Preparing for a New Puppy!

by Samantha Rawson

Bringing your puppy home.

This is a big transition in your pup’s life and can cause a lot of stress for the pup. Bear in mind that your new pup has lost all that is familiar to it, including its mother and its siblings.  Our job is to provide every comfort possible so that we can reduce the stress to the pup and in turn reduce the stress on ourselves.  

If possible, bring someone with you when you collect your pup, and a large box and a bath towel into which you can place your pup in the car, or your passenger may like to hold the pup on the towel on their lap.  The towel is to keep the pup warm while traveling and to contain any accidents.  If travelling alone, you can place the pup in the box down in the stairwell in front of the front seat.  It is important that the pup is not faced with any sudden jolts while traveling in the car, so it is far safer to travel on the floor rather than a seat.  

Ask the breeder for some familiar bedding to comfort the pup while it adjusts to its new home. Get a supply of food from the breeder to last at least a couple of weeks. 

When you reach home, before you bring the pup into the house bring it to the area of the garden or patio close to the house where you intend it to toilet.  Wait and see if the pup will relieve itself.  This is the very first step to housetraining your puppy.  Feed your pup a small amount of moist food and place the pup with the bedding from the breeder or rescue and the towel into your allocated area. You can use a puppy crate   or small make shift den with another enclosure around the bed/crate so that the pup can get out of bed and relieve itself on the papers or puppy pads away from its bed. The whole floor area outside the pups bed need to be covered in layers of newspaper or puppy pads. So that the pup can quickly and easily locate the bathroom area.

Crate Training.

A very young pup should not be closed into a crate at night-time or anytime it is alone.  This must be trained during the day with the reassurance of people in the room before gradually working up very very slowly from minuets to an hour up to a couple of hours, then gradually from two to four hours during the day before a pup can ever be expected to be safe and content in a crate overnight.  If your pup suddenly gets distressed, you have exceeded the pups comfort level, go back a few steps and start again.  Ideally the length of time the pup is alone at night should be as short as possible.  Approximately four to five hours.  It may be easier on both you and your puppy if it can sleep in a crate in your bedroom, so that you can be alerted to the pups need to toilet.

Routine Regulation and Restrictions.

A new pup should have a regular routine with set feeding toileting sleeping and social contact times.  This will help you to get into a routine so that you will be able to predict when the pups need to relieve itself.  When the pup is sleeping after it has been fed and toileted, you are free to attend to your other priorities.  When the puppy is awake and active, spend time holding it on your lap, on the floor so that it gets used to being handled and eventually groomed. Stroke from collar to tail, stay away from its head.  Some dogs tolerate being touched on the head, but it does not come naturally to them.   Never swoop down and pick up a puppy.  It is preferable if you get down on the floor and allow the pup to crawl onto your lap. This is especially important for small timid pups and dogs.

 When you are finished put the pup back into its enclosed area with some puppy appropriate toys so that it can amuse itself.  Always put it into its area when you leave the room.   Do not allow a pup to follow you from room to room as this may develop into clingy needy behaviour.  As much as a pup needs reassurance from your presence, it also needs to know that when you disappear you will reappear. Gradually the pup can tolerate your absence without seeking reassurance. Keeping the pup in a restricted area keeps the toileting accidents to one area, and so aids the housetraining process but it is also invaluable in teaching the puppy to tolerate short absences.  It is also serves to keep the pup safely secure away from the danger of household appliances and electric cables, detergents, fallen food etcetera.

While you are waiting for the pup to complete its full set of inoculations, bring it into the garden as much as possible or bring the pup out in the car with you so it can get familiar with all the sights sounds and smells of the world from the safety of the car.  If your pup is familiarised and happy to stay and sleep in his/her puppy crate, this is the safest way for a pup to travel in the car. 

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