Bringing your new puppy home for the first time is really exciting for all of the family, and it should be a positive experience for your puppy as well. Leaving their mother and siblings for the first time can be very stressful for the puppy, however, and you will have to make a considerable amount of effort to make your puppy feel welcome and comfortable in their new home, and to begin to bond with you and your family in place of their canine companions.
You should have everything that you need ready for your new puppy before you take them home, but when you first get home with your pup, it can be difficult to know how best to make them settle in, and how to ensure that they are not stressed while not coddling them too much.
Read on for our top tips on how to make sure that your puppy is happy, comfortable and settles down within their new home.
- Introduce your puppy to every member of the family, and make sure that this is a positive experience for him.
- Don’t invite too many friends or strangers over during the first week, as this may overwhelm your puppy before they have had a chance to settle down.
- Take your puppy along to the vet for their first check up, and vaccinations if these have not been done already.
- Don’t change your puppy’s diet during the first week, and after this, take any changes gradually, as your puppy will probably have been used to having only one food since they were old enough to eat solids!
- Spend plenty of time with your puppy, bonding with him and getting him used to you. Someone should be at home with the puppy almost all of the time during their first week with you.
- If you have children, make sure that they respect your puppy’s space, and know when to leave him alone and not try to play with him.
- Make sure that any introductions to other household animals are carefully supervised and managed.
- Give your puppy his own space and bedding, and a place that he can call his own.
Your puppy’s first nights away from their canine family
It can be quite stressful and a bit scary for a puppy to *get used to sleeping without their canine family surrounding them at first, and you should do what you can to ease the transition for them. Puppies will almost always cry during their first couple of nights alone, which can be very stressful for their owners as well. If possible, try to arrange that someone sleeps in the same room or near to the puppy during their first few nights with you, to provide reassurance; but do make sure that you do not make this a regular thing, or that your puppy becomes dependent upon it to sleep.
- When your puppy falls asleep, leave them to rest and do not continue to pet them.
- If your puppy wakes in the night and cries, speak reassuringly to them but try to avoid encouraging your pup to move around or come to you.
- Ensure that your puppy does not learn that crying or fussing can be used to garner attention.
- Make sure that your puppy’s bed is warm, comfortable and welcoming for them, and is a nice place for them to relax.
Teaching your puppy to settle down within the home.
Puppies are busy little animals that are into everything, and will usually want to play, investigate and get up to mischief until they are exhausted enough to conk out into those deep puppy sleeps! It is important to teach your puppy that they need to be able to settle down at other times as well, and that they need to be happy being calm and quiet on occasion, and spending quiet time with the family.
- Make sure that your puppy receives enough exercise and has plenty of opportunities to blow off steam.
- Provide a comfortable, calming spot for your puppy in every room that the family spend a significant amount of time, such as the lounge. Teach your pup that this is his place, and where he should sit with the family when he is not interacting with them directly.
- Make sure that the family are all relaxed and not excitable themselves, as your puppy will soon pick up on this.
- Your puppy should be allowed to play quietly by themselves in their designated spot, but not be overly rowdy!
- If necessary, place your puppy on a lead to keep them to their area of the room to keep them from wandering off and getting into mischief.
- Move on to removing the lead once your puppy has settled, and rewarding them for staying where they are when off the lead.
- Don’t expect young puppies to pick up when and how to settle down right away- just a minute or two is all you should aim for at first.