Adopting a new puppy is an exciting milestone for most people, one filled with joy, anticipation and yes, a little bit of fear. Bringing home a new puppy is a huge responsibility, one that most people cannot fully prepare for until they live it. This is mostly due to two things: 1) most new puppy owners have never taken care of another living creature before (aside from themselves, of course) and 2) all puppies come with their own unique personalities that may go against everything said regarding a particular breed.
Additionally, like humans, dogs become attached to their families. If you adopt a newborn pup, chances are that it has never been away from its mother or siblings for more than a few minutes. Though that first night home might be a joyous occasion for you, it could be terrifying for them. It is your responsibility to ensure that your new furry friend feels safe and comfortable in your home and in your care. This guide will provide you with the tools you need to make that happen.
Imagine that you adopt an infant but when you go to bring her home, you don’t have a car seat. When you finally get her home, you discover that you don’t have formula for her when she’s hungry or bottles to put it in, and that you forgot to pick up a pack of diapers. When you go to put her to bed at night, you realize that you don’t have a crib. Not only is this inconvenient for you as you’ll have to run to the store to get each of those things, but also, it’s unsafe for the child. A new baby needs certain things to not only be comfortable but also to stay healthy. A new puppy is much the same way.
A new puppy, like a new baby, needs special food, her own bowls, a place to sleep at night and a cage to safely transport her in. Beyond the necessities, she needs accessories such as toys, a collar, a dog tag, a leash and treats. Don’t wait until you get your puppy home to go out and purchase all of these things, and have them ready ahead of time. This way you don’t have to worry about dragging your new pooch around town while you shop for the items she needs.
Additionally, like with a new baby, you should have planned for medical care in advance. Schedule an initial exam with your chosen veterinarian so that your pup can start her life with you in great health and with great support.
Once you have everything ready for your new pup, it’s time to go pick her up. Whether the drive to and from the local breeder is five minutes or five hours, or even if you have to get on a plane, now is the perfect time to introduce your new dog to her crate. Make sure it is well stocked with treats and chew toys, and make it extra cozy or a tee-shirt with the scent of her mother and/or litter mates. This will go a long ways towards helping her transition in her new home.
When you get your new pup home give her time to relieve herself before bringing her indoors. Though it will take some time before your dog is fully potty trained, this is the first step in the training process. Give her a treat and praise her when she goes, and then bring her in.
Spend the first day getting to know your pet. Sit on the floor with her and let her lick your face, talk to her and pet her. It is important that you don’t leave her alone on her first day, as this is your opportunity to teach her that affection is okay, and to get to know the sound of your voice and your scent.
Additionally, puppies have tiny bladders and will need to eliminate every hour or so. However, they won’t let you know—they’ll just go. To protect your carpets and hardwood floors, bring her outside every 15 to 20 minutes and directly after each meal. Bring her out before she goes to bed and right when she wakes up in the morning.
If your new pooch goes into her crate, let her be. Remember, she might be feeling scared and overwhelmed, and her crate may be her “safe space.” Let her have it. Eventually, she will come out to play, eat or go to the bathroom, all opportunities for you to show her that you’re trustworthy.
Though this may seem inconsequential, where your puppy sleeps during her first days at home could set a precedence for your relationship with her. While many people are hesitant to “coddle” their new pooch by allowing him or her to sleep with them at night, it’s best for new dogs to sleep in the same room as their new owners. Set up her crate at the foot of your bed or next to an open door. Not only will this help her feel as if she’s not alone, but also it will allow you to respond to her needs quicker. If she wakes up in the middle of the night, she will need to go to the bathroom. Quickly take her out before she has an accident.
To ensure she sleeps comfortably through the night, don’t forget to include a blanket or tee-shirt that reminds her of her mother and littermates. Eventually, you can replace the blankets with ones that smell like you, but for now your goal is to make sure your new puppy is as comfortable as possible.
Depending on where you got her, her breed and the breeder, your pup may be anywhere from 7 weeks to 12 weeks old when you bring her home. This is right in the middle of a puppy’s most critical learning period, when they are just old enough to soak up all kinds of information and just young enough where they haven’t yet formed any habits.
The critical training period for most dog breeds lasts until they are between 14 and 16 weeks old. Make the most of this learning stage by focusing on the essentials such as housetraining, chew training, lease training and even bark training. Socialize your pooch a lot at this young stage so that they are friendly with your closest friends, neighbors and relatives. The last thing you want is for your new pet to scare off your loved ones—something that does happen with over protective breeds that are under-socialized.
In addition to introducing your new friend to those near and dear to you, try to get her out as much as possible and to see as many unfamiliar faces as possible. The goal is to teach your new dog to be friendly towards others in the right environments. You want her to know that it is not okay to growl at the mailman or the friendly neighbor down the street, but that it is okay to alert you with a bark with an unfamiliar face turns up in your home.
While you will eventually want to introduce your pooch to other dogs and animals, do not do so until you get the go ahead from the vet. You want to be sure that your own dog isn’t carrying some contagious disease that she can pass on to others or that she does not have a compromised immune system. Once you get the go-ahead, then take your furry friend to the dog park to make friends and learn how to play nice with others.
A new dog is a big responsibility but don’t let that scare you out of buying one. Owning a dog can be extremely rewarding and with the right love and care, you and your new pet can develop a lifelong friendship. However, the foundation of that friendship needs to be constructed early on, preferably within the first few days of bringing her home. By utilizing the advice above, you can ensure that the first few days and weeks with your new puppy go smoothly and that she will be feeling comfortable and at home in no time!
At CT Breeder, we offer free training for life to new dog owners that buy a puppy from us. Our goal is to ensure that you and your new pooch have a strong and lasting bond, something that can be achieved with quality, professional training. If you want your new furry friend to be the loyal companion you’ve only read about or seen in movies, purchase a purebred puppy from CT Breeder, and then let us do the training. Reach out to us to schedule an initial meet and greet with our team and puppies today.