Bringing a Puppy Home: Tips for a Smooth Start
There are few things more exciting than welcoming a new puppy into your home! Your new furry family member is about to bring lots of fresh energy into your life with their sweet charm, curious nature, and amusing personality. And with this wonderful time comes a few changes in the daily (and nightly) routines for you and everyone in your household.
From navigating that first night home to figuring out potty time, we have some advice to help ensure bringing home a new puppy is a happy and warm experience for everyone.
Before Your Puppy Arrives
Ahead of your pup's arrival, be prepared with the essential items they need, including food, treats, and a leash (just to name a few items). Our handy new puppy checklist is a thorough list to make shopping more efficient.
Aside from picking up supplies, you will also want to puppy-proof your house before your new friend arrives. Believe us, you will appreciate a little peace of mind knowing your home is prepared and safe for your pup's arrival. A great first step is to view your home from your puppy's perspective. This means literally crawling around to see if there are any potentially harmful items they can get their mouth on, such as electrical cords, candy dishes, and more. Once you have the safety aspect taken care of, you can focus solely on your new puppy!
The Big Day
They're finally here! After bringing a puppy home, it's important for them to get acclimated to your home, other family members, and maybe even other pets.
Follow these five tips for a smooth transition that ideally turns into a strong long-term routine. Not to mention, these tips double as great ground rules in the house—especially if the whole family is involved in caring for the newest member of the household!
Pick the Potty Spot
House training your dog is a pet parenting duty you will want to tackle from the start! If you opt to pad train your puppy, pick up dependable dog training pads and find a spot that's out of the way of heavy foot traffic. If you're heading outdoors for potty time, find a spot that's easily accessible for your pup and be sure every family member on potty duty sticks to that same location.
No matter if you're training your dog to go potty indoors or outdoors, it's never too soon to establish a routine. Lead your puppy to the pad or take them to their outdoor potty spot when they're most likely to have to relieve themselves: first thing in the morning, after playing, after napping, after eating or drinking, and before bed.
Gradually Introduce Your Puppy to Places & People
Once you welcome your furry friend into the house, a general rule is to introduce them to their surroundings and other humans slowly. Allowing your pup to explore too big of a space on their own or meet multiple people at once can overwhelm them.
Begin with the area of your home that your puppy will be most familiar with; the room where their food and water is located is a great starting point. Then, continue the house tour slowly, avoiding rooms you've determined are off-limits.
One of the most exciting parts of bringing home a new puppy is introducing them to the people in your life! There will most likely be friends, family members, and neighbors who can't wait to meet your furry friend. Invite a couple people over to visit at a time and encourage them to remain calm and gentle when handling the puppy. This is an especially important reminder when introducing your new dog to children.
Although you may be curious to see how your puppy interacts with another furry friend, it's recommended to introduce your pup to other dogs after they've received their vaccinations.
➔ RELATED: How to Socialize Your Puppy
Designate Your Pup's Sleeping Spot
Before the first night's sleep, get your puppy acquainted with their bed or crate. Puppies tend to experience bouts of energy and then adorably collapse for a quick nap.
To get your pup more comfortable with their designated sleeping spot, try taking them to it when they seem ready for a nap. Eventually, they'll associate their bed or crate as safe places to recharge.
Stay Strong During the Night
Most pet parents will tell you that the first few nights after bringing a puppy home are the hardest. After all, they're a baby animal in a new environment—away from their mom and the place they were accustomed to—so it's understandable they will feel nervous.
Be sure to take your furry friend for a potty break before and after bedtime to reinforce positive habits. While it may seem difficult, try not to tend to your puppy as they whimper during the night. You want to follow the ground rules and try to reinforce the sleep schedule you plan to use for years to come.
Watch Your Puppy Closely
Do your best to keep an eye on your new furry friend! They are naturally curious and still learning their surroundings. From the minute you bring them home, training and reinforcing household rules are a constant.
For instance, your pup may be fascinated with furniture that you frequently use. If you want to stop your puppy from chewing on a chair or couch, it's important to shift that behavior early. Use treats to entice them away from the furniture while reinforcing the "off" command. In addition, make sure they have plenty of puppy chew toys to safely satisfy their chewing instincts and encourage healthy, non-destructive chewing habits.
If you're looking for more on how to train your pup, check out these handy puppy training tips.
Take it Slow!
Building a strong bond with your puppy takes patience and determination but creates an invaluable relationship. Positive reinforcement, consistent love and affection from family and friends, and clear household rules will allow your puppy to adapt quickly to their home. If you and everyone in the household stay committed to the routine after bringing a puppy home, you'll all be rewarded with an unbreakable bond.