Bringing home a new puppy is both an exciting and scary time for everyone. It's life-changing for you and the new puppy. It's important to know what to expect and how to prepare for it. We have put together some new puppy tips to help you and your new pup settle in comfortably. Get ready with some writing materials, scribble down your to-do list, and a puppy shopping list as you read this article from start to end.
Preparation before bringing the puppy home
1. Puppy-proof the house
In this article, we will not dwell on the details of puppy proofing but as a reference, you’ll need to put away loose items such as shoes, clothes, and kids’ toys that the puppy might chew. Remove any toxic plants and flimsy pieces of furniture that the puppy can knock over. Tie up cables, electrical cords, tablecloths, and anything loose hanging that may entice the puppy to chew or pull at it.
Use dog gates to block access to areas that you do not want your puppy to venture into, and make sure that all the doors to cupboards and drawers are closed. If you have a garden, check your fences, make sure there’s no hole that the puppy can crawl through, and escape.2. Puppy’s bed
This will be your pup’s personal space. A place for him to chill, take a nap, and rest at night. This needs to be a safe, quiet location away from the busy household traffic. If you do decide to get a crate, remember that the puppy might not be used to going into a crate. You may need to train him to enter and stay in the crate.3. Puppy’s food and water bowl
Your puppy’s food and water should be always easily accessible. Ideally, the eating and drinking station must be placed at a quiet place near its’ bed. Make sure your puppy has ample clean, fresh water and stock up on food before the puppy comes home. Initially, it is best to keep them on the same food that they have been eating. Coupled with the stress of moving to a new location, a sudden change of food can result in tummy upset. You can decide on a new diet later when the puppy has settled in. Whenever you are ready to make a diet transition, refer to this guide - What is the best food for puppies?
- to help you find the best for your puppy.
4. Puppy’s toilet area
Designate an area for toileting. If you do not have easy access to an outdoor space, set up a pee tray for your pup. Unlike adult dogs, puppies can’t hold it for very long. They have to go every few hours. It is best to use a fast absorption pee pad to prevent messy tracking all over your house! Check out the Absorb Plus Odor Elimination Charcoal Dog Pee Pad
.5. Set ground rules and make sure everyone knows what they are!
Will the new puppy be allowed on the sofa? Can it venture into your master bedroom or home office?
Set the ground rules together with your family members and make sure everyone knows about it. Consistency is the key to training a new puppy. Imagine how confusing it will be for your pup if every member of the household has a set of different rules!6. Find the right vet for your pup
Once your new pup has settled in, which will usually take a few days, it is time to visit the vet to get properly checked, vaccinated, and microchipped. It is best not to expose your new puppy to other dogs before getting his shots.
Word of mouth is often the best way to find a vet. Ask the breeder, your friends, and other dog owners around the neighbourhood for recommendations. Once your pup has gotten all his shots, it is time to introduce him to other dogs around the neighbourhood, and find him new playmates! 7. The scent of the litter
When picking up your new pup from the breeder, bring a brand new toy along. With the breeder’s permission, rub it on each of the puppies in the litter or on the bedding that the puppy used to sleep on. This will put the ‘scent of the litter’ onto the toy which can then be placed in your puppy’s new bed to provide him with some familiar smells when he misses his siblings at night.
Introducing puppy to the new home
The first thing you should do when the puppy reaches home is to bring him to the toileting area, especially if the journey home has been a long one. Dog’s urine contains an enzyme that powerfully marks the spot. The scent of urine acts as an attractant and your dog will keep peeing in the same spot. Allowing your puppy to mark the toilet area first can be a great help later with toilet training.
You can use the Simple Solution Puppy Aid Attractant Training Spray For Dogs to prepare the toileting area before your puppy reaches home. Spray little on the pee pad. The solution is scientifically formulated to encourage puppies to urinate in a specific area and it’s safe around children when used as directed. A training aid can help to reduce housetraining time and minimise accidents around your house.
The next area to visit is his resting area – bed, food, and water stations. Give the puppy time to familiarise himself with the area. A new home is a lot for a young puppy to take in, so it’s best to introduce them to each area slowly. Allow them time to get comfortable before introducing them to other areas around the house. Showing them the toilet area, bed, and food/water bowls first will allow them to immediately learn where the important things are.
Bringing a puppy home is a very exciting time but do remember that young puppies can be nervous and fearful on their first day. They find themselves alone, away from the rest of their siblings. So, try to minimise stress and excitement. It is best to create a calm and welcoming environment to greet the puppy. Don’t invite friends and neighbors over to meet him yet. That can be arranged later when your pup has settled in comfortably with the family.
Surviving the first night with puppy
The first few nights can be tricky. He is so used to sleeping with his mummy and siblings and sleeping without them can be upsetting. This is when the ‘scent of the litter’ can be useful. Remember to place the scented toy on his bed and keep bedtime as calm as possible. It is also a good idea to have a set bedtime and stick to it. Doggy loves routine and it’s good to start them young.
It can be a good idea to sleep in the same room for the first few nights until they are more confident sleeping alone. They might cry or bark at night, and this is completely normal as they adjust to a new home. If your puppy cries, it is ok to comfort him but let him sleep in his bed. Do not put him on your bed unless this is where you want him to sleep. Every puppy is different. Some will sleep through the night right from the start. Others may cry for a few nights before they learn to settle down.
Puppies are not able to hold it for very long so do expect midnight potty breaks. When your puppy whines, it usually means he must go. Carry him to his toileting area, then put him back in bed when he is done. This middle-of-the-night potty break will usually end when the puppy is around 4 to 5 months old.
Other things to expect within the first 72 hours
1. Set a routine
Start house training as soon as possible, and the first step is to set a routine and stick to it. Be consistent with your pup’s mealtimes, playtime, nap time, potty breaks, and bedtime. Work a routine around your schedule and get other family members to help.
2. Biting and chewing
From the very first day, your puppy needs to be discouraged from chewing on shoes or anything that he is not supposed to chew on. Take the item away and give him a stern “No”. Puppies chew because they want to exercise and if they don’t have an appropriate toy, they will chew on anything that they can find. Give them puppy-proof toys like this KONG Puppy Teething Dog Toy to keep them occupied. This chew toy comes with specially designed ridges, Denta-Ridges, to help clean puppy’s teeth and gums too!
The backup solution is to use the NaturVet Bitter YUCK! No Chew Spray for Cats & Dogs. Spray on the object that you want your pup to stop chewing on. This is a water-based, alcohol-free formula that doesn’t sting or stain. It has a “yucky” unappealing taste, making chewing on the object unpleasant.
3. Accidents will happen
Unfortunately, accidents will happen as puppies are not able to hold it for very long. Puppies below 6 months will need a potty break every 3 to 4 hours. Puppies below 3 months of age may need a potty break every hour or so. The accident spot needs to be cleaned thoroughly. Any scent left behind will entice the puppy to re-visit the same spot. Use Richard's Organics Stain Remover & Deodorizer for Home, a deep cleansing formula using natural enzymes to breakdown the stains eliminates odour, and discourages your pup from re-soiling the same areas.
4. Cradling your puppy
Gently cradle the puppy several times daily. Begin by sitting on the floor, cradling your pup on your lap, and gently touching his paws, mouth, ears, and tummy. This helps your pup to be comfortable with human touches. Adult dogs that have never been taught to feel comfortable with human touches, will be stressed and even ‘nippy’. This can be a challenge when it comes time for a vet checkup or grooming.
Do take the time to check out Good Dog People's exclusive Puppy & Senior Privilege (PSP) Program. This is the best time to apply for PSP membership and take advantage of the discounted rates on all puppy items. Your pup must be less than 18 months old to qualify for the program and we are offering 5% OFF on all puppy and senior items. PSP is a lifetime membership and does not expire. We're leading the way to support puppies and senior dogs because we understand it's hard to find stuff that suits them in most big-box chains or online pet stores. Apply here to become a member of PSP and save more on all your puppy purchases.
Each dog is different. Some puppies might start to bond with you within an hour! Others may take a few weeks. But, with a little patience, consistent routine, and lots of love from the family, your pup will quickly learn its' place and settled in its' new environment. Stay positive. Your new pup will be your best friend before you know it.
Katherine is a Pet Nutrition Specialist and GDP’s Pet Wellness Advisor. She is committed to helping pet owners make informed dietary and lifestyle choices in nurturing healthy pets. Katherine is also a practicing Nutritional Therapist (human nutrition) and has been helping hundreds of clients to heal naturally with nutrients.