Bringing home a new puppy home for the first time is an exciting event. Many new dog owners get caught up in their own excitement, though, and forget that the transition for your new puppy can be very overwhelming. Your puppy will be experiencing new people, smells, and sounds, along with being separated from his/her littermates and mother. To make sure the transition of bringing home a new puppy goes smoothly for both your family and your new pup, it’s important to prepare.
Preparing Your Home
Just as you would for a new baby in your family, it’s important to prepare your home before bringing home a new puppy. There are several things you will need to do in order to make you home and yard safe. Below are a few:
- Put any items that your puppy could swallow or choke on, or that may be dangerous, up high so that your puppy cannot reach it.
- If you have vertical blinds with long cords, be sure to tie the cords up high and short so that your puppy does not get caught in them. In severe accidents this could lead to strangulation.
- Move all electrical cords off the floor or out of reach to your puppy.
- Check that the fence in your yard has no dug out areas where your pup could escape. Sometimes the space between your gate and the ground may even be large enough for your doodle to fit through. If so, consider adding temporary fencing in the space until your doodle grows too large to fit through.
You’re going to have to pick up supplies before bringing home a new puppy. Below is a list of both necessary and optional items that you may want to have on hand. Click the the item for a list of our owner and professional recommended brands and types:
- Puppy/dog food (We suggest dog food that has minimal grain, and more meat and vegetables. This has numerous health benefits for your dog, and many brands are affordable. Click here for suggestions).
- Collar and leash (we suggest a training collar as well to immediately get your pup walking with you the correct way).
- I.D. tag (this should include your dog’s name and your phone number. We also suggest including “Help, I need meds”. Whether your doodle actually needs medication or not, this will hurry others to help you find your dog if needed and even scare off possible puppy-nappers (because who wants to steal a sick dog?).
- Dog brush (a brush with metal bristles is best for dogs with thick fur – like goldendoodles and labradoodles – because it keeps matts from forming. Click here for suggested brushes)
- Dog crate (to save money, start out with a crate that will still be large enough when your doodle is full grown)
- Flea and Tick treatment (we suggest recommendations from your vet or these brands)
- A couple cans of plain, unseasoned pumpkin or sweet potato puree. Puppies tend to have sensitive stomachs. If your doodle has diarrhea because of excitement, new environments, or a change in diet you will be happy to have this on hand. Pumpkin or sweet potato does wonders in calming down your pup’s stomach.
Preparing Your Family
It’s not enough to puppy proof your house and buy all of the right supplies. Before bringing home a new puppy, its important to prepare all of your family members for the big transition. You should make sure everyone knows the rules that your puppy will be expected to follow and how to properly enforce them. This will help you create a structured and consistent environment for your puppy, which make a big difference in their transition into your family. (read more on how to train your new puppy here)
It’s especially important to set rules for the children in your family before bringing home a new puppy. Some examples of important rules are below:
- Small children should never pick up a new puppy and carry her around. Allowing your children to hold the puppy while sitting okay, but puppies like to squirm and its possible your child might accidentally injure the pup while trying to carry her.
- It’s also important that your children know to leave your new puppy alone when she is eating. Puppies need to feel that they can eat in peace without having to defend their food. Children bothering your pup during a meal could lead to nips or other defensive behavior.
- Playing chase is not a good training practice for your new puppy. If your puppy thinks it’s okay to run away from you, you may have trouble getting him to come to you when you call him. You also don’t want him to get in the habit of chasing every child that runs in your backyard.
- Teasing, rough housing, or climbing on your new puppy in anyway should not be allowed in your family. Your puppy is figuring out how to play and who to feel safe with in his first couple weeks home, so your family needs to be good role models.
*Want to make sure your family is as prepared as possible? Check out our complete guide to Labradoodles and Goldendoodles here!
The Big Day: Picking up your New Puppy
Now that your home and family is ready for the new addition, it’s time to bring home your new puppy. Try to schedule this day on Friday or before a holiday, which will allow you to spend the first couple days at home with your puppy to help them adapt and start training.
There are a few things you should get from your breeder or rescue center when bringing home a new puppy. Below are a list of items you should expect, as well as additional items that you should consider requesting:
- Any promised documentation
- An adoption contract
- Veterinary records
- A few days’ worth of the food your puppy has been eating so that you can slowly add in your pup’s new food (if you choose to change from what the breeder is feeding her). A sudden change in diet can upset your puppy’s stomach.
- It’s also nice to have a small blanket, towel, or toy that the litter has been playing with or sleeping on. This way, your pup can have the smells of their litter to comfort them in their transition. Trust us, this will help during your puppy’s first night away from their litter.
Once your new puppy is home, introduce her to her new family and let her explore her new surroundings. Puppies love to play, so be prepared with toys and remember to get down on the ground when playing with your new puppy. A big, towering human can be very intimidating to a young puppy.
Your Puppy’s First Night: What to Expect
After all the fun comes the most difficult part of bringing home a new puppy: night time. Your puppy’s first night away from the litter promises to be a long night for both of you. Luckily, there are many ways to make this night easier for you and your puppy.
Prior to bed, have a play session with your pup so she will be tired enough to sleep. Try not to let her nap for the couple hours before bed. It is also important to remember that your new puppy has a puppy sized bladder. An hour or two before bed, take your puppy’s food and water away so that she will not have to go to the bathroom multiple times during the night. With that said, you will probably still have to take your puppy out at least once throughout the night.
Consider having your pup sleep in the same room as you to ease his nerves and loneliness. We don’t suggest you allowing her to roam your room freely, however. Not only can this result in big messes while you’re sleeping, but your puppy will actually feel comforted by being in a confined space. You might even notice in their first few weeks at home that your puppy will find little small secluded places to take nap (like under a coffee table, in between couches, etc.). This is just part of their instinctual desire for a den, and one reason why puppies usually adapt to crate training so well. If you don’t have a crate, you can substitute a large box or bin lined with towels.
It is likely that when you first put your puppy into her crate or box she will begin to whimper and whine. It’s important that you do not coddle your puppy or give her a lot of comforting noises or pats during this time. It might seem heartless and cruel, but it’s for your and your puppy’s own good. You pup should realize after several minutes that her whining is not being rewarded, and hopefully will stop. If the whining resumes later in the night, your puppy may need to use the restroom. This is likely to happen at least once throughout the night, or every few hours.
Although you shouldn’t coddle your puppy’s whines, you can do other things to help comfort her during the night. We recommend placing a two-gallon jug of warm water in her crate. This is a great way to provide a warm object for your new puppy to cuddle with, which is helpful because she is use to sleeping with the her warm brothers and sisters. If your breeder gave you a towel or blanket that smells like the litter, you can put it in there as well, or even wrap it around the jug of warm water. If not, we suggest wrapping one of your own towels around the jug so that your pup doesn’t chew it.
We highly recommend becoming as educated as possible before bringing home the newest addition to your family. Our complete guide will teach you EVERYTHING you need to know to raise a well trained, happy, and healthy Doodle! Even greater news – it’s currently on a temporary price cut here (with a money back guarantee)!