One of the best things about getting a new dog is getting to know your new dog.

Those first few weeks after bringing your little mate home for the first time can be truly exhilarating. First walks, first cuddles, first visits to the dog park – nothing beats sharing so many special moments as you introduce your pooch to their new world.

Of course, there’s also no denying it can be an overwhelming period both for you and them. All those firsts come with heightened emotions and sensory experiences and you won’t be the first owner to have questioned whether you are doing everything possible to make the transition to a new home a smooth one for your pet.

To help make the journey easier, here are five tips for not only bonding with your dog but helping you understand them a little better.

Stick to a schedule

There’s no simpler way of saying it – dogs love routine. When their entire world suddenly looks a lot different, keeping your new dog on a set schedule from the get-go will go a long way to helping them adjust. Just as young children benefit from a stable environment, routines symbolise new expectations to your dog and provide them with comfort and a feeling of safety. The sooner your new dog learns how their new home works, the more comfortable they will be. We’re talking set feeding times, regular daily walks, exercise and play time, routine toilet breaks and consistent bedtimes.

Spend quality time together

Think back to a blossoming romance and how much you loved spending time with your new suitor in those joyous early weeks. It’s no different for your pooch, with quality one-on-one time certain to make them feel loved. It doesn’t have to be an adventure a day either, with activities as simple as cuddle sessions, walks and playing sure to help form that connection. It’s simply about taking the time to interact with your new dog and make them feel special.

Learn to read your dog

You don’t have to be a pet psychologist but there’s a lot to be said for making the effort to tap into the mind of your dog. As highly emotional creatures, dogs will be quick to let you know what they like, dislike or love, not to mention what they are scared of. Making sure your dog is comfortable and happy will increase their trust in you and pave the way for a happier relationship for both owner and pet.

Take it slow

Whether you’ve adopted a shelter dog or brought home a newborn puppy, you need to remember how big of a change it is for your new furry friend. As tempting as it is to rush them out into the wide world and show them off to your excited pals, there is much to be said for taking your time to ensure they feel comfortable in your home and safe in your arms. There will be plenty of days to run free. For now, spend at least the first few days bonding with some relaxing walks, lots of cuddles and time around the house.

Touch them often

This is the easiest tip of all to follow – after all, who doesn’t love giving their new dog a cuddle? Physical touch is such an important factor in growing a strong and healthy relationship with your dog and while some pets may take a little while to work who’s who in their new zoo, it won’t be long before you are able to pet and play with them as much as you want – and that’s a good thing for both of you.