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Friday, May 31, 2013

Bonding with a New Dog: You & Fido

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
Jacque's Typical Inquisitive Look
You may have noted that our family has taken on a new member. While my mom recovers from an injury, Jacque has moved in here, acclimating well. He walks with us, plays with Tanner and Oliver, hunts lizards, and generally seems to have suffered little emotional damage as a result of his displacement.

At first, I felt like I was caring for a foster dog, with the obvious difference that Jacque has been a part of our lives since I helped my mother adopt him 3 1/2 years ago. He is, as the adoption agent told us, a dear little fella that has a similar ability to adapt and bond to that I have seen in Tanner and Oliver. The threesome seem to have fallen in line as a group that is clearly 'family'.

With that said, it has been my goal recently to help my mom and her little buddy maintain their relationship and keep Jacque from becoming anxious over their separation. Frequent visits have apparently done the trick and Jacque continues to show no sign of anxiety.

While much of what I just shared has been no great surprise to me, I did find myself wondering how the rest of my family would fare in the bonding department. During my 9 days away for the Blogpaws conference, I've learned that Jacque is definitely growing on both my daughter and husband. Without Oliver in the house, Jacque was drawn to other family members for more interaction and affection, ending in a good experience for everyone.

As it turns out, my absence with Oliver was actually a good opportunity for Jacque to come out of his exclusive doggie relationships and push himself to get better acquainted with other family members.

This concept is easy enough to apply to 2nd, 3rd and 4th pets in your home as well. You may have noticed that your first pet is generally more closely bonded to you as a result of having had exclusive time with you in the beginning.

If you have a pet that you'd like to bond more closely with, there may be hope for your relationship by simply giving your other pets a brief vacation. Perhaps they can spend the weekend with a friend or family member while you focus on the pet you'd like to work on relationship building with.This simple procedure may take a few trials, if all you can spare is a weekend, but the effort is always worth it.

For me, I can see that Jacque and I will need some one-on-one time without Oliver in order to truly build a deeper relationship. This task is going on my To Do list. After all, look at that face. How could I resist getting into that little head of his to better understand him!

Tell us about your pet family and the pet that you'd like to encourage an extra opportunity to bond with. Best wishes!

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Dawn said...

That's a great idea. Maya and I spend time alone together when I take her to the dog park while Pierson and I have our time together when I work with him on agility.

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