The first days after bringing home your puppy can be very challenging. In this post I’ll go over some tips to help you get through these first few days.
You can watch the video of this blog post here if you prefer watching over reading:
The moment is here, you finally get to take your new puppy home. But how to make sure he feels comfortable during these first few days in a new and strange environment.
A puppy is a fulltime commitment
When I get a new puppy, I will always make sure I have at least two weeks of vacation scheduled. This way we’ll have time to bond and lay out the foundation on which we’ll build our relationship.
Before entering your home
Firstly, before entering your home, make sure to make a little walk around the block. This will provide your puppy with the chance to go potty if necessary (and thus lessening the chance of a first accident in-house).
Once inside, provide your puppy with a safe puppy proof environment. Let him sniff around a bit to get to know his new home. It’s easier to assign a small area of your home, one or two rooms for example, to your new puppy. This way he can’t roam off out of your sight. It’ll also help in house training your dog, because he’ll have less places to soil.
Friends & Family
Although you’ll probably want to invite all of your friends and family to come and see your new puppy, you shouldn’t do this until your puppy has settled in. Take a few days to let your puppy acclimate to his new home. This period, though exciting for us, is very stressful for your puppy. In one day, he has lost both his mom, his littermates and his safe home.
Introducing the crate
If you’re going to use a crate for your dog, start by introducing the crate the first day. The sooner you commence this training, the sooner your puppy will feel comfortable inside. At first, just leave the crate open and lure your puppy inside with some treats. Reward him when he walks inside the crate. At this point, you shouldn’t close the crate just yet. When feeding your puppy, place the food inside the crate. This will make sure your puppy has a positive experience with the crate. Remember to NEVER use the crate as a means of punishment. You can use it as a time-out though, but you should use it with the right, positive mindset.
Setting up a routine
It’s easier for your puppy to act as you want him to when he has a good routine. This will also help you in house training your puppy, preparing him for when you go back to work and sleeping through the night.
Teaching your puppy how to walk on leash is very important in the modern world. Dogs should be leash trained mostly for their own safety. A leash protects them from dangers like running off onto a street.
First training sessions
Keep your first training sessions short. A few minutes, multiple times a day are far more productive than one big session of an hour. Your puppy isn’t yet able to stay focused that long, so keep it brief and positive.
Learning his name
When your puppy arrives at your home, he won’t know his name just yet. This will be one of the first things you should teach him. You can do this by calling his name in a very exciting voice and rewarding him whenever he reaches you.
Many of my customers seem confused when I tell them that at times I leash my dog inside my home. I’ll do this to make sure I can control what they’re doing. If your dog is running away from you, maybe because they stole something, it’s easier to get them back when leashed. It’ll also provide help when training the recall. Which you should be doing very often.
Similar to the first training sessions, keep your first walks from being long walks. I often go out for just a few minutes at a time, multiple times a day. This also helps me to be fully focused on my dog during the walk. I’ll have time to train how I want my puppy to walk beside me. By walking one minute extra every week, you’ll give your new puppy the time to learn to understand how you want him to walk.
When taking your puppy home, most breeders will provide you with some food they gave the puppies. You can either choose to keep feeding the same or change into some other brand you prefer. Make the change gradually by mixing the two brands up over multiple meal times before switching fully. Up until the age of about 4 months, I’ll try to feed my dogs 3 times a day. After that I’ll switch to 2 times a day and at the age of about 1 year I switch to one time a day. Of Course you are free to choose how many times per day you want to feed your dog.
Your puppy will still need a lot of sleep to be able to process what he has learned. Since everything is still new, his brain is constantly learning new things. Puppies that don’t get enough sleep, often become annoying and will start biting, nipping and sometimes running around to shed their frustration. Make sure you provide your puppy with enough sleep time. A crate can help in regulating your puppy’s sleeping pattern. By confining your puppy to a smaller, safe space, he'll be able to take a nap more easily.