How to bond better with your cat or dog

Getting a new pet is exciting and it’s normal to want to be best buddies right away. Building a bond can take time; here are some tips to help...

When you get a new pet, you want to be best friends right away. Here’s how to improve your bond with your cat or dog.

This time of year is when we start accepting new kittens and puppies into our households. Those born in spring are now old enough to go to their new homes, and summer is an ideal time to spend our breaks and long days with our new companions.

While you might imagine a future filled with lazy days spent cuddled up on the couch, or adventuring together in the great outdoors, it’s important to use the opportunity to first establish a strong bond. This will mean that – when you do return to your busy daily work routine – that your cat or dog is waiting to welcome you home at the end of the day.

Here are four ways to build a strong bond with your furry companion:

1. Be consistent

Depending on if you have a cat or a dog, there are different ways to build a bond. One key tip that applies to both, however, is consistency.

Cats are creatures of habit, so they like things to stay consistent day to day. This could include continuing with the same food they ate at the shelter or breeder they come from, to help ease them into their new environment.

When it comes to pooches, consistency is key when it comes to how you train and communicate with them. The more consistent you are with your pup, the better they’ll understand you (and you them) and the closer you’ll become.

2. Give them space

While simply spending time together is a great way to build the bond between you and your dog – whether through play or just petting them while you both sit on the couch – with cats you’re more likely to form a bond if you give them enough space.

For cats, space gives them time to become comfortable with their new environment and helps them feel safe. Once they’re more comfortable in your home, they’ll likely start seeking out your company. Just don’t rush the process; some cats will feel comfortable after a few moments, while others may take days (or even longer) before they seek out your company. Again, giving them control over when they seek out your company will build trust and they’ll be making themselves comfortable in your lap in no time!

3. Make time spent with you fun!

This tip applies to both cats and dogs. To create a strong bond with your pet, make sure the time you spend together is positive in nature. Whether this is through play or by using treats when you’re together, your pet will soon start to associate you with those good times and the rewards.

4. Be patient

Bonding can take time – especially if the pet you’ve chosen is a bit skittish or shy – so don’t let this discourage you from putting in the necessary time and effort. Getting to know your pet better – even from a distance – will give you a better understanding of their behaviours and motivations and it gives them the opportunity to become comfortable with you.

With patience (and maybe a few treats!) you’ll become the best of buddies, no matter how long it takes.