Taking your puppy home
So, after all this preparation, the time has come at last and excitement has built to fever pitch. You’ve arrived to pick them up and take your new puppy home with you. You have the crate with you and you can put your old shirt in the crate so that the puppy can smell you as yours is a scent they’ve become used to.
Before you set off back home remember to ask when the puppy was last fed and watered so you can gauge when the next feed is due.
Give them the opportunity to eliminate before you set off for home even though you may have thoughtfully placed a pee-pad in the crate just in case. Now you’re ready to go.
Place the crate with puppy in it on the back seat so they get used to being in the back of your vehicle when riding. If someone is sitting in the rear with them that will probably give them a little more reassurance.
Depending on the length of your journey home you may need to stop to feed and water your puppy en route and also give them the chance to pee again. But if your journey is that long you’ll have thought of every eventuality, I’m sure.
Hopefully, your journey will be a short one.
When they first arrive at your home
Finally, the moment has arrived when you drive home with your new puppy, unload the crate and let them out on their leash.
Now’s a good time to introduce them to their home toilet area wherever you’ve chosen that to be. After even a short journey they may need to pee again as it’s almost certainly been a little stressful for them but not for you, hopefully. If they do pee, remember to praise them for this great event.
Entering their new home
So, now you take the puppy to the door, open it, take them off the leash and let them loose to explore the house in their own way and time.
NO!!! Stop right there! This is NOT the way to introduce your new puppy to their new home or the family members living there. They will be excited at arriving and will want to explore their new surroundings but this must be managed in a calm and structured way. Otherwise, they may run riot, breaking items which get in their way and the excitement may lead to other minor accidents, if you get my drift. After all, they are in a completely new environment, the smells will be alien to them and they’ll be completely confused, so the next steps have to be well managed.
After they’ve had the opportunity to pee and you’ve led them on their leash to the entrance, you step inside, keeping them on the leash and then invite them to follow you inside, remembering to close the door behind puppy. You don’t want to lose them on the first day, do you.
First take them to the room which is going to be their living area, where their crate will be placed and their food and water bowls are. Don’t forget, you’ve already identified this area in pre-planning and everything is there already, except their crate which you’ll have brought in from the car and positioned in the room. If they’ve not been fed for some hours it will be best that you feed them and give them water. Get them to sit while you prepare their food and water. Something to eat and drink will help them relax.
Tour of the house
Now is the time to lead them around the house to visit all the rooms to which you want them to have access. Rooms which you don’t want them to be allowed in should have their doors closed so the temptation is not available. Areas of the house where you don’t want them to go, for instance upstairs, you will have thoughtfully already gated off so they can’t get past.
Take them into each room and let them familiarise themselves with the layout, the furniture and anything else in the room. Take puppy around the house on your own as they are now used to you and will get excited by the presence of other people.
Try to keep all the other family members out of the way while you take them on the guided tour.
Meet the family
If you have kids then now is the time that your puppy should meet them. But don’t forget to remind the kids of everything you agreed beforehand about how to treat the puppy when it first arrives home before you leave to collect it. Otherwise, all that planning could be spoilt for want of a quick reminder.
Lead puppy into the room where they’ve gathered but ask the kids not to run at the puppy and show it affection as this may stress the puppy and get it off on the wrong paw. In every case let the puppy go to them and smell them. This will allow puppy to familiarise themselves with individual scents and to get used to the people they’re going to be living with for the rest of their lives.
After puppy has smelled everyone then they can show the puppy affection. But don’t overdo it as they’ll become over excited and you want to keep them calm.
Remember what happens in these very early stages will dictate the sort of dog you’ll have in the future. If you want a dog that runs around the house like a whirling dervish then feel free to ignore everything I’ve said. But remember, you’re reading this because you want your puppy and you to have a relatively stress free existence together, but still to enjoy that existence.
As I cautioned in Part 1, please restrict any visitors to zero on the day of arrival. It just doesn’t help and only serves too confuse and stress the poor puppy. Introductions to friends and neighbours can be managed in an orderly fashion when the puppy has settled into their new environment.
Don’t forget that you need to establish yourself as the pack leader so that puppy recognises that from the get go. Call them by the name you’ve all agreed which will command their attention and further establish you as the leader of the pack.
Puppy will be excited and a little stressed in the best regulated environments regardless of how much planning and preparation you did. This new life is all very strange to them. So, although it’s good to have pee pads available you also need to test how many times they might want to pee. Take them outside to the toilet area regularly at first so you can gauge how often they need to visit and can be aware of the intervals. Don’t forget to praise them when they do pee.
The first night at home
If you followed the pre-planning considerations in Part 1 you’ll have planned a schedule for your new puppy. But be aware that you might have to change that slightly to adapt to arrival times at home and so on. Be flexible to some degree.
Last meal and drink
If at all possible, please make the last meal and drink of the day for puppy around 6.00pm. You don’t want them to be drinking at 9.00pm and then you have to wait three hours for them to want a pee, unless you place a pee pad in the crate or are prepared to sit up with them so you can take them outside when they’re ready to go.
Make sure you take puppy outside before they go in the crate or to their bed. Be patient until they are finished and praise them.
Be prepared to play with your puppy during the evening and preferably not too long before bed time for you. You want them to be tired and relaxed so that they sleep through the night, if possible. Do your best not to let them nap before their bedtime as they won’t be tired and you’ll have to start playing with them again to tire them enough to sleep.
Time for bed
One last time for the day, you hope, you’re going to take them out to the toilet area to pee. Given them plenty of time
Now it’s time for bed for you and for puppy. If you have a crate then invite puppy to go into their crate and get on their sleeping bed. You know then that’s where you’ll find them in the morning.
If you don’t have a crate then you’ll need to consider tethering them to something solid so they can’t move too far. You’ll need to make the tether short and strong. Have their bed and pee pad close at hand so they can sleep in the bed and use the pee pad if necessary.
If you don’t have a crate you may consider tethering puppy in your bedroom, even to your bed. However, this is not necessarily a good idea as they may whine or cry during the night and cut right into your sleep pattern. By then it’s too late and you’ll probably get up to calm them and make a fuss of them.
You should avoid this also because it sets a pattern. In future they will think that they can get your attention by crying or whining and they may test you every night by doing so.
A final warning on the subject of bedrooms and particularly beds. Don’t let puppy get into your bed to sleep. You’ll be setting a very dangerous precedent as they’ll think that’s the norm and will want to sleep there every night. This can lead to some very unwanted behavioural problems for the long term.
You may want to check on them during the night if they sound restless as they probably need a quick toilet visit and they’ll settle down again. If this occurs just after you’ve left them, do your best to ignore the temptation to go see what the problem is, as they’re probably just a little confused and lost and may soon settle down to sleep.
The first day at home
#1 Tasks for the day
You’ll need to be up early to take your new puppy outside to the toilet area so they can relieve themselves. Don’t forget to praise them when they’ve finished.
At that point they will most probably want breakfast so put fresh food and water in clean bowls and let them eat and drink.
Well, what next depends on a number of factors. Firstly, you and your household. Is there anyone at home all day who is able to interact with puppy, feed them, take them out to the toilet area and play with them?
Secondly, are they old enough to have had all their shots? In which case they can be taken out for a walk, depending on weather conditions of course.
Whoever is at home looking after your new puppy, they should continue to observe the schedule of feeding and regular elimination while continuing their training and practicing commands which puppy should become used to and begin to understand.
You’ll have spent a lot of time and effort in preparing for the arrival of your new puppy and so you’ll have thought all this through and your family will all be happy to play their part.
Good Luck with your new puppy
Remember, puppies and dogs like order and they need to know that you are in control. If you continue all the good practices you have promised yourself you’ll carry out and take yourself and puppy off to a well established and respected puppy trainer then you will have a friend for life.
I hope these two articles will have in some way prepared you for the arrival of your new puppy in your home and you will gathered all the items necessary to make life comfortable and as stress free as possible for both your family and your new puppy.
Of course, you’ll have realised that this is just the first part of the journey you’ll all take together and it will have some great times and some less so, but that goes with the territory.
Your puppy needs you to tell them what you want and expect of them. If you stick with it you will have a wonderful relationship with your new best friend.
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