How to Connect With an Animal

Two Parts:Making IntroductionsInteracting with an Animal

If you want to be close to animal, there are many ways to connect. You should make sure to make a slow introduction and then interact with the animal on its own terms. You can make a connection by having patience and showing an animal kindness.

Part 1
Making Introductions

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    Learn animal body language. If you want to connect to an animal, you need to know how that animal communicates. As animals cannot use language to converse, they relay heavily on movement and expression to show how they feel.
    • The ASPCA website and the Humane Society website have extensive overviews of animal body language. If you have a domestic pet, like a dog or a cat, you can read up on how your pet communicates here. Dogs and cats often show anger, fear, contentment, and happiness through motions of the tail, back, eyes, and ears. Familiarize yourself with the various ways you can expect you pet to communicate.[1]
    • If you're working with livestock, like a horse or pig, websites for organizations like 4-H and PETA may explain some of how these animals convey emotion with their bodies. You can also talk to a farmer or breeder directly if you're wondering how to interpret barnyard animal's body language.
    • Reptiles, like snakes and chameleons, are popular pets for many. Communication in reptiles in captivity is somewhat poorly understood as such animals are not fully domesticated. Talking to other reptile owners, however, as well as reading up on how reptiles communicate in nature may help you understand to a degree.[2]
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    Introduce new animals slowly. If you're bringing in a new pet, introductions should be slow if you have animals already. It can be hard to connect with an animal if it feels isolated or scared.
    • For dogs and cats, you should usually introduce them on a neutral ground. Take dogs to the park rather than directly bringing an animal into another animal's territory. For cats, separate them for the first week, allowing interactions between doors. When you do introduce cats, supervise the pair for the first few hours to make sure there will be minimal fighting. If a fight does occur, separate the animals and allow them an hour to cool down before reintroducing them.[3]
    • With less domestic animals, introductions may have different rules. If you buy from a reputable pet store, you should get some advice on how to introduce, say, two guinea pigs or two rats. You can also find information online. Petco's website has many articles on how to introduce non-traditional pets like rodents, birds, and reptiles.
    • When it comes to livestock, talk to a professional in the field. Livestock are less domesticated and larger than pets so it's best to have professional advice to avoid accident or injury.
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    Learn everything you can about the animal. You need to understand an animal's history in order to connect with it. Learn as much as you can about an animal while trying to make introductions.
    • Learn broad facts about the type of animal and breed. How high energy is this type of dog? What sort of play activities to cats enjoy? What kind of treats do horses crave? All these things will allow you to learn what an animal enjoys so you can better enjoy your time together.[4]
    • Learn specific facts as well. Where did this animal come from? What were its previous owners like? Does it come from a background of abuse or neglect? Is there anything that might scare this animal or make it uncomfortable?[5]
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    Have patience. It can take awhile to connect to animal. If an animal was abused by a former owner or is simply a type of animal that is not super people-friendly it may be a few weeks before you begin to connect. Be patient and understanding during this process. If an animal does not seem to like you right away, this does not mean it will not eventually come around.[6]

Part 2
Interacting with an Animal

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    Spend as much time as possible with your animal. Animals may take awhile to get used to a new person. Spending as much time as you can with an animal while it warms up to you can help you connect.
    • Spend time in the same room as an animal. You do not have to engage with the animal, but simply sit in the room and do something else. Read. Go on your computer. Watch television. Allow the animal to get used to your presence.
    • If the animal is comfortable going out, take the animal on walks or with you on errands. Some animals, like cats, are not huge fans of outings. Dogs, however, will be happy to go for the occasional walk. They will become attached and eventually affectionate to the person who walks them.
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    Train the animal. Training can be a fun way for you to bond with an animal. Animals do not just get close to people who are affectionate towards them. Animals crave stimulation and enjoy being around people who push them to work.
    • If you have a horse, try to practice new riding techniques. Take the horse a professional instructor and work on jumping, dressage, barrel racing, and other fun activities.
    • Dogs and cats can be trained to do a variety of tricks. You can take a dog to obedience classes or simply practice training in your living room. Many online tutorials, which can be found on sites like YouTube, provide advice on how to work with dogs.
    • Birds are somewhat trainable. You can learn how to train a bird by reading tutorials online or talking to an exotic animal specialist.
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    Play with the animal. Spend time playing with your animal. Animals can easily bond with people through play.
    • Stock up on pet toys at a local pet store or order toys online from a pet store. Depending on your animal's age, it may play more or less. Animals less than a year old tend to play less than older animals.[7]
    • Dogs enjoy being taken for walks. Try to walk your canine for 15 or 30 minutes each day.[8]
    • Sometimes, animals accidentally become aggressive during play. Make sure you're prepared to discipline an animal in this event. Young animals or animals from abusive homes are more likely to get aggressive during playtime.
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    Discipline with care. A relationship with an animal should not all be about play and fun. Animals thrive on boundaries and discipline. Make sure you're prepared to discipline an animal for acting out or behaving in a dangerous manner.
    • Make sure you review the proper means to discipline a given species. Some animals, like cats, do not respond well to scolding or punishment and must be trained by other means.
    • Make sure you avoid losing your temper and yelling at an animal. Most animals do not respond well to harsh discipline. Never yell and never strike an animal. This can damage your relationship with an animal.
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    Let things happen at their own pace. You cannot force interactions with pets prematurely. You have to let things happen at their own pace. Wait for an animal to come to you. Never pet or pick an animal up if they seem uninterested in interacting with you.

Article Info

Categories: Pets and Animals