One of the most joyful moments in the life of a dog owner is bringing home a new puppy. You’re filled with excitement, and you’re looking forward to a life of fun and companionship with your puppy. Whether you’re a first time dog owner or a long-time dog owner, you’re in for a series of surprises since no two puppies are ever the same.
To walk you through this getting to-know-you phase, here are a few things to remember:
1. Your puppy needs time to adjust. You’re probably imagining a magical moment wherein your new puppy gleefully bounds toward your family and delights everyone with cute antics. If you’re lucky, this might be the case, but most likely, your homecoming will be more subdued. More than half of puppies will be very quiet and might even be wary when they first meet their new owners — a far cry from when you first saw them playing with their littermates and mother (which you hopefully got to see). In fact, you can expect them to be quiet and uncertain for most of the first day they are with you. But don’t be frustrated. Give the dog space while providing gentle assurances. Usually, once you’ve fed the puppy and he has sniffed around the house, he would begin to relax. Most likely, you’ll have a smiling puppy with a wagging tail when you wake up the next day. If your puppy takes a little more time to adjust, just be patient. Within the first 36-48 hours, you will see the puppy feeling more and more at ease — playing, begging for food, and just acting generally happy.
2. Give your puppy a comfortable spot to stay in. Most new dog owners obsess about the dog’s new bed but don’t think about space options that the dog would find comfortable. Find your puppy a place where he can rest, relax, and sleep. Most dogs would want to be close to their humans, so most likely, this will be your room or somewhere close to you. They’d like a place that’s quiet, so find a nook where there isn’t too much foot traffic.
3. Introduce him to the other people and pets in the house. Introductions are important so make sure they are uneventful and you get them right. Let your pet meet the members of your household, especially those who will be in charge of feeding your dog. Introduce him to other pets with caution. Introducing pets needs particular attention. You may want to read up on this before you take home the puppy.
4. Do not change his diet abruptly. If you will be giving a different diet from what your puppy previously had, you have to go through a transition process. Hopefully, your breeder gave you some of the food the puppy used to be fed with, so that you can begin the transition. Follow directions closely.
5. Have a set feeding schedule. Structure is essential in a dog’s life, and since feeding times are among the high points of your dog’s day, make sure that meals are given at the same time every day, This will help you a great deal with toilet training, and will help the dog adjust to home life with you.
6. Give access to water. Make sure clean drinking water is readily available. Make sure the water is always clean.
7. Toilet training takes time. Even if your breeder says the puppy has been toilet trained, that only goes for the breeder’s house. You will have to teach your puppy toilet training again. Essentially, this means letting the dog go out around five minutes after a meal, and waiting for him to go. Refer to this article on toilet training and the useful visual.
8. Supervise play. Play is the most critical part of your puppy’s life, so have lots of it with him. But do supervise him so he doesn’t get into trouble. Since he is new to your house, he wouldn’t know your rules. Hopefully you’ve puppy-proofed your house so that dangerous and prohibited stuff are out of your puppy’s reach. Give him appropriate toys that he can enjoy. You definitely can’t go wrong with a ball.
9. Teach your puppy. First, you need to teach your puppy his name. Dogs pick this up really fast. Next, he needs to know house rules. In the succeeding weeks, your puppy also needs to learn a few basic commands like sit and stay. There are lots of videos online on how to teach these basic commands, and they are really very simple and easy. Be patient, but dogs are quick learners, and you’ll be amazed at how easily they can understand these commands.
10. Visit a vet. Ideally your breeder has provided all the needed vaccinations for your puppy’s age, but since vaccines are given in a series, there is a chance that your puppy has not completed the series, especially if you got a younger puppy. But even if you got an older puppy with complete shots, you should still find a vet who can give your puppy a wellness check, to ensure that everything is right with your puppy. This is also to make sure that you know where to go in the event that your dog gets sick.