30 Days of Bonding

30 Days of Bonding

By Michele Forto

As a breeder of World Class German Shepherds I cannot stress enough how important it is for a new puppy owner to bond with their dog. I see time and time again where these new dog owners do not understand how important it is to integrate the new puppy into the family. Remember your new dog does not know you or your family. He/she will bond with you and your family in approximately thirty days. During this bonding there are going to be some things you do and do not do…

Do not leave your dog unattended with your children until the bond is complete. Tell your children not to rush up to the dog but to let the dog come to them. Entice the dog to come to them with food treats. If the dog does not want to approach them, don’t worry, he/she will in a few days. Do not force people on the dog; he will become comfortable with your family in a few days.

The dog will be fed twice a day. Have your family take turns feeding the dog. Have them take the food bowl to the dog, put it down and then leave the dog alone while he/she eats. Do not bother the dog while he/she eats. Always feed the dog in the same place, preferably his kennel, the garage, etc.

If you are going to leave the dog alone, leave him/her in a crate until the bond is complete and the dog becomes comfortable in his/her surroundings. The dog will sleep in the crate at night. The crate can be put wherever you want.

Do not reach into the crate and try to grab your dog. Remember you have no bond yet. Bring the dog out to you with food or a toy. You must show the dog that you are his/her friend. Everything must be positive.

When playing fetch, use the two toy method until you have a good bond with the dog. Playing with the dog is a good way to make the dog comfortable with you. Have the children play fetch with the dog also. Do not attempt to grab the toy from the dog’s mouth. First ask the dog to drop the toy for you. If he/she does not drop the toy, give him/her the command to drop it, at the same time showing the dog the other toy. When the dog drops the first toy, throw the other toy for the dog. This method will also strengthen your recall, because when the dog goes after the toy you threw, you will show him the second toy when you call him to bring you the first toy. (The best toys are rubber “KONGS” available in any pet store.)

If your children bring their friends to the house, be sure to secure the dog. Remember, your children’s friends have not been taught like your children on how to act around the dog. Tell your friends not to force themselves on the dog, If the dog wants to be petted he will approach them. If you are going to have a party or have several friends over, put the dog away.

Playing, feeding and spending positive time with your dog is the best way to seal the bond. Do not try and force your dog to do anything like obedience, etc. Have the dog do what you want by using food rewards and praise. This positive reinforcement method will work the best for you if you are consistent. You will see the dog react to this method in a very short time. Remember you will be attending training classes at our facility after the thirty day bonding period.

Remember if you have other animals such as cats, birds, horses or any other type of livestock, your new dog will have to be socialized with them and taught how to behave around them. This is something you have to be consistent with until your new dog is comfortable around the other animals.

If you purchase a dog from Denver Dog Works remember your dog is already trained. Now you and your family must learn how to handle the dog properly by attending the prescribed training. It will be your job to explain this information to any other adult in the immediate family. If you are purchasing a puppy it is a good idea to enroll in a puppy class. Denver Dog Works has a new puppy class starting the first Saturday of each month. Give us a call for details.

Be sure you have read all the forms and handouts you have received from the breeder and/or in obedience class thoroughly. Do you research on your breed, his/her temperament, and personality. Familiarize yourself with puppy traits and behavioral problems. If you have any questions ASK!!! Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question.

Do’s and Don’ts


DO NOT! Let your dog sleep out of his crate for the first two weeks. After the first two weeks he can sleep out of his crate every other night for the next week.

DO NOT! Leave your dog loose or unattended in the house for the first two weeks. If you are going to leave the dog at home, confine him in his crate. If you plan on leaving the dog in the house unattended after he is finished with his training, after the first two weeks you can start leaving him unattended for short periods of time and slowly keep extending the time.

Be sure to take him out frequently to relieve himself, he is house broken, but he will be in a new area and may be excited and forget, so you will have to reinforce the training.

After the first two weeks, you will start some obedience work, so you will need to contact Denver Dog Works anytime after the first two weeks are up so we can help you get started. You will more than likely be enrolled in one of our Saturday obedience classes.

If you are having a problem or even think you are having a problem, you are to contact us right away. A Denver Dog Works instructor will call you back within the day. Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question!

DO NOT! Let your dog do anything you do not want him to do later on in his life. Remember you are the BOSS (pack leader). Your dog does not sleep on the bed or get on the furniture EVER! This can cause training and behavior problems in the future. If you want to sit or lay next to your dog, you go to him on the floor.

During the bonding period you should give your dog food rewards when you call him to you or when he/she does something good.

Training should start the day you bring your dog home. This is not only a great opportunity to form that life-long bond but also does not allow bad habits to develop. Often we will see dog owners come into Denver Dog Works when their puppy is six months old and the owners are at wits end and ready to give up. The first question I always ask is why did you wait so long? The most common answer is they wanted the dog to be a puppy. What a mistake! Would you not allow your children not to attend elementary school because you just wanted them to be a kid? No way! The same goes with dogs.

Just remember five simple things: exercise your dog often, be consistent, be patient, give Denver Dog Works a call if you have a question or a problem, and…



Michele Forto is Denvers Dog Training Examiner and the business manager for Denver Dog Works. Michele can be reached through her website at http://www.denverdogworks.com

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