Puppy Advice

Bringing home a new puppy

Bringing your new puppy home is both an exciting and daunting time as you get to know each other. Your puppy may seem shy or anxious at first. With your help this will ease as they become more familiar with their new home and family.

New puppy at home laying down on blue and white striped blanket

If you work, take some time off to settle your puppy in to their new home – unfortunately, businesses aren’t required to provide paw-ternity leave, although a growing number are starting to introduce this benefit recognising that being a new puppy parent can be just as demanding as having a baby – particularly the sleepless nights!

Bringing puppy home in a car

If you’re bringing your puppy home in a car remember this may be the first time they have been in a vehicle. Puppies get sick in the car in the same way that children do, and just like children can also grow out of it. On your puppy’s first car ride home, they may wee or poo if they are feeling anxious, so come prepared with baby wipes and poo bags. Having someone sitting beside them, to keep a close eye on and comfort them if they become distressed this will help to make your puppy’s first car journey easier. Some extra tips for your new puppy's first car ride:

  • Holding your new puppy can help them feel safe and less travel sick.
  • Travel with the windows open to help reduce travel sickness. 
  • To help them feel safe you can use a blanket that smells like the breeder, an appeasing/comforting pheromone product such as an Adaptil Junior Collar or a chew to nibble on.

Don’t put your puppy in the boot of the car to travel at this early stage. You will have plenty of time to train them to travel in the boot as they get older.

For transporting a puppy in a car, it’s sensible to use a puppy carrier, particularly if you are driving long distances with your puppy, and while they are little to help them to feel more secure.

For the longer term, you can use a crate, dog guard, car harness or seat belt to keep your dog safe.

Your puppy’s first day home

Create a safe space for your puppy. Choose a warm, quiet corner of the house for them to have their own space and give them time to settle a safe chew or enrichment feeder may help. Your puppy will need to sleep for much of the day while they are little – interspersed with eating, going to the toilet and a bit of play and bonding time with the family. Helping them to feel settled during the day, will help to make the first night easier.


How to settle in a new puppy

You’ll want to show off your cute new puppy but for day one at least, maybe even a couple of days, keep introductions to your new puppy to just family, and keep things as quiet and calm as possible. Ask everyone in the family to sit quietly and let your puppy approach you in their own time. This is so they don’t become overwhelmed by being approached. Let your puppy retreat to their own space as and when they need to – if something frightens them it will help them to feel more secure if they know they have somewhere safe to go.  

To help reduce your puppies anxiety of being in their new home and settle them in you can use products like an Adaptil Junior Collar. These help your new puppy adapt to their new home by releasing appeasing pheromones to help comfort your new puppy. 

Puppies and children

Excitable children can be quite overwhelming for a new puppy – so help children to learn from the very first day about being gentle and to leave puppy sleeping soundly. There will be plenty of time for children to get to know and play with their new puppy.

Toilet training a puppy

You can begin toilet training straight away. If you have a garden, take your puppy outside to go to the toilet and give them lots of praise when they do. Puppies’ bladders are tiny so they need to go to the toilet every few hours. Prepare for lots of trips to the garden – take your puppy out whenever they wake up and after they have eaten or played. If you don’t have a garden and it’s not safe to take your puppy outside, select a spot in the house and cover it with newspaper or puppy pads and reward your puppy with food everytime they use their new puppy pad.

If an accident inevitably happens be sure to not discipline your new puppy, instead show them where to go and follow with praise and/or a food reward to solidify the right place to go faster. 

Feeding your puppy

Your puppy will need to be fed little and often to start with – stick with the same food and routine as the breeder to avoid tummy upsets. Avoid feeding immediately before you go to bed, otherwise they’ll need to go to the toilet, instead feed a few hours beforehand. Make sure they have access to fresh, clean water at all times.

You may like this blog post written by first-time dog owner, Tracy: My first year as a puppy parent

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