The arrival of a new puppy is incredibly exciting. But it is important to be prepared for his/her arrival. Make sure you have your puppy essentials. And that you’ve thought through the first fews days. The first night might be difficult – both for you and for your new puppy. S/he may struggle to settle at first so here we look at how to prepare for your puppy’s first night at home.
Puppies don’t yet understand the concept of bed time! They will instinctively know they need to rest when they feel tired. This may be during the day. It is best to just let them sleep. It doesn’t really work to keep them away during the day thinking this will help them sleep better at night. Avoid disturbing them if they sleep during the day.
If you plan for your mature dog to sleep in your bed, then it is fine to let him/her sleep there as a puppy. If you allow your puppy to sleep there “just once” s/he will think this is allowed behaviour. They will expect this going forward. It will make any efforts to encourage them to sleep in their cate/bed much harder. Don’t let your puppy sleep in your bed (unless this is going to be the norm.)
To crate or nor to crate?
Ideally your puppy should initially sleep in a crate. This limits their access to the room or other parts of the house. Dogs won’t soil their sleeping area, so this encourages them to wait until they are outside before going to the toilet. Organise a crate for your puppy.
Make the crate a comfy but safe area for your puppy’s first night at home. A suggle toy that has his mother’s/littermates’ smell might make him/her feel more settled. In addition a hot water bottle may provide some warmth similar to that of his/her mother and litter.
Location, location, location
One school of thought is to have the crate next to your bed for your puppy’s first night at home. Then, over the next two weeks you can start to distance the crate from your bedroom eventually placing the crate where your puppy’s intended sleeping place will be. This allows him/her to have the close proximity to you in those first nights whilst settling into their new life.
Otherwise start with crate in the intended sleeping place. Once the crate is ready and your puppy is inside, you need to close it and leave them on their own. It will be hard to ignore them if they cry but this will be the best course of action. This should only last a few nights. Ideally, only enter to check on them when they have stopped whimpering. If you give attention when they cry this will encourage them to do it more.
Getting the first night and 24 hours right is vital for setting the boundaries and making sure you create a solid foundation build upon. There may be some demanding times after the initial few days but rest assured with a bit of research and dedication, there will be more times of joy and fun with your new family member.