Second Chance Pups

How to bond with your rescue dog

There’s no such thing as the bond between a dog and owner. Once that bond has been formed, nothing in the world can brake it.


When you commit to adopt a rescue dog, the chance of adopting a dog who’s had a challenging past and with some trauma in their baggage are quite high.

For this reason, the bond with your rescue dog can take longer to form. But don’t fret, if you keep reading below you will find some useful ways to bond with your rescue dog.



This is truly something to prioritize. Dogs love to play! So this is something I highly recommend you commit to. Put this at the top of your priority list and you will soon notice the difference this will make for the both of you.

Engaging with your dog during play is important as it gives the both of you the chance to have fun together. And before you know it, your dog will associate all fun times with you.

Pick specific times each day when you give your dog undivided attention to actively play and have fun together. mMke him or her your highest priority in that moment and you will start to bond before you know it.

Obedience training

Some rescue dogs will already have some basic obedience training, but even if yours already do – training together with your dog will undoubtedly strengthen your bond and the communication between the two of you.


When you train with your dog, there’s a two-way communication involved between you and your dog. It’s such an interactive process which will help the both of you to learn how to work together. This will also help your shelter dog to feel more comfortable with you.


Training with your dog builds trust between the two of you and it’s a great way to get to know your new bestie.

Use positive reinforcement

When your dog sits patiently, shows confidence, stops barking, stays calm or shows affection – reward your dog. Using positive reinforcements is crucial if you want to strengthen the bond between you and your rescue dog. Oh and if you want your dog to become more obedient, this is the go.


So, what should you use as positive reinforcement?

Treats are usually the one go to reward, however not all dogs are food driven. Some dogs prefer their favourite toy as reward. The more time you spend with your pooch, you’ll get to know what drives your dog the most.


If you do use treats, some dogs might need a variety of different treats to keep their interest and attentiveness. Again, this is something you’ll get to know with your specific dog.


Positive reinforcement can also be physical touch like a pat or a rub on the belly. You just have to make sure this is something that your dog enjoys. He or she might not be comfortable with this kind of touch.

Daily walks

Walking lets your dog explore new places and different scents. It’s a great way to bond with your new friend as it provides a sense of security for your dog when you are on the other end of that lead.


To avoid getting yourself and your dog bored with your walking routine, change it up every now and then. Take different routes as it will provide mental stimulation for your dog and keep it more interesting.


If you want to make it even more exciting – invite a doggy friend to join! Just make sure your dog is good with that specific dog first. Or you can hide treats along your walk.

Your expectations

The number one thing to truly keep in mind when adopting a rescue dog – do not give up on your new friend. I nearly did this myself as I was learning the hard way that it can take a long time to bond with your new friend. And for your rescue dog to settle in to a new home. There are many rescue dogs that have been through hell before they meet you. For this reason they require (and deserve) a lot of your effort and time to gain trust and create that bond with you.


So, whether you have previous experiences with other dogs, it’s important to remember that every dog is unique. It’s crucial that you have realistic expectations when you adopt a rescue dog. You can’t rush this process; it will take the time it takes so be patient.


My previous experience with dogs has been that I bond very quickly with them, however with Lexi it was very different. It took me a long time to realize that she needed a lot more patience and time for her to come around and form that bond with me. So even when it seems impossible, don’t give up on your friend. It will all be worth it in the end.

Having daily routines

By having some daily routines, your rescue dog will learn what to expect every day. The key here is to be consistent as dogs thrive on having some kind of routines each day. For example, times for walks, feeding times, play time, where they sleep and so on. Which ever it might be, be consistent and this will help create connection and understanding between you and your dog.


Lexi now knows exactly around what time we go for walks in the morning. If I’m not up at a certain time you can trust that she will come to the bedroom door and tell her mummy to get out of bed (even on the weekends when I finally get to sleep in). Same thing with feeding time, you can trust her to make sure I don’t forget to feed her.


Remember, your dog want’s nothing more than to please you. Dogs wants to keep us happy. But for them to do so, we need to be patient and consistent with them. We need to be their guides and show them what we want from them. And for them to be able to give us what we want, they need time to learn and get the hang of things.


So, hang in there and have fun while you’re bonding with your new friend, and remember, be patient! 🙂

Now go and bond with your pup, and have fun!


I hope this helps! 


Best of luck,

Second chance