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Bringing Your New Puppy Home

Is there anything more exciting than bringing your new puppy home for the very first time? 

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Bringing your puppy home for the first time is a really exciting time for the whole family, but can be a very scary experience for your puppy. Don’t forget, their whole world has just changed! Making the day as relaxed as possible for them will help them settle in faster, and help prevent any fear or anxiety from developing. 

1. The journey home

Make sure you have a safe crate to bring your puppy home in. You can spray this with pheromones to help it feel like a secure environment, and make sure it is lined with something absorbent in case of any little accidents. 

While travelling, keep things calm in the car. It can be tempting to get your puppy out, but letting them settle in their safe carrier is best and safest for the journey. You may want to cover the carrier with a light blanket to keep it dark as this can help calm your puppy, and if you have any blankets or toys that smell familiar, placing these in the crate can be soothing.

Remember – before puppy’s vaccinations are completed, places like service stations and verges are not safe, so don’t get them out of the car to toilet. Have someone in the car who isn’t driving, who can reassure your new puppy and help keep them calm. 

2. Familiarity

Ask whoever you are getting your puppy from what they have been eating, and what their favourite toys and blankets are. If you can get a sample to bring home, all the better! Anything that feels familiar will help your puppy settle in at home, and if it smells familiar too that will be even more reassuring. 

If you get the opportunity to do this ahead of time, this is recommended. This will give you time to stock up on what your dog is used to. You can also take toys and/or blankets for your puppy and leave them with the breeder or rescue for a few days before you pick up your puppy, to bring back with you on moving day. 

3. Paperwork

Get your puppy paperwork signed by your breeder or rescue centre. 

More information on puppy paperwork

4. Toilet

When you get your new puppy home, start by popping them into the garden for a toilet opportunity – if they go, give them lots of praise and a treat! It’s never too soon to start toilet training

5. Let them settle

Once you are inside, place your puppy in their crate in their pre-prepared area with the door open – they will come out to explore in their own time! While you may need to move your pup around a lot at first, it is a good general rule to avoid picking up puppies unless you need to – for example to whisk them outside for a wee!

6. Children

If you have children, restrict access to your new puppy at first. Just like human babies, puppies need lots of rest. Play time is great, but try and keep it to just a handful of short sessions through the day, and keep an eye on both puppy and children to make sure play is safe. Unaddressed puppy biting can develop into a serious problem. 

Puppy’s First Explorations

Puppies are used to companionship and staying with them while they explore their room is usually best. 

Let them do this in their own time, and gently tap their food and water to show them where they are. Speaking softly can help them feel comforted, as they may be timid at first. 

Sit on the floor and let your new puppy come to you. Don’t force any interaction, and make sure everyone in the family is aware of this rule. If your puppy hides and won’t come out, then wait quietly, or make reassuring noises - the peace and quiet may give them courage. Make sure to reward them when they do emerge!

Once your puppy is bouncing around their room, and you are happy they are eating, drinking and interacting happily, you can start leaving the door to their room open to other areas they will be allowed in. They will explore in their own time, and you can enjoy watching their confidence blossom!

The main thing to remember is not to tell off your puppy. Your puppy has no idea what is expected of them, and being reprimanded can lead to confusion and may even lead to poorer behaviours developing. Positive messages when they are doing behaviour you approve of is the best way to have a strong and happy bond with your dog. 

Should I Contact My Local Vet?

Taking your new puppy for a check-up at the vets is always recommended, even if they have had their vaccinations. 

You get to meet your vet, and they get to meet both you and your puppy and give them a thorough medical examination. You can also ask any questions – while Vets4Pets vets are trained to treat sick animals, they also have heaps of knowledge about keeping animals healthy. 

Your vet can give you great advice on:

  1. Diet
  2. Behaviour
  3. Flea and worm prevention
  4. Vaccination schedules
  5. Neutering

They are also there if you have any concerns – if you think your puppy isn’t eating or drinking much, or at all, or if they develop diarrhoea, for example. 

Find your local practice

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