Bringing Home A New Puppy – Care and Training Tips
Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting new journey!
Puppies are cute, cuddly, and playful creatures who love to play. They also require lots of attention and care from their owners. If you want to have a happy, well-adjusted dog, then you'll need to prepare her for her new life ahead. And it's important for you to know what to expect in the first days, weeks, and months after bringing home a new puppy.
What To Expect When Bringing Home A New Puppy
The first few days after you bring your new puppy home will be an exciting time as he gets acquainted with his new surroundings. He may be curious about everything around him, but your puppy may also feel a little overwhelmed.
Remember, this is likely the first time your puppy has been away from his mom and littermates or been for a ride in a car. And now he finds himself in a brand new environment. There are all kinds of new sights, smells and sounds, a new family and new life, and maybe even other new animals – don’t forget about those smaller version humans who run and shout and are so exciting/scary!
This is when a puppy typically calls out for mom, and that’s when your first job begins. You need to respond, make sure all the needs for food, water, potty, and naps are met, and then it’s a good time for that snuggle. Finally…
It's important to keep other people away from this first experience to help your puppy bond with you. Ask your family members to be very quiet and only approach after puppy has explored his crate and pen. Keep your cat, dog, and other family pets away for a few days until puppy is less overwhelmed.
It's also important to expect disruptions to your schedule to meet your puppy's needs. Beyond the basics of food, water, potty breaks, and naps, puppies need exercise, attention, affection… and training.
Puppy will need a potty spot outside, a crate to sleep in, a pen to play in while he builds confidence in his new home, food and water bowls, and appropriate toys. We created a comprehensive list of must-have items to help ensure you have all the essentials before bringing your new puppy home.
Your puppy's first night with you could be great if your pup is calm and sleepy. But, if she is still overwhelmed, that first night could be challenging. Our advice? Stay patient, consistent, and know this baby puppy is struggling. Lots of unconditional love on your part now will lead to lots of unconditional love on her part later!
And puppies have sensitive tummies, so don't switch puppy's food right away. The stress of the other changes is enough for now. So be sure you have your breeder's puppy food on hand.
Puppies are also amazing at finding the least appropriate thing to play with! To ensure your puppy and your belongings are safe, take time to puppy-proof your home, exactly the way you would child-proof your home. Wherever the puppy will be, get down on the floor and see what a puppy might find; remove any cords or other potential hazards.
How To Introduce A New Puppy To Its Home
When you arrive home, take puppy immediately to an outdoor pen set up in the potty spot. Be sure to keep your puppy on a leash when you take her out to potty to prevent her from running off and minimize distractions!
After pottying, it's time to introduce your puppy to her pen and crate, and allow her to explore for a while before you and your family interact more with your pup. You may find that puppy actually needs a nap before meeting the family.
Just like a baby who is learning to crawl and walk, your puppy needs constant supervision when outside the crate or puppy pen. And access should be limited to other areas of your home by closing doors and setting up baby gates.
How Long Does It Take For A New Puppy To Get Used To Their New Home?
Some young puppies get used to their new home and new schedule within a few days or weeks, but others may take several weeks or even a few months to feel confident. Don’t get down if yours takes longer to get comfortable and respond; just enjoy the small wins and you’ll soon see some big wins! Remember, puppies are not stubborn or bad – just confused and unsure!
The tips provided below will help make this transition easier for you and your pup!
New Puppy Care and Training Tips
1. Keep A Schedule or Journal
Now is the right time to start keeping a schedule to learn your pup’s natural rhythms and help her adapt well to new surroundings, new training, new everything! It will help you to understand when she needs to potty, nap, play, eat, and snuggle.
2. Make Puppy's First Veterinary Appointment
Your vet is your partner in the care of your dog and helps to ensure your puppy's health and well-being. During that first appointment, you'll want to discuss dog food, vaccinations, flea and parasite control, and when to microchip and spay or neuter.
You'll also want to ask about infectious diseases, future checkups, advice on the quality and quantity of your dog’s food. Vets that are Fear-Free certified are best. And yes, there are ways to expose your puppy to the world before all the vaccines are completed!
3. Dog Training: Start With A Few Essential Skills
The first week or two should mainly focus on helping your fur baby feel at home, getting to know each other, and teaching three essential skills:
- Potty Training
- Crate Training
- Becoming Comfortable Wearing A Collar and Leash
4. Keep It Fun and Rewarding
Always use positive training techniques, and be sure to offer lots of praise and a treat when your puppy performs the desired behavior.
Remember, puppy training is not a sprint – it’s a marathon. So take it slow and keep those training sessions really short – no more than three or five minutes a few times a day!
Make training fun by using our proven training games to lead your puppy through these important skills in the right progression. When dog training is fun and rewarding, it keeps you both motivated and excited for the next step!
5. Get Expert Help When Needed
While raising a puppy can be very rewarding, it can also be a bit overwhelming too. There will be adorable antics, snuggles, and licks, followed by biting, potty accidents, and unwanted behaviors like chewing. The good news is… you don’t have to go it alone!
If you work, you may need a dog sitter or dog walker to help out, and don’t forget help from a professional dog trainer!
A professional trainer can help you avoid common mistakes most puppy owners make and ensure you’re using the most effective techniques so your puppy learns quickly while having fun.
Our FREE New Puppy Starter Kit provides the expert help you need to get started right away.
About the trainer
After spending 20 years helping families with their dogs face to face as a professional dog trainer, Michele realized that so much of what she knows could be shared with families everywhere - in a way that actually works. People sometimes think their dog is just SUPER difficult because the advice they’ve gotten was incomplete, confusing or just wrong. So she set out to help. Michele loves training dogs because of the impact that it has on the families she gets to help. The peace and joy they get from being able to enjoy their dog LISTENING. Besides teaching classes, helping private clients and running seminars, Michele is also a foodie and fantasizes about being a food critic or secret shopper for restaurants. Talk to her about food and your instant best friends.