Planning your New Puppy's Homecoming

Golden Retriever pupsGolden Retriever pups

Bringing a new puppy home is much like planning a child's first day at school. That single experience can make or mar the future success of a dog's life with you.

Think of yourself as that puppy being taken away from its mother and litter mates. All you have known in life is your mother's warm, caressing tongue whenever you cry. There are always litter mates to play with when awake, and to snuggle up against when asleep. Then an unknown human takes you away from the comfort you have known all your life, and puts you in some strange place. Of course you are not going to know what you can or cannot do. Furthermore, because you are in unfamiliar surroundings, you are going to call out to and cry for your mother.

The Rules of Your House

Australian TerrierAustralian Terrier

It is imperative that you plan the rules of the house before the puppy comes home. If there are several family members, sit down and discuss the rules together.

  • Will the puppy be allowed inside the house?
  • If so, will it be allowed in all rooms?
  • If not, to which rooms do you wish to confine the puppy?
  • Will the puppy be allowed on any chair, bed or the lounge? If only one, which one?

Puppies need strict rules to adhere to from the very first instance.

So, introducing a new puppy into your household is a planning process for the entire family. It is ideal if someone who is interested in training the puppy to know these rules is home for the first few weeks after the new puppy arrives, to concentrate on the puppy's early training.

Remember, you are always the 'boss' and as soon as you feed the puppy, it will instinctively regard you as such. While you assert this position quietly but firmly, a mutual respect will develop almost immediately.

Puppy Proof your Home

Mastiff (English) 6 weeksMastiff (English) 6 weeks

Imagine the devastation if the puppy was home just a short while and a horrible accident occurred. So, it is vitally important to check your whole home in order to ensure your puppy's safety.

While the young puppy is in the fast growing stage (under 5 months) injury can occur to growing legs and wobbly joints should the very young puppy be exposed to the possibility of skating around on a slippery floor of polished wood, tiles or newspaper. This is especially relevant to large breeds. For small breeds, climbing up and down steep steps can also cause injury to a small puppy, particularly if they are slippery.

Inside the house make certain that electrical leads are not accessible for the puppy to chew on and that all objects, especially breakable items that usually sit on the floor are stable. Outside, ensure the yard where the puppy will be running is perfectly secure by blocking up any holes where the puppy might get stuck or worse, escape. If you have a swimming pool, make sure that not only is the fence secure, but also the puppy cannot fit beneath or between any of the railings. Many a small puppy has drowned not only by falling into the family's swimming pool, but also getting stuck underneath its cover.

Preparing for Puppy's Homecoming

Pomeranian and ToyPomeranian and Toy

Have its bed prepared and decide where it is going to sleep. Puppies rarely soil in their beds, so sleeping on a blanket with toys or something that resembles its litter-mates is a good idea. For a puppy under three months, a warm confined spot inside the house is recommended.

Where to sleep your puppy

Many people let their puppy sleep in the laundry or kitchen in the first instance. There, it does not matter if the puppy cannot hold its urine overnight and any mess can easily be cleaned up. A few toys for the puppy are always a good idea. Have two bowls ready, one for water and one for food, so the puppy knows what they are and to whom they belong.

How to train your dog to sleep where you choose

Griffon Bruxellois puppyGriffon Bruxellois puppy

After the excitement of the puppy investigating its new surroundings, when the puppy falls asleep, it will usually just drop asleep wherever it happens to be! Pick the puppy up and place it where you plan to let it sleep that night. Then, when the puppy awakens up from that first nap in its new home, there you are with a pat and some kind words of encouragement. This simple procedure during the remainder of that first day when your new pet comes home usually ensures a peaceful first night for both you and the puppy.

However, always remember young puppies like human babies need sleep. If they are excited young children around, or even other dogs or cats, a confined space is a good idea. Then the puppy knows this is its 'own' space specifically where it is left alone to sleep.

Settling puppy in the home

Tenterfield Terrier puppiesTenterfield Terrier puppies

Some people find that taking a toy or a blanket to the breeder's house and leaving it with the mother and litter-mates for a day or so can assist in alleviating stress. Buying a puppy privately from a breeder leaves this option open to you. Breeders are usually dedicated people who are happy for you to visit the puppy from an early age and watch it grow. This can not only be an experience young children won't forget, it can also be a great bonding time for both the puppy and the entire family.

You must be the 'boss'

Dog on lounge, man on floor!Dog on lounge, man on floor!

Hard and fast rules must always be made as to where you want the dog to sleep. Some dogs will literally take over the furniture and regard it as theirs. These dogs can become so protective of their furniture that they become aggressive if a member of the household sleeps on 'their' bed. The photograph of the dog asleep on the lounge whilst its owner sleeps on the floor is an example of how bad this situation can become! Remember you must always be the boss and the dog must know its place within your home.

Take your puppy home early in the day

Cairn Terrier puppyCairn Terrier puppy

Arrange the homecoming as early as practicable in the morning, on a day you can devote to your new puppy. Then it not only has a whole day to get used to its new home, it becomes accustomed to understanding that but you are the substitute 'mother who mother to attend to its needs.

The puppy needs time to investigate its new surroundings, and be given encouragement and praise so it has the confidence to approach unfamiliar objects. Some puppies have never seen a plant growing in a pot before, let alone a TV set.