At What Age Do Puppies Bond With Their Owners?

You just adopted a new pup. Congratulations!! This is an exciting time for you and your pup. But as exciting as it is, owning a puppy also means extra responsibility. You have to make sure he is well-fed, happy, comfortable, and healthy. But how do you make sure your puppy is comfortable and trusting to you? At what age do puppies bond with their owner? 

Getting puppies from a reputable breeder means you can bond right away with your puppy. A reputable breeder usually allows puppies to get adopted at 6-8 weeks old, which is a great age to start bonding with your newly adopted pup.

Puppies can already start bonding with their humans 6 weeks after birth. If you are living with the mother dog, you can start bonding with your puppy as early as 6 weeks. However, if you are going to adopt the puppy from a breeder, letting your puppy stay for an extra 2 or more weeks with their mother is beneficial for the overall health of your puppy.


Let’s go over the many developmental stages that your puppy goes through in relation to bonding with their humans, as well as some suggestions and tactics for bonding with your puppy.

Understanding the Developmental Stages of a Puppy


Weeks 1 to 3: 

The puppy has closed eyes at first and is focused on warmth and comfort. Feeding is crucial, as is the presence of the mother, who has a special scent and feel. Your puppy’s personality starts to emerge at this age. Puppies will play with each other, wag their tails, stand, walk a short distance, and bark.

Weeks 4 and 5:

During these weeks, the puppy is beginning to experience new feelings and experiences for the first time. They gain an understanding of light, dark, hearing, and smell. They are taught how to interact properly with other animals as well as how to socialize. Both their curiosities and their abilities to bite are continuing to develop. Nipping behaviors start when they practice biting behavior with their mother and litter mates.


Weeks 6 to 8:

At this point in their development, your puppy will have complete access to all of their senses. As the puppy matures, it will develop feelings and will start to create a bond with its owner. Breeders often give the puppies up for adoption at this point and send them home with their new owners.

During this time, puppies can begin in-home training. Introduce the puppy to his first collar and lead, teach him to come to you by calling his name, and give him praise and goodies when he does. Positive reinforcement training, which includes the use of a clicker, praise, and prizes, can also begin with puppies at this age.

Weeks 8 to 10:

Between the ages of 8 and 10 weeks, your puppy will go through its first “fear period.” During this stage of development, your puppy will be more sensitive to new experiences and will react to the outside world with a greater fear and caution than he did in earlier stages of development.

This is an excellent time to start bonding with your dog and establishing the foundation for future training. The brain permanently imprints the associative patterns that are formed during this period of development. It is essential that the puppy gets as many positive experiences as possible with new people, other animals, and environments.

Weeks 10 to 16

This is the stage when your puppy is completely reliant on you and wants to be with you at all times. You can continue to expose your puppy to new experiences throughout this time as long as you have complete control over each event and situation.

How Do I Get My Puppy To Bond With Me?

  1. Patience 

Having patience is essential if you want to form a bond with your new puppy in the shortest amount of time possible. The process of forming a bond with a new owner does not happen instantly for all puppies; for some pups, it takes only a few hours, while for others, it can take several weeks or even months. With their mother and littermates no longer there, they will require a great deal of time to become adjusted to unfamiliar sights, scents, and sounds.

Taking things one day at a time, remaining cool, and remaining optimistic will help your puppy’s adjustment to their new home. As soon as they are adjusted to their new environment, you and your puppy can turn your attention to strengthening the bond that you have.

  1. Establish a Positive Relationship With Your Pet

Knowing how to “speak” to your puppy will go a long way toward forming a solid attachment.  Puppies can be trained to understand specific words, which can be used to teach them obedience, as well as cues to understand your emotions and body language. Start out by teaching your puppy how to follow food lures, make eye contact, learn to remember their name, and come to you when you call them.

TIP: When it comes to establishing healthy communication with your dog, your tone of voice is important. Talking to a dog in a calm and even tone can help settle a dog that is overly excited and can also assist to relax a dog that is anxious.

  1. Set a Schedule

When a young puppy moves into a new home for the very first time, they’ll be undergoing the process of attempting to comprehend and adjust to their new surroundings as well as their new family. The best and quickest approach to start your new puppy on the right track is to establish some routines. Potty training, supporting excellent food habits, creating overall good behavior, and encouraging their confidence and bond with you are all important! When your puppy is on a schedule and knows what is going to happen next, they are able to settle down more quickly since they are aware that all of their needs will be satisfied throughout the day.

TIP: Try to stick to your regular schedule as much as possible so that your puppy gets the idea of being a family member!

  1. Give Your Puppy Space

When a young puppy first moves into a new home, all of the new sensations that they will encounter, including new sights, smells, sounds, and people, can be rather overwhelming for them. While we are developing this incredible connection with our new puppies, it is essential that we do not forget to give them their own space and time alone away from the hustle and bustle of the household and family members. This will help them gain independence and become a well-adjusted dog.

Tip: A great way to ensure that your new pet is as relaxed as possible is to provide him with his very own cozy bed, crate, or other secure area where he can go to rest when he is worn out.

  1. Hand-feeding and Cuddling

Cuddle sessions are wonderful, but handling your dog at the same time helps you and your dog create trust. Hand feeding your dog simply means feeding him from your hand, and it is very useful for quiet or fearful dogs. It’s a good way to get started on enhancing the bond you share with your dog, as well as an activity that will help the two of you become more trusting of one another. Use this opportunity to shower as much affection on your new dog as you possibly can. The more connected they feel to you and your presence, the simpler it will be for them to form a connection with you.

  1. Maintain Consistency

Changing the rules is the easiest way to frustrate and confuse a dog. Your dog will feel more confident and at ease if you maintain a consistent approach to the rules and ensure that every member of your household sticks to them.

  1. Have Some Fun With Your Puppy

Playing interactively with your new puppy is one of the most enjoyable ways to bond with them. It is important to your dog’s health that they get enough physical activity, and there are a lot of ways that you can make this a pleasurable bonding experience for you and your dog. Take them for walks, play fetch or frisbee in the park, or perform cerebral stimulation activities like tug of war if you can’t get them out of the house. These are just a few ideas for things you can do with your dog.

  1. Socialize With Your Puppy

Teaching your puppy about their new world in a calm and controlled atmosphere assures them that you will lead and protect them when they are afraid.

  1. Grooming

After giving birth, dog mothers will lick their litter of puppies to clean them and also to stimulate them. This is how they provide for their puppies. Brushing your puppy with a soft brush can elicit the same emotion from them. Not only will they learn that you care about them, but it will also help them get acclimated to being groomed, especially for long-haired breeds.

How Do You Know If Your Puppy Has Bonded With You? 

At the age of 8 weeks, some puppies will already accept and acknowledge their owner as their pack leaders and their loving owner. However, as all dogs are unique, some may take longer to bond with their owner.

If you are worried that your dog hasn’t bonded with you yet, here are signs that your pup has bonded with you: 

  • Your clothes are their favorite place to curl up and take a nap. It’s no secret that dogs are excellent sniffers, and pups are no exception. They will have a strong desire to cuddle up and sleep when they discover a pile of your old clothes because it reminds them of you.
  • They rest their head on you. This is an excellent indication from your puppy. It demonstrates that they trust you and consider themselves safe around you. To fall asleep or merely rest there demonstrates a high level of trust in you.
  • They look you in the eye. Dogs will rarely look you in the eye when they are anxious or scared. They will glance into your eyes once they have formed a link with you and have come to love and trust you.

Why is My Puppy Bonding with Another Person? 

If there is another person who is regularly present in your dog’s life and lavishes affection and attention on them, you may discover that they have a greater bond with your dog than you do. This happens particularly if the individual treats your dog well, takes him to the park, and plays with him there.

However, this does not suggest that your dog loves you any less than it did before. A child’s bond with his or her grandparents is similar to that of a dog with another person who caters to the puppy’s every wish. Children have a deep love for their parents, but they typically form deep relationships with their grandparents since they are frequently given gifts, escorted to fascinating places, and taken on vacations when they see them.

How to Ensure that the Bond Between You and Your Pup Stays Forever? 

Stick to the Schedule

Puppies flourish in a structured environment. Stability and confidence are gained by your puppy when he is aware of what is ahead and the time in which it will occur. Your puppy will learn what behaviors are acceptable and what behaviors are not acceptable if you stick to a routine with them. This will lessen anxiety in both the owner and the puppy.

Spend Time With Your Puppy

To strengthen the bond between you and your puppy, set aside at least 30 minutes each day to spend time together. Choose activities that will allow an undivided attention from your pup.  Playing games like “hide and seek” or “fetch” with your dog is a smart idea.

Show Patience

Showing frustration with your pup can destroy the bond you took so long to have with your pooch. While it is not easy to train a dog to do what you want them to do, repeating the process in a calm and enjoyable way is best especially if you want to maintain the bond you have for your puppy.

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