Tips to Help Establish a Bond with Your New Pet
Updated: Feb 24
Getting to know each other and developing relationships take time. This can be true for any new pet but it may become more complicated when you've been used to the same pet for so long. Tovi was like my favorite old comfy t-shirt that just "fit" and what I threw on after a long day. But that shirt, much like your new pet, didn't start out that way - it became more comfortable the longer you had it. I didn't realize that for close to a year into our relationship, but if I had, perhaps I would have been less frustrated with the process and had more realistic expectations. These are some words of wisdom I received from readers on their experience of bonding with a new pet:
"Let go of any expectations you might have for your new pet."
"Understand that your relationship and attachment to your new pet will be different than the one you had with your previous pet and that’s OK. Every time we fall in love it is a different experience."
"Meet your pet where they are and give each other space to adjust and respect what the pet needs. A dog may cower in fear when meeting new people so don't force your expectations on them (you can only compare them to who they are in this moment, not to the friendly dog next door). Someone I interviewed explained how her cat spent his first few weeks hiding under her bed. She just let him "be," and she would talk to her from a distance while he hid."
"Be aware that you may become frustrated at times while you get to know each other. You have been used to your relationship with your previous pet for so long. Be patient if they chew your furniture or have an accident. Enlist a professional trainer if needed – it can greatly strengthen your bond when issues that trigger frustration are addressed."
"Understand that the bond may take some time to develop and be easy on yourself. You haven’t yet built up all of the experiences you shared with your previous pet. Bond through the natural process of spending time together and building new experiences."
"Tell your new pet “bedtime” like stories about your prior pet, and even show them photos. This is especially helpful for children."
"If you are struggling to bond, give it time and give this pet a chance to be loved. They are so excited to be home."
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