You’ve made the exciting decision to get a puppy, you’ve thought through your essentials for when you bring them into your home, but what about the actual first day itself? What do you need to consider when you bring a new puppy home on that first day? Here we look at the important aspects to contemplate before bringing a new puppy home.
Agree house rules beforehand
You need to know what the rules will be for your puppy when s/he arrives. Are they allowed on the sofa? Will they be allowed upstairs? Are they allowed to sleep in your bed?! (This is not encouraged unless it’s going to be the norm!) Setting the tone right on day one will help your puppy form good habits and behaviour, and will help him/her establish a good routine. If you start deviating from the agreed rules and expectations, this is when bad habits form and will be hard to change. It may be cute to have your puppy beside you on the sofa, but as s/he grows up, s/he won’t understand if you change your mind because s/he has grown bigger. Before bringing a new puppy home on the first day, agree your house rules before.
Add an element of familiarity
Your new puppy has just been removed from his/her mother and littermates. With them s/he had comfort, warmth, and familiarity. Suddenly s/he is without them and there will be new smells, sounds, and a totally new environment. It is therefore very important to try to make him/her feel as comfortable as possible in this transition phase. Bringing a blanket or bedding that has his/her mother’s and littermates’ smell will provide some comfort and familiar link between the old and new environments. When bringing a new puppy home on the first day, include familiar smells.
It might be a good idea to go straight to the garden when you get home to let him/her have a wee – this will also be a very good start to toilet training! Once in the house, go slowly. Start off in one room and let him/her explore in their own time discovering the smells, sights and sounds of his/her new home. Allow your puppy to settle in gradually and to dictate the pace. Aim for a sedate calm introduction instead of enthusiastic games, cuddles and play. Give them time to settle. When bringing a new puppy home, on the first day, go slowly.
Be aware of first interactions – children and other dogs
Before bringing your puppy home, discuss with age appropriate children that the new puppy will need calm and space. Make sure your children know to handle the new puppy with care and respect. For toddlers and babies you must always supervise any interactions. The arrival of a puppy is so exciting – but clinging onto him/her or playing rough games can make the puppy anxious or fearful.
When introducing your puppy to an existing family dog, they may not be best pals straight away! The puppy will need to learn the appropriate social skills. Your dog will need space away from the puppy. Always supervise these early interactions.
In the ideal world, you will have arranged work/responsibilities so that you can spend as much time as possible at home with your puppy in his first days / week. You need this time together to help him/her acclimatise to the new surroundings and to establish a healthy routine. The early weeks of his/her life is when s/he will learn about the world and what’s acceptable and what’s not. Don’t worry if s/he seems wary and uncertain at times. This is an incredibly big change for them! Take your time and allow him/her to take their time. Reassure them with a gentle touch, warmth and a soothing voice. And be patient.
More than anything, make sure you enjoy this time! It is easy to worry about getting it right but ultimately you want to be able to enjoy getting to know your little four legged friend. You are going to have so much fun training, playing and socialising him/her. S/he will bring or add so much joy and love to your home!
If you can take the time to think through these aspects of bringing a new puppy home, you will make the transition for him/her much easier. It shouldn’t take much to make a new puppy feel happy and secure in their new home if approached with thought and care. Realising that their whole world has changed and thinking through the implications of this for them will make sure bringing your puppy home on the first day is the joyous and wonderful event you want it be for them and you.