Bring a puppy home is one of the most exciting but nerve-wracking experiences you’ll have as a dog owner.
At least once you’ll find yourself wondering what the hell you’ve gotten yourself into and whether or not you’ve made a huge mistake.
Don’t worry though, this is completely normal, and we promise it’ll pass. We’re here to help you survive the first 24 hours with your new puppy with our new puppy survival guide. It covers everything from before they come home to making their first night with you as easy as possible.
Before you bring your puppy home
Before you bring your new fur baby home, we recommend getting as organised as possible so you can enjoy every second of it and not stress that you’ve forgotten something important.
Book a few days off work
This will allow you plenty of time to bond with your new puppy and help them settle in. Plus, you’ll no doubt be exhausted after the first few sleepless nights!
Get everything ready
Make sure you have everything you’ll need for your new puppy before they arrive. To make it easy, we’ve put together the Ultimate Puppy Checklist with everything you’ll need for your new fur baby.
Set the ground rules
Have a discussion with all your family members about what the rules will be for your newest family member. Will the be allowed on the sofa? Which rooms are they allowed to go in? Puppies need consistency so it’s important to make sure everyone is on the same page and sticks to the rules! This will make training so much easier for both you and your puppy.
Puppy proof the house
Go around your home and make sure everything that is harmful to your puppy is moved out of paws reach Anything you don’t want your puppy to chew, like your favourite shoes, will also need to be put away. You might also want to get baby gates to stop your puppy going into rooms they’re not yet allowed in.
Your puppy’s first day at home
You’ve arrived home with your new puppy, but now what? Here’s out advice for making your puppy’s first day at home as stress free as possible.
Limit their space
Start with just one room when your puppy comes home and slowly let them explore one new room at a time over the next few days. It’s best not to let them wander around unsupervised or they will get into mischief and likely have toilet accidents.
Plenty of naps
Puppies sleep for an astonishing 18-20 hours a day (jealous? Us? Never!) and you’ll often find that they fall asleep in the most random of places. Puppies can nap from between 30 minutes to 2 hours at a time and whenever your puppy is sleeping, it’s important not to disturb them.
Introduce them to their crate
If they’re going to be sleeping in a crate, we highly recommend introducing them to it throughout the day in multiple sessions. Check out this great article from the Dog’s Trust for plenty of tips
As soon as you arrive home, take your puppy to where you want them to go to the toilet. They’ll no doubt need a wee after the journey home! Once they’ve peed, give them plenty of praise and treats for going in the right place. Take them for toilet breaks every 30 mins throughout the day and after meals, after they wake up from a nap and after a play session. Remember to give them plenty of praise and fuss whenever they go in the right place. Accidents do happen though so remember not to tell your puppy off, they’re still learning after all, and make sure you have an enzymatic cleaner to remove the smells.
Don’t overwhelm them with lots of visitors
Everyone will want to meet your new puppy but ask them to wait a few days before they come over, so your puppy has plenty of time to settle into their new home without being overwhelmed.
Teach your puppy their name
Repeating your puppy’s name over and over again is they only way they’re going to learn it. To start, take your puppy to a quiet area of the house and say their name in an excited tone and then immediately give them a treat. Repeat this multiple times so they start to associate their name with good things. After a few sessions, start saying their name when they’re not looking at you or a little bit further away and give them a treat when they look at you or come over. Have multiple training sessions a day and your puppy will learn their new name in no time at all.
Plenty of play and bonding sessions
Playtime is a great way to bond with your new puppy. Just remember to keep play sessions short as your pup will tire out quickly and need a nap before they’re ready for another round.
Time for bed
We won’t lie, the first night (or even the first few nights) is going to be tough. Your puppy is used to sleeping with their mum and siblings and so sleeping alone is going to be a huge adjustment that’ll take some time.
Of course, you might be extremely lucky and discover you’ve brought home a puppy who will sleep all night but the chances of that are rare!
Here are our top tips:
Create a bedtime routine
Puppies love routine and you’ll find creating a calming bedtime routine will help them learn when it’s time to wind down and sleep.
Decide where they will be sleeping and stick to it
If you want them to sleep in the crate, don’t let them into your bed or it’ll set a dangerous precedent and you’ll find it even harder to get them to settle in their crate/bed on the second night.
Create a cosy and comfortable bed
We recommend getting some snuggly blankets and a comfy bed and adding something like a lukewarm hot water bottle or a heartbeat teddy which will remind them of mum and their litter mates. If they’re sleeping in a crate, we also recommend covering it with a blanket to minimise distractions.
Sleep in the same room as your puppy for the first few nights
Your puppy will need some time to get used to sleeping without their mum and litter mates, so for the first few nights we recommend sleeping close to them so that they’ll feel less alone and you can comfort them we they need it.
Don’t let them nap a few hours before bedtime
Just like with babies, you don’t want to let your puppy have a nap a few hours before bedtime. This will help ensure they are properly tired and hopefully they’ll settle a bit better when it is time for bed.
Limit their food and water a few hours before bedtime
Taking away your puppy’s water bowl and food a few of hours before bedtime will give them enough time to empty themselves before they settle down for the night.
With that said, be prepared for plenty of toilet breaks during the night
At this age, puppies can only hold their bladder for a couple of hours so set an alarm for every couple of hours throughout the night so you can take them to the toilet. Keep toilet breaks nice and calm with minimal fuss and once they’re finished, put them back in their bed.
Most importantly – it’s ok to comfort them!
The idea of letting them cry it out is cruel and outdated. Your puppy is most likely a bit scared being in a new environment and having to sleep alone for the first time, so it’s totally normal for them to whine and cry a bit, at least for the first few nights. It’s ok to give them comfort and support when they are frightened. Letting them sniff your hand and speaking to them in hushed, calm tones will help settle them down.
Surviving the first 24 hours with your puppy is going to be to tough but we promise you’ll get through it and once they’re fully grown, you’ll be looking back at the puppy stage with fond memories!