Bringing your new puppy home for the first time can be really exciting, but it can also be rather stressful, both for the puppy and their new owners! While much advice is written about how to handle and train a young puppy, one area that is often overlooked is precisely how you should manage and deal with your new puppy’s first night in their new home.
It is of course important that your puppy feels safe, welcome and comfortable and not suddenly alone, but equally important to ensure that you do not inadvertently start setting a pattern from the get-go of undesirable behaviour and pandering to your puppy’s every whim and letting them get into bad habits! Read on to learn more about how to handle your new puppy’s first night with you in their new forever home.
You should make any changes that you plan to make to your puppy’s food and feeding schedule gradually, and not begin to make any changes on their first day with you. Keep your puppy on the same food that they were used to eating when with their canine family, and stick to feeding them at the same times as they are used to if at all possible. It is possible that your puppy will not be keen to eat on their first day with you due to the amount of things going on around them, and this is fine, but keep offering them food and encourage them to eat if possible.
It is of course important to let your puppy know that you are there for them and they are not suddenly out in the big wide world on their own, but you should also allow your pup time and space to reflect on the change in their circumstances. Make sure they can have some breathing space to sit quietly and be on their own without getting stressed out or bothered; your puppy will probably find themselves a spot that suits them to have a time out, and you should allow them to do this.
Keep an eye on your pup
You should of course have puppy-proofed your house prior to bringing your puppy home, but you will also need to keep a careful eye on them to make sure that they are not getting into trouble! A quiet puppy is likely to be either sleeping or up to no good, so make sure that it is not the latter! Keep an eye on them to ensure that they are not chewing the furniture, doing something dangerous or undesirable, or going to the toilet in a hidden corner!
Where they will sleep
Making your puppy comfortable to go to sleep is one of the biggest challenges of bringing home a new puppy, and you should already have bedding and a sleeping space in mind. The breeder of the litter might have already begun crate training the puppies, and so you should have a crate to hand and encourage your puppy to sleep in it, although without shutting them in.
It is a bad idea to allow your puppy to sleep in your bed with you on their first night unless you are absolutely positive that you wish to share your bed with your dog for the duration of their life, so do not think that this is the easiest option! However, setting up their crate or bed in your bedroom or within sight of you can help your puppy to settle in, even if you intend to have them sleep in a different room in the long term.
Toys and entertainment
Try to provide toys and other entertainment that your puppy is familiar with, both to help to keep the occupied and to help them feel more at home. A range of things to play with will both divert their attention away from wondering what happened to the rest of their litter, and will make them feel positive and happy about their new environment.
Find out from the breeder or seller before you take your puppy home what your puppy’s toileting schedule is, and if they are already used to asking to go out and toileting outdoors. Keep a careful eye on your puppy for any signs that they need to go to the toilet, and do not hang about if they indicate that they need to go- let them go outside. If your puppy is not used to going outside or their toileting can be rather hit and miss, set up newspapers or puppy pads in an appropriate spot where your puppy can go to the toilet indoors.
Managing existing pets with a new puppy can be a fine line to tread, between protecting the puppy and making them feel at home and ensuring that any other household pets do not feel pushed out or replaced.
Cats should be kept in a separate part of the house and introduced to your puppy gradually, and generally not on their first day with you. Introductions to other dogs will depend largely on the temperament of the dog, but it is wise to let dog and puppy see and sniff each other if possible, as they will almost certainly already be aware of the other’s presence.