Bringing home a new puppy is super exciting for any pet parent. By now, you’ve probably spent hours doing your research. You’ve had numerous family discussions about the breed and size, and made sure you’re all ready for that lifelong commitment. And here you are with this tiny bundle of fur, ready to take on the next role as a responsible dog owner.
That’s why Fox Valley Animal Hospital has put together a guide on how to survive the first day and night with a new puppy.
What to do once you get your new puppy home
Your new puppy is likely to be a bit disorientated and scared. After all, it’s usually his first time away from his mother and siblings! Getting the balance right is super important. He’ll need lots of love, cuddles and playtime and lots of quiet and rest.
Here are some things to consider on puppy’s first day:
- When you get home, take your new puppy outside into the garden. This will allow him to toilet and explore his surroundings
- It is best to limit his access in the home to start. It can be overwhelming and slow down his progress as he is taking in a lot of new things
- Even though you have pet proofed his new home as mentioned in our previous blog on pet proofing, you still need to monitor him. Puppies can be surprisingly creative about escaping, chewing and finding trouble!
- Don’t let children get too excited with the puppy. Everyone needs time and space to adjust
- Leave your puppy alone when his resting or sleeping. Never wake him to play
- Don’t interact with him every available moment. This will teach him to be the centre of attention and expect you to play every time you appear
- Set up a safe area for you new puppy to spend unsupervised time. Ideally with access to the garden so he can make regular trips to the bathroom
- Bring your puppy into Fox Valley Animal Hospital for a health check once he has settled in. It is important not to take him outside or expose him to potential unvaccinated dogs
Puppy’s first night
Your new puppy’s first night will be the first time it has been left alone, so expect him to be upset. What you want is for him to know he is not alone and that people will pop in and out regularly. This doesn’t mean you should respond to his noisy behaviour.
Some owners may be tempted to place them far from earshot. This is not recommended as it causes intense anxiety and insecurity.
Here are some things to help that transition:
- Make his sleeping area comfortable, warm and draft free.
- A tired puppy will sleep more happily with less of a fuss
- A cupboard box with the staples removed make ideal first beds as anything better will get chewed. Otherwise a plastic bed. You may find a soft bed is ripped apart
- Use blankets, soft toys and towels for the puppy to sleep in
- If you’re using a crate, place it close to where you sleep for the first few nights so he doesn’t feel completely lonely
- Attend to your puppies needs then tell him “its bed time” in a calm voice and leave
- If your puppy needs to urinate in the night, take him into the garden. Praise him then return him to his bed. Never play with him or feed him as he will expect it every time he wakes up
- Always allow your new puppy to relieve himself before bed
Never lock your new puppy away and ignore him all night. We want to grow happy, confident dogs by letting them know they are loved and cared for.
Ultimately it is a personal decision where your new puppy will sleep. Some people are comfortable with them on the bedroom floor or a warm cosy laundry is idea or even a crate that will act as a secure den.
Wherever you decide, it’s best to be consistent. It’s very hard to break the habit of bed sharing and confusing for a puppy that has now out grown its pet parent’s bed or is no longer allowed because he weighs in at 30kg. So set the rules early and stick to them.
A new puppy takes effort and time. But it’s worth it.
Taking on a new puppy is an exciting and challenging time. The first few days will be a mix of emotions for both puppy and pet parent.
You may find your enthusiasm decreases with your lack of sleep. Or the cute puppy faces aren’t so cute when you’re constantly cleaning up puddles of pee. However, this short period of time that may be tough is the most important developmental stage in your dog’s life.
Therefore, it’s important you provide the guidance and care needed to help your puppy grow up to be a well mannered dog.
In our next blog, we’ll discuss the importance of positive toilet training.
If you have just recently become the proud owner of a new puppy, give the hospital a call on 02 9489 4805 to make an appointment for a health check and chat. We’re always happy to help our new pet parents!