Here's what to expect when you're expecting...a new puppy!
The first day your puppy comes home is an exciting one. You’ve been planning this moment for months: all the puppy kisses, puppy pictures, puppy milestones. What’s not to get excited about? And your puppy is going to be excited too. In fact, he’s going to be excited, nervous, overwhelmed, anxious and curious, and he’s going to experience all those emotions at once.
Before your puppy arrives home, we wanted to make sure you know what to expect for your puppy’s first day home. Here is a list of things to expect and to keep in mind.
With so much to sniff and so many people to meet, your puppy isn’t concerned about being a thoughtful house guest. That means the odd accident may occur, as well as running all over the house, chasing the cat and chewing on some tasty-looking shoes. For the first day home (and for many more after), keep a close eye on your pup. Clean up accidents as they unfold and don’t scold. Instead, take him out every 20 to 30 minutes to avoid messes. In the following days and weeks, make sure to correct housebreaking accidents when they happen. You don’t want this habit to continue into his adult years.
Meet the family
This is one time that your family shouldn’t be waiting at the door for his arrival. Everyone should be sitting down calmly so the puppy can go and introduce himself on his own terms. If he goes to them on his own, make sure that he is praised (again, calmly). Children can be just as excitable as a puppy, and this excitement can scare your new family member. The best way to make friends is to be happy and calm.
Set up his own area
On your puppy’s first day home, you should have an area set up just for him. This includes toys, a blanket and a bed. He doesn’t need a full tour of the house that day; wait to show him all the rooms in your home until he’s been there a few weeks. Close the doors and put up a baby gate to keep him from getting into forbidden areas.
Puppies may be a bundle of energy, but that first day home will be a tiring one for him (and you). He’ll need a break from the excitement or he’ll get overwhelmed. Take him somewhere quiet for a little nap and belly rub, where you can watch him as he rests. Although it’s tempting, don’t invite friends for introduction on your puppy’s first day home. Wait a few days, until he’s comfortable in his new surroundings.
Be on schedule
Puppies do best when they’re on a schedule. Set up a schedule on your computer and record times for potty breaks, feeding, play and training time and bedtime. When it comes to bathroom routines, this helps to prevent accidents and makes housetraining so much easier. Be sure to reward the behavior you want, which ensures you’re setting up your puppy for success.
Prepare for a sleepless first night
After an exciting and full first day, your puppy will be worn out, but he’ll also be a bit scared and confused, wanting the warmth of his mom and litter mates. That means a long night of whining and crying. Don’t yell or get mad at him. Instead, keep his bed close to yours. You can wrap a wind-up alarm clock in a soft blanket and leave it with him, or get him a Snuggle Puppy to cuddle up with. This issue may take a few nights (or weeks) to sort itself out, so be patient and try to get in a few naps when possible.
Amy Tokic is the Editor of Petguide.com, the flagship site to over 70 different pet communities, which offers pet parents a one-stop-info-shop for all things dog and cat related. Amy's been with PetGuide since the beginning, guided by the wisdom of her Shih Tzu mix and furry roommate, Oscar. Together, this pet power couple has their paw on the pulse of the pet industry, sniffing out trends, advice, news, tasty treat recipes and other tail-wagging stories.