What can be more exciting and rewarding than bringing a new puppy into the family? You’ll need to consider what essentials to get, and you should decide as a family what the house rules will be. Here we look at your new puppy’s first week at home and how you need to prepare.
Puppy proof the house
Before your puppy sets foot through the door, it is important to make sure you have put have made the rooms in which he will be allowed as puppy friendly as possible. This means removing any lose items you don’t want chewed and also any items that would be dangerous for him to chew.
- Clothes, shoes, toys off floor
- Floor plants lifted or moved
- Protect chair and table legs from chewing
- Cables and electric leads removed/hidden
- Check the garden is secure
- Block gaps giving access behind washing machines etc
- Utilise baby gates to limit room access.
Keep the first week low key
Arriving in your home for the first time is a big deal for your puppy. He’s now away from his mother and littermates. This transition could be difficult and unsettling for him. You and your family will be very excited to welcome him and to introduce him to friends and family. But there is plenty of time for that. In the first week, keep things low key and go slowly. Avoid filling the week with lots of visits and visitors. Allow your puppy time to settle with you and your immediate family.
Get through the first few nights
Hopefully you’ll have read our blog about your puppy’s first night. Quite possibly, the first couple of nights are going to be tricky. There is a good chance your puppy will cry. This is not surprising when you consider he has been taken away from the comfort and familiarity of his mum and siblings. But he will get used to his new home and his new life. So in the early hours when he is crying, trust that this short period of time will pass and he will learn to settle and sleep at night. Make sure to take him out for toiling during the night. Stick to your agreed house rules during your new puppy’s first week at home.
The more time you invest in this in the early days, the easier it will be in the long run. Ideally when you first brought your puppy home, you let him straight in the garden after the journey and he went and you praised him. In the early days of him being at home, make sure he has regular (hourly initially) trips outside to go. Additionally make sure you take him out after meals and when he goes, reward him. This is also the time to introduce a “command” that will later encourage him to go on cue, if he can. You might use “Toilet Fido”, “Go pee” or something similar. Whenever he starts to go, use your phrase to embed this behaviour with this command.
Arrange a Vet appointment
Book an appointment with your chosen vet for your new puppy’s first week at home (or second week). Most puppies visit the vet at 6-8 weeks, around the same time you will have collected your puppy.
Play and Enjoy!
Play with your puppy! He will love it and so will you and your family! Play games that encourage good behaviours. Play fetch with two toys. Roll or throw the first one for him to fetch. Wave the second one at him to encourage to return with the first. Gently take the first toy and throw the second toy, repeating the game. Provide your puppy with chew toys. Puppies love to chew so make sure he is chewing things you want him to chew. Cradle him from time to time encouraging him to enjoy a massage or having his feet, mouth and ears touched. This will stand him in good preparation for grooming and vet visits. If this type of touching is familiar to him, it will make his grooming and vet visits less stressful.
After the first week, he should be sleeping better and feeling much more at ease in his new surroundings with his new family. He will be enjoying your company and will be into more of a routine now. It’s still early days, but you will be getting there!