Your puppy’s first night home
It’s an exciting time for everyone when a new puppy arrives for the first time (be it a Puggle or a Labradoodle) but it can also be a little chaotic and more than a little stressful for the new family member. Use these hints and tips so puppy’s first night at home goes as smoothly as possible.
Before your puppy arrives
Before the big day write down a list of everything you need so you know you have everything on hand and aren’t caught by surprise. At the very least you are going to need a leash that fits, a crate or bed for your puppy to sleep in, food and drink bowls, appropriate puppy food, and have a designated toilet area already worked out in preparation for his house training.
Make it a quiet night in
The puppy’s first night should be a quiet one. Give him a decent amount of free reign to explore and meet his new family. While he is exploring it is important that you don’t let him out of your sight as young pups have a bad habit of getting themselves into trouble. He’ll probably want to relieve himself soon so it’s a good idea to get him started on this aspect of his training right away.
Put on puppy’s collar if you haven’t done so already and you can then try him on his leash. Make sure the collar fits and is not too tight. You should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and puppy’s neck. Take him to the designated toilet area and wait for 10 – 15 minutes. If he relieves himself, lots of praise is in order, but if he doesn’t take him back inside and try again in another 10 minutes.
Get his bed ready
The first week at home can be difficult with a new pup as they get used to their new life but there are things you can do to make the transition an easier one. Get puppy a bed or small crate to sleep in and place it in a draft free area. You can make this area near your bed if you want to be close at hand to take puppy outside to the toilet area when he cries or whines. After he has relieved himself put him straight back into his crate without treats or play time, as he will probably (hopefully) go straight back to sleep.
When you arrive to pick up your new puppy bring a new stuffed toy with you so you can get the scent of his littermates onto the toy. Puppy will then be able to snuggle into bed with a familiar scent – making the change of scenery a little less distressing. It’s important to leave puppy in his crate and not take him into bed with you. You may be making things easier for the short term to allow him onto your bed as you are both probably exhausted and need some sleep, but ultimately you are only creating a bad habit which can be hard to break later on.
Set the rules from day 1
You can start your puppy on the way to good manners at feeding time as soon as you get him home. Set the food down about two feet away from puppy and hold him back by using a thumb in his collar. Once he stops fighting you and fidgeting it’s time to let him go with your chosen word of command letting him know it is now O.K. to eat. Make sure you do this at every meal time from now on until good eating habits are firmly ingrained.
The first few weeks of a puppy’s life in their new home can be very disruptive to your schedule but it is important to be patient and consistent with your new little family member. This will give your puppy the best start in life, with good habits forming right from his very first night.