In an ideal world, puppies should not be taken away from their litters until they are eight to twelve weeks old. The reason being that it allows them the right amount of time to learn all about other dogs yet they are still young enough to experience lots of positive interaction with people when they eventually go to their new homes. It's the first few weeks of a puppy's life that are so vital to how they turn out as adult dogs.
It's quite natural for puppies to feel insecure and vulnerable when they leave their litters, after all they've been taken away from everything they are familiar with. To make the transition a little easier, you should leave an item of your clothing with the breeder on your last visit to them making sure it's something that's well worn and which carries your scent. This should be put in the puppy's bed so they get used to your scent while still having the ones they already know and are familiar with around them.
When you collect your puppy, you should also take the item of clothing and use it in the cage they travel in on the way to their new home. Once home, it should be put in their puppy crate so they have a familiar scent with them the whole time when things might feel a little stressful for them.
It's far better to pick a new puppy up from the breeder as early in the day as you can so they get to familiarise themselves with a new environment before nightfall. The chances are they will be kept pretty busy all through the day so when it comes to bedtime puppy will be exhausted, making it that much easier for them to settle and be left on their own for the night.
If possible, you should take a few days off work so you can spend the time with them rather than leaving them to their own devices which they might find a little stressful. You should also make sure the kids play with a new puppy very gently and never leave them on their own. Puppies and children should always be supervised when they are together.
When you do get home from work, make sure the first thing you do is take your little canine friend out into the garden and if they do their business"", make sure you give them lots of praise and rewards. Like this you are effectively setting a precedent for positive reinforcement training by rewarding good behaviour with a treat at a time when puppy is most impressionable.
It's also important to allow them to explore their new surroundings making sure you keep a close eye on them when they do. If they go near any stairs, you need to make sure they don't fall down them which might end up with puppy injuring themselves or at the very least giving themselves a good fright. It's always a good idea to follow your puppy around, making sure you have some nice, healthy and tasty treats with you when you do. This is another way of teaching a puppy when you want them to focus on you.
If you share your home with other pets, you need to introduce them to the newcomer very carefully so that you avoid putting them under any unnecessary stress or pressure. Dogs should first meet up with a new puppy in a garden or somewhere on neutral ground. You need to bear in mind that existing pets might perceive a new puppy as a threat.
You should not let your puppy meet other dogs or walk in areas where other unknown dogs have been until they are fully vaccinated. It's also a good idea to set up an area or room where puppy can run to when they feel they need to. This will become their ""safe zone"", somewhere they feel comfortable when they are tired or when too much is happening in the home around them.
It's also really important to name your puppy as soon as possible so they learn to recognise their name sooner rather than later. Choosing a name that's simple is better than one that's too complicated or which sounds too much like a negative command which could make training sessions that much harder.
A lot of people think that it is far better to ignore a puppy when they whimper and cry the first few night they find themselves in a new and therefore strange environment. However, other people firmly believe that it's far better to set up a puppy crate in your bedroom and allow the puppy to sleep in it for the first few days. They believe this puts less stress on a young puppy when they are at their most impressionable. This is then followed by a gradual process that involves teaching them to sleep on their own in a chosen room.
If you do opt to let your puppy sleep in a puppy crate in your bedroom you should do the following:
One of the best things you can teach a puppy is how to be relaxed and settled in the home and this means they should be settled anywhere else they happen to be when they are out with you. This is one ""life skill"" that all dogs need to learn so they don't pester you each and every time to stand up to do something. Dogs need to know they can ""switch off"" and relax whether they are with you at home or out visiting people. It is not that hard to teach your puppy this skill but it is something that needs to be included early on in their training and their lives with you. It will make all the difference to how they behave when they are adult dogs and will certainly make their lives less stressful when they find themselves in new and unfamiliar environments.