Bringing home, a puppy creates a whirlwind of emotions. One minute you’re excited, the next you’re covering your ears with a pillow because they’re howling all night. But you have to remember, before they came to you, they were snuggled up around the warmth of their brothers and sisters. So, it is no surprise that in this unfamiliar world, they might struggle to settle in.
It’s also no surprise that you’d want it to be the best experience possible. If you do, below you’ll find some great tips on how you can make your first few days as a puppy parent magical.
Make It Feel Like Home
To begin with, your home is not their home. Instead, it is an unfamiliar place filled with strange smells and faces. So, you have to understand that this can be overwhelming. To make it feel more like home, you should give a dog blanket to the breeder and lay it down for the mom and pups to lie on. When you bring the puppy home, you can take the dog blanket and all those familiar smells with it.
It is just one way of adding some comfort to your puppy’s acclimatization period. Giving a toy will also have the same effect. The breeder should be more than happy to play with the puppy and the toy so that it becomes the puppy’s favorite thing.
The next step is to make your home feel like their home. They should have their own specific safe place to go to filled with toys and the blanket from the breeder. What this space is, is up to you.
Many dog owners chose to start crating their puppy from the very beginning. It gives your puppy a place to go when they’re nervous or stressed or if they just want to be alone. Crating doesn’t always work.
Some puppies are stage 10 clingers and find comfort in being close to their human companions. This is fine. But, if you don’t create that space from an early age, you may notice separation anxiety issues developing. If crating is not an option, buy puzzle toys such as the Kong and fill them with a tasty treat. Leave the room for 10 minutes and slowly build your way up as the weeks go on.
The Nightmare of The First Night
It’s worth noting that not every experience of the first night of bringing a puppy home is going to be a nightmare. Some puppies fall right into place at home with their new families and sleep soundly all night. But you should know that puppies are likely to make a mess at night as they have minimal bladder and bowel control. When they’ve got to go, they’ve got to go. So, expect to be cleaning frequently.
How you handle the first night is up to you. Because they are likely to make a mess, it’s recommended that you leave your puppy to sleep on the kitchen floor. This gets them used to being comfortable sleeping away from you at the same time. Don’t panic if you want your puppy to sleep in the bed with you eventually. You won’t have a problem implementing this as they get older and better at holding their bladder. Plus, some puppies much prefer the floor.
The first night is the best time to implement a routine. Ensure you take your puppy out to potty right before you put them to bed. Leave a tasty snack out and give plenty of cuddles, then walk away. You will hear them cry and howl, but most puppies only do this for a few minutes before they settle to sleep. You will then find that they wake at around four to six AM, which is normal. As they get older, they will sleep in longer.
If you are letting your puppy sleep in the room with you from the beginning, ensure it is on the floor. Their tiny bones are not developed enough to handle a jump off the bed at night, and you won’t be able to stop them from doing it. Put puppy pads on the floor on top of their blanket and follow the same routine as suggested for leaving them in another room.
This one is often up for debate and more often misunderstood. Puppies can socialize, and they can do it when they haven’t had their vaccinations. As long as the dog friend has had their vaccinations and the interaction happens at your home, it’s safe. Puppies are usually sent to their new families with their first round of vaccinations, so they’re partially protected.
This does not make it safe for them to explore the big wide world, but it is safe for them to have a puppy play date. Many vets will say the earlier, the better. Socialization from the get-go is very important. They learn crucial puppy play skills, develop puppy life skills, and learn to have fun and feel relaxed around other dogs. Most puppies find comfort in canine companions. Ensure the interaction is with a calm and patient dog who will take it slow around your puppy. There’s always the risk of harm if the other dog is a bit too boisterous.
What Not to Do?
Don’t get a puppy if you can’t dedicate a lot of time to them. A record number of dogs have been surrendered to animal shelters because owners didn’t realize how time-consuming they are. They are like babies. They need feeding, cuddles, sleep, and play just like babies would. Leaving puppies alone for long periods is not recommended.
They can develop stress-related habits such as chewing furniture, going to the toilet in the house, and even aggression. You should be able to dedicate 70% of your day to your puppy. You’ll find they sleep for short periods frequently throughout the day. For the hours they’re not awake, they will need your constant attention. It is hard to wait for something you want so terribly, but don’t compromise the proper care of your puppy because you desperately want one.
Puppies are awesome. You will have endless hours of laughter and a love that runs deeper than most. But, make sure a puppy is for life!