Congratulations! Your new puppy comes home at the end of the week, but now what? Where will the puppy sleep? When should we take him out to potty? Where will we put the playpen? How long can we leave her alone?
These are just some of the many, many questions you're likely to ask yourself.
Bringing a puppy home can be one of the most joyous experiences but it can also be quite stressful for everyone involved so here are some tips to make sure you and your pup get started on the right paw.
If you haven't already, make sure to have a look at our Preparing for Puppy video for a list of supplies you'll need for your puppy.
1. Take Some Time Off
Between potty breaks that need to happen every few hours and the fact that your new pup might not sleep through the night just yet, you'll want to take a few days off of work, if only to catch your breath! I typically recommend taking at least 3 days but a full week would be best. This time will also allow you to bond with your puppy and get a sense of their biological rhythms: when they're more likely to be awake and alert, the times when they're more likely to poop, etc.
You'll also want to use that time to set up a consistent routine: meal times, potty times and nap times, as well as ease your pup into spending some time alone. Remember this is likely the first time your pup has been away from their littermates and they may experience distress when being left alone which means you'll likely spend a good amount of time sitting with or near your pup when they're awake those first few days. You also might have to set up a crate or pen in your bedroom for the first few nights your pup is home so they don't fuss during nighttime. Thankfully, under 12 weeks of age, puppies spend a lot of time sleeping, up to 20 hours a day!
Tip: Use your puppy's sleeping times to your advantage if you need to run errands or do things around the house.
2. Stress Relief
As I just mentioned, this is likely the first time your pup has been on their own and they now find themselves in a brand new place with strangers and that can be quite a stressful time for your pup which could cause them to fuss or vocalize and have a hard time settling down. Here are some stress relief options that you can use to soothe your pup.
Snuggle Puppy Toys are soothing toys for puppies that use batteries to create a heartbeat. This sound and feeling can help puppies feel less alone as they become comfortable with their crate and new home.
Adaptil is a soothing pheromone that can help reduce signs of stress. It is veterinarian recommended and safe for all ages. This products comes in a spray, collar, or diffuser form. For puppies we often recommend the diffuser to be plugged into the outlet in a room where the puppy sleeps. This can help promote relaxation associated with your puppy's transition.
Calming Chews such as Composure can be helpful for your puppy's transition as well. Composure is a veterinarian recommended product that has been clinically shown to work in 30 minutes. This product can be used short term for daily use or prior to specific stressful situations to help promote calmer behavior. Plus it is chicken flavored so your pup will think it is a treat!
Bach’s Rescue Remedy is another tool for your toolbox. This stress relieving tincture can help ease tension and excitability. It can be used leading up to and during a stressful experience. This formula is safe for dogs of all ages and can be given in conjunction with other medications your pet may be on.
3. Easy Potty Training
By far the most stressful and time consuming activity when bringing your new puppy home is house training. Young puppies tend to have pretty unpredictable potty routines, especially during a transition and it can be very difficult to prevent accidents without feeling like you're spending your entire time taking the puppy out to pee. To relieve some of that pressure on you and also minimize chances of potty accidents, I highly recommend using a puppy litter box. You can have the litter box in the puppy’s pen for them to use at their convenience and I particularly recommend using the litter box at night to avoid the dreaded middle of the night trip to the yard.
For more details on puppy litter box training, check out our blog post: https://www.pawsitivefutures.com/single-post/a-litterbox-for-my-puppy
4. Sleeping Time
It is very tempting to want to do all the things with your new puppy and all of your family and friends will likely be lined up to see the cute new addition but the first week that your puppy is home should be all about settling in the new home routine. There will be plenty of time for adventures and meeting people, take that first week to get your pup used to it's new home and the people and animals that live there. And your puppy needs a lot of rest in this time! Make sure your pup has access to a quiet, calm sleeping area. That could be putting the pen slightly out of the way where your puppy can still see you but won't be in the middle of all the activity, or placing a light sheet over the crate, particularly if you have a busy household. Lack of sleep is the most common cause for puppies to fuss and bite.
5. Puppy proof
Those first few days home are the perfect opportunity for your puppy to explore their new surroundings. Both the house and yard should be looked over and puppy proofed making sure there are no hazards, gaps in the fence, unsecured stairwells, medications, cleaning supplies or any other harmful objects and substances within the puppy's reach. Puppies will put their mouths on everything and yes that includes batteries, pennies and electrical cords. Let your pup roam and explore the house and backyard with full, active supervision of course (that means both eyes on the puppy at all times!)
6. Bonding Time
Finally, take this time to enjoy your new pup and bond! DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission but the price of the product does not change for you at all. This helps support the channel and allows us to continue to make videos like this. Thank you for your support!