Bringing Home A New Puppy – Care and Training Tips

Care and Training Tips When Bringing Home A New Puppy

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.

After bringing home a new puppy he may be overwhelmed at first

 

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.

A puppy schedule helps a new puppy adapt to your home

 

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:

 

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.

Care and Training Tips When Bringing Home A New Puppy
Michele Lennon with her dream dogs

About the trainer

Michele Lennon

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.

5 Comments

  1. Erica Sevcik on February 4, 2022 at 6:07 pm

    I would appreciate clarification about placing any mat inside the (plastic) puppy crate. I will follow your recommendation. Did Michelle advise placing a pup in the crate without a mat or any thing? I believe that I heard Michelle say something like, ” Just let the dog lie on the crate bottom. If there is soft padding they might get confused and pee in the crate.” Also chewing and ingesting material is an obvious risk. am I understanding correctly?

    We will be picking-up our 12 week pups soon. We have an extra, extra small crate for each. I feel like I should make the bottom of the crate comfortable. No padding at all? I appreciate your expertise and your passion, Michelle. This is why I am asking you, thank you.

    • How To Train a Dream Dog on February 4, 2022 at 6:22 pm

      You are correct, we typically do not put anything in a dog’s crate that would encourage accidents in the crate. This includes bedding and blankets. In addition, these softer items can be chewed and ingested causing your dog to get sick or form a blockage in their digestive system. Most dogs easily fall asleep on hard floors and can fall asleep in their crates without any bedding. Do we make an occasional exception, yes, but only if we are passed the potty training stage and our dog is passed the teething and chewing stage. You may find that you can place a snuggle puppy in the crate for the first week or so but around the 10-week mark we usually take it out and set it on top of the crate, once the pup starts using it as a chew toy. Your pup can still feel/hear it when it’s on top of the crate. Here’s the link to the snuggle puppy https://www.howtotrainadreamdog.com/snuggle_puppy

  2. Lindsay on April 10, 2022 at 3:00 pm

    I’m stressing about what size crate to get since I don’t have my puppy yet… But we pick him up in 6 days! I asked the breeder if he’s been measured nose to tail yet, and she said no, just that he grows fast and right now (at 9 weeks) he’s about 5.6 lbs. He’s a Cavalier … just like Pickles ;). Do I go with the 28″ Skymate to start??? Your feedback would be most reassuring! thank you in advance!

  3. Lindsay on April 10, 2022 at 3:24 pm

    I thought I left a comment/question – but now I’m not seeing it. I am stressing about what size crate to get for my puppy. Picking him up in 6 days. I asked the breeder if he’s been measured nose to tail yet and she said no – just that he’s growing fast and currently weighs about 5.6 lbs. He’s a cavalier, like Pickles 😉 and is 9 weeks old. Do I go with the 28″ Skymate? A response at your earliest convenience would be most appreciated! thank you in advance!

    • How To Train a Dream Dog on April 10, 2022 at 5:16 pm

      Great question, Lindsay. We have a great video all about choosing the right crate and which size to get https://youtu.be/UTjTJPaqA0U

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