Getting a new puppy can be an exciting but daunting experience. You might have done your research on the new puppy. However, when the time comes, the first few hours at home can be crucial for several reasons. The puppy is suddenly brought into a new environment, so there is a considerable amount of anxiety and fear. You might be feeling all those things just as your puppy does too.
This article will cover a few tips for surviving those crucial first 24 hours after bringing your new furry friend home. We will also help you know what to expect and how to help the new puppy adjust to your house.
A new world for your puppy
You might be pumped up with excitement to bring the little guy home. You have been preparing for this day for a long time. People at home are waiting with anticipation for this new member. However, you also have to look at the situation from your puppy’s point of view.
For him, it’s just a normal day where he wakes up, the breeder gives him some food, and he plays with his littermates. Then, suddenly, you show up out of nowhere and take him away with you. Imagine someone unknown picking you up from your home, putting you in a car, and taking you away while you cannot utter a word. That is what exactly the new puppy feels on that first day. He is suddenly put into a whole new world that he has to figure out all by himself. Quite a stressful day for your furry friend. So what can you do to make the process easier for him?
Make it easier for the puppy
While there is no way to communicate or train such a small puppy for the change in his life, you can surely make the transition as easy as possible. First, make sure you carry him home in a crate so that he feels the comfort and safety of an enclosed space. He will most likely fall asleep in the car due to the rocking motion and the overstimulation.
If the puppy is inside the crate, then that is your first opportunity to make him associate the crate with sleep. You can bring a soft toy or puppy and rub it on the mama dog. Leave that inside the box so the puppy can smell the mama dog and feel better.
Introducing new items gradually for a positive association
Like the crate, there are other things like the leash and collar that you must introduce to the new puppy on the first day. You can help them build positive associations with these items so that there are no tantrums at a later stage.
Puppy fussing and complaining is normal, but watch out for puppy panicking while introducing these new items. Panic behavior usually looks like thrashing and screeching and is followed by out-of-control anxiety. If you notice these things, you need to calm the puppy down by getting him out of the crate, taking off the leash or collar, and changing the environment.
What is the first thing you need to do upon arriving home with the new puppy? We recommend taking him to the potty spot right away before even heading into the house. He may or may not go potty which is both okay. However, if he does, you can reward him straight away so that he can associate the positive reinforcement with his behavior. This is a crucial first step to potty training him from the very beginning.
Once done, take him inside and introduce him to his crate and pen instead of leaving him in a big, open space. He is scared and enclosed spaces will calm him down. Let him explore the pen. The toy or blanket must be kept inside for the puppy to feel comfortable and safe.
Inviters, not invaders
You should be inviters and not invaders to a puppy’s space. Instead of passing him around and showering him with cuddles, let him come to you, smell you, and sit on you. Let him lead the way. This helps build his confidence and makes for a much healthier puppy. Respecting your puppy’s personal space also means letting him self-soothe. Leave him in his crate to rest and play some soothing music. He might whine and complain a little, but that's okay.
Once the new puppy has well-rested, offer him a meal and always keep water in a bowl for him to drink. You can either introduce him to his food spot or keep the food in his crate. As long as he is not panicking, this will help with crate training. Do not worry if you notice the puppy not eating properly the first few days and not even accepting treats. This is normal. He will warm up to the new environment soon and then eat normally.
It’s never too soon to start training. Associate treats with certain tasks you want him to learn or carry out. However, plan these things properly and have a clear structure or routine in mind.
Rest of the day
As your day progress, let your puppy explore its pen and get comfortable inside. Resist the temptation to parade him around for your friends and family. Remember that the little guy is already scared and overstimulated. You will only add to his anxiety by parading him around. Instead, introduce the puppy to other people in the home, and keep the noises and smells to a minimum.
Remember to introduce him to the sleeping spot or crate during the first 24 hours. If you snuggle him and let him fall asleep on your lap, he might not be able to sleep without you ever.
Training, time, and brain development will play a significant role in how he grows and develops. Your aim from the very first day has to be to introduce a routine and get the puppy to abide by that. We hope this article helps you survive the first day when your new furry friend comes home.