How to bond with your rescue dog

Although it's not hard to quickly become attached to any new pooch, if you've adopted a rescue dog or an older pet it's not uncommon that they'll seem unresponsive to your love and seem uninterested in human contact.

This is especially true if your dog has suffered from negative experiences in the past - such as being abandoned or mistreated - or has received little human attention in the past so has learned to fend for themselves.

While in some cases this will result in the dog feeling nervous and fearful or even aggressive, in others the animal will simply seem unbothered by humans and prefer to have limited contact.

However, just because your dog seems distant this doesn't mean that all is lost, as with a few simple steps and plenty of time and effort it is possible to strengthen the bond between dog and owner to ensure that you become close companions.

Quality time

The best way to create a strong relationship with your dog is to ensure that you spend plenty of time with them so they learn that you're a friend and someone who can be trusted.

This means that as well as feeding your pooch their dry dog food and taking them out on walks, you should also devote time to them during the day petting, grooming and getting them used to your company.

Speaking to the Dog Daily, vet Caitlin Fitzgerald points out that playtime is when the real bonding can start, as this is a positive experience that both you and your pup will enjoy.

"Specific toys that help to build bonds are any toys that engage the human and the dog, such as Frisbees, tennis balls, rope toys," she says. "Fetch and tugging games are also fun for the owner and the dog, plus it’s a great way to add in an element of exercise."

Even if your pooch seems a little reluctant at first, by being patient and taking it one step at a time, you should be able to encourage them to come out of their shell and enjoy spending time with you.

Training classes

Training a dog is a really important step to take, not only so that owners can ensure they are able to control their pet and have them live happily in the household, but also because it is great for teaching communication between canine and human.

"Dogs like to be given direction, so a confident owner will be a great leader to the dog, and that helps with building trust," explains Ms Fitzpatrick. "A dog obedience trainer is a very good option for owners to learn proper ways to lead their pet."

Even just teaching your pup simple commands or practising your recall can really help your dog to understand you better, as well as allowing you to learn to read your canine companion's body language and behaviour.

Make sure you use plenty of encouragement, praise and premium dog food treats for rewards and before long you'll find that you and your pooch have a much stronger bond and a far happier relationship.

Written by: Hannah