for dogs. You’ll also want to make sure they’re able to go to the toilet and get clean food and water easily from their area to prevent any unwanted incidents that you’d have to clean up!

Make It Comfy - What’s a safe space without some comfortable blankets and a dog bed? Add a pop of colour to your pup’s new home base with Fuzzyard’s Reversible Dog Bed and some of their favourite chew toys, such as KONG’s adorable Dynos Blue T-Rex Dog Toy made with high quality textured material to keep them entertained and provide them comfort when they're feeling nervous!

Respect Their Space - While they’re in their safe space, try not to touch, talk or have too much eye contact with them. Make sure to play with them outside their safe space. Most importantly, avoid bringing in strangers to this area as it’s meant for your pup and your pup alone.

#3 Positive Training

Top 3 Tips For Building Trust With Your Dog

Dogs love training - especially if it involves their favourite dog treats like Zeal’s delicious Free Range Air Dried Dog Treats and a generous helping of love and attention from you, their pet parent! 

Regular training sessions with your dog not only help you build a stronger bond with your pup, it will improve mutual understanding between you two. This is especially important when addressing some of your pup’s behavioural issues and doing general puppy behaviour training. For instance, the “leave it” command is great for helping your dog avoid chewing on things they shouldn’t be chewing on.

Leash training is also a great way to build trust with your pup. Take things slow and get your pup a comfortable dog leash like Petkit Go’s Smart Pet Dog Leash. While your dog is on a leash, make sure to keep them close to your side and reward them when they do. Eventually, being able to bring your pup out for regular walks and playing fun games of fetch outdoors with Kong’s Extreme Flyer Dog Toy will help them associate positive things with your presence.

It might seem trivial, but being able to discipline your pup without scolding or saying “No!” helps build their trust and confidence in you. After all, it’s hard for dogs to fully understand negative reinforcement as they may not always be able to connect your punishment with the bad behaviour they exhibited. 

On the other hand, injecting more “Yes!” into their training regime and delicious natural dog treats like The Barkery’s Organic Peanut Butter for Dogs is not only a more precise way to train them, it also helps your dog associate time spent with you to be a fun and pleasurable experience. That way, instead of thinking of you as someone to avoid, your pup will understand that you’re the one to look for love, affection and a healthy heap of treats!

Top 3 Tips For Building Trust With Your Dog

Building trust with your pup will take some time and a lot of trial and error, especially if your new pup is especially wary of humans. But if you give them the constant care, love and attention they deserve, they will eventually open up to you. Best of all, the journey to build trust with your pup will help build an unbreakable bond between you and your new furry family member!

    Tammi ChngTAMMI CHNG
    Tammi writes articles about anything from data analytics to animal health, and loves doing the occasional craft. But most importantly, she loves hanging out and doing photo-shoots with her dog. 

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