How To Survive The First Day With Your Puppy

Getting a new puppy is an exciting time, but can be daunting too. We’re here to give you a few tips and tricks to help you through the rough times, and let you have more of the happiness and unconditional love that a puppy can bring.

Bringing the puppy home

Travelling in a car is often a new experience for a puppy, and can be scary for them or make them feel ill.

Keep their stomachs from being too full. Ask the breeder to feed them half of their usual amount before you pick them up, and then feed them little and often once you get home. This way, if they start to feel ill from the travel, they’re less likely to be sick.

Make them as comfy as possible. It’s a good idea to travel them in a small crate, as they’ll be more likely to settle down instead of trying to stand and inevitably falling over! Pad it out with bedding and towels to make it cosy. You may want to put in some newspaper or a puppy pad in case they need to go to the toilet whilst in transit, but put a towel over the top to stop them ripping it up. Rolling up towels and blankets to line the edges is also a great way to make it more comfy, as well as putting some toys in there.

Be patient with them if they cry. It can be distressing for them as they’ve just left their siblings and mother, most likely for the very first time, and they may whine or bark because of this. Speak to them in soothing voices and put the radio on to help soothe them.

Once you get home

When you make it back, it’s understandable that you’ll want to engage with the new puppy with cuddles or play, but they’ll most likely need to go to the toilet first! Pop them on the ground in your garden or a clean area where unknown dogs, foxes and badgers don’t go, and let them have a sniff around and a pee or poo if they need to.

Once you’re safely inside, let your puppy explore. This is going to be their home and it’s important they start to feel comfortable and safe there. This is also a great time to see how successful your puppy-proofing was!

Keep everything nice and positive at this crucial time: if the little one starts to do anything you’d rather they didn’t, distract them away, redirect them onto a toy or chew, and set up your environment so they can’t get into trouble! Check out our other puppy related blog posts to learn more.

Going To Bed

There are many ways to help a puppy to sleep through their first night (and every subsequent night!), but here are just a few. If you want to know more, you can always contact us or request a blog entry specifically for sleeping.

Find a piece of clothing you don’t mind getting soiled and wear it for a few days before the puppy arrives. This way it’ll smell of you and you can leave it in your puppy’s bed as a comforter. You can also ask the breeder for a bit of bedding from the mum and litter, as this will serve the same purpose.

We’d recommend investing in a house crate for the first few months of puppyhood, as this can be beyond useful in helping with sleeping, house training and teething. Set this up to be as comfy as possible with several towels and blankets, as well as some pillows or large stuffed toys. Using a crate means you can also experiment with covering your pup at night – some pups like to be in complete darkness in more of a den, and others prefer it to be more open with some light coming through. The only way to find out is to try different things for your individual pup!

Don’t be afraid to let the puppy sleep in the same room as you at the start, even if this is something you want to stop as the pup grows older. Remember what the pup has gone through in their first day with you (leaving their home, leaving their family, meeting a new family, and exploring a new place with new smells) and it’s understandable that many pups may be fairly distressed if left completely alone at this point. With you there, they can smell you and hear the sound of your breathing, which will naturally help them to relax and drift off themselves.

Make sure your pup is well fed and toileted before bed time, and you may find your pup sleeping through the whole night with no issues. If your pup does wake up needing to pee, though, take them out and let them do what they need to before taking them back to bed. Don’t give them any food, play or excessive cuddles at this point though, or you may find yourself with a 2am playtime alarm!

The Next Morning

Congratulations! You made it through your first night together. First on the agenda – toilet-time! Once your pup has done their business, your second day together can begin. Have a cuddle, have a play, or just let them explore some more: the main thing now is to bond and enjoy your new family member!

2 Comments

  • Lovely article. The first night for a pup can be so traumatic, so great to see that the guidelines include bringing your puppy upstairs to sleep near you on the first night rather being left alone. Lindsy Murray: Dog Behaviour Consultant

  • Keep on writing, great job!

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