The first day your dog is with you is both exciting and a little odd. After all the anticipation and preparations your dog is finally home. Some jump right into the swing of things; others take a more reserved approach. Don’t compare your puppy to others you’ve known and don’t worry if he seems too rambunctious, too cautious or too anything! You’re home will be new to him and he’s trying to figure our what’s going on. Here are some quick tips to get you started:
* Confine a room with gates or a fold out playpen: too much freedom is overwhelming to a new puppy. Decorate this area for your new addition and puppy proof it by removing mouthables and other distractions like wires and dishtowels. Use gates, a crate or a fold out playpen to keep your puppy contained for the first few days. Place a dog bed or mat in one section of the area, and his food and water bowls in another. Have one area papered or a route organized to take your puppy out if he needs to potty. Hang a bell if he must get through a door to eliminate.
* Let your puppy do what he needs to do. If he wants to sleep, let him. If he wants to sniff about you can watch him and clear away distractions that would tempt him. Provide food at mealtimes but don’t be discouraged if he won’t eat at first: there are a lot of changes. Supervise him, but don’t overwhelm him with commands or over-excitable praise. If you think he needs to potty, direct him calmly and praise him when he’s finished.
* You puppy has been used to sleeping with his littermates. The first few nights will be an adjustment. If possible bring your puppy to your bedside in a crate or box. He may whine but he’ll feel safer than if he’s all alone. He may need to get up in the night: take him to his bathroom spot and then back to his enclosure. Don’t play games or give him attention at 3AM unless you like the habit. If the bathroom is out of the question crate him or enclose him in a small area, like a bathroom. Consider placing a snuggle puppy by his side: a similar affect can also be had with a clock and a stuffed toy.
Ahh…the joys of puppyhood.
For more helpful hints on pre-puppy considerations can be found in Sarah’s book: Puppies for Dummies.