Bringing a puppy home and how to survive the first 24 hours!
Being excited and also a little nervous about bringing your puppy home is a totally normal feeling. Have you got everything? Have you got the right things? Will they settle? Will I get any sleep? These are all really common questions.
There is no doubt that a pup that has in an instant been separated from everything its ever known is going to be quite unsettled. Here are some helpful tips that you can do to help sensibly manage this potentially traumatic experience.
– If possible, visit your puppy several times at the breeder’s home.
– Have everything ready and in place so you aren’t putting up noisy crates being distracted as soon as you get there.
– Ask the breeder if you can have a piece of the pups bedding that smells of him mum and siblings. This will comfort him when he is in his new home.
– After the initial car trip home, immediately take your puppy out for a wee.
– Carry your puppy in and show him from the comfort of your arms the 1 or 2 rooms he will be in for the next few weeks. Let him take in the sights and smells.
– Place your pup gently down and let him explore his surroundings at his own pace.
– Introduce him to existing pets and family members in a calm, quiet way and teach young children not to treat the puppy as a toy.
– Use the same food the breeder has been feeding to avoid an upset stomach.
– Remember puppies don’t have any sense of bedtime routine and sleep whenever they are tired. It’s a good idea to try and keep the puppy fairly active and awake in the evening so that they can settle and sleep better at bedtime.
– Sleep near (not with!) your puppy the first three nights. Just the sound and smell of you nearby will be reassuring.
– Your puppy will usually need to be let out for a wee every 2/3 hours. Be prepared to set your alarm and do this.
– If your puppy cries or whimpers you can use a heated puppy pad or ticking clock nearby to help settle him.
– Remember a crying puppy is a distressed puppy and should NEVER be left for a long period of time.
Recall training – when to start? The best time to start recall training with your dog is as soon as possible! We begin with teaching our pups ‘reflex to name’ which is one of the foundations of recall. This is where we say our dog’s name and ‘come’ or ‘here’ and immediately give our dogs a reward for coming to us.
Remember not to ask for another behaviour such as a sit when your puppy comes to you, as you would then be rewarding the sit rather than the most important this – recall. Here is something you can do at home – the above video shows a puppy recall training exercise with this ‘treat triangle’. Each time the owner gets to a cone, they say the puppy’s name and their recall cue.
This training game is excellent to practice your reflex to name even though your puppy may not have had its vaccinations. It is important to start this in the first few days of getting your puppy, can be done in the garden and then be taken to your local park at a later date.
Puppies are adorable and are hugely rewarding to have. The bond you will form will last a lifetime and it’s exciting to be part of the puppy’s development. One final tip is I would advise taking at least two weeks off work to settle your puppy in not only for him but also for you! Really enjoy this time with them because they grow so quickly!
It is always a good idea to start training your puppy straight away. This means the very same day you bring them home. Do not wait to train your puppy until they are able to go for their walks post vaccination. There are so many important foundations you need to get done before you venture out into the world.
Start off on the right paw and do not let your puppy make mistakes which you later have to undo. Prevention is FAR better than cure, believe us! We don’t want you making the same mistakes as others who are unprepared. We want you to get it right and enjoy your puppy, stress free. Check out our puppy training package here.
Adelaide Stewart-Jones BSc (Hons) IMDT
Dog Behaviourist and Accredited Trainer
The Confident K9 Limited