You’ve done it all — searched through photos to find your perfect match, reserved your puppy, waited patiently and finally, the day has come: Your new dog is coming home!
Whether you’re a first-time dog owner or haven’t had a young pup around the house in a while, it’s essential to prepare yourself and your family for your newest addition to help it settle in seamlessly.
New puppy owners, check out the following 12 tips for giving your dog an extra-warm welcome home.
1. Get All the Right Supplies
Before your new dog arrives home, make sure you have all the puppy supplies you need to help it settle in. Consider this your new puppy checklist: an appropriately sized crate (with room to grow) and dog bed, puppy food and water bowls, chew toys designed for young dogs, a leash, collar, ID tags and puppy pads to help with potty training.
2. Puppy-Proof Your Home
Also, do a sweep of your home and puppy-proof it. Clear away anything you wouldn’t want your dog to get into or destroy, such as food, shoes, cleaning supplies, house plants, or other items you might have lying around.
Invest in baby gates or a playpen so you can block off areas of your home while you train your new pup — it’ll help keep the dog safe and hopefully save you some potential frustration.
3. Start Potty Training Right Away
As soon as the puppy arrives, immediately take it to the area where you’d like it to go to the bathroom. Whether it’s a particular corner of your backyard or a pee-pad in the house, you’ll want to establish this spot right away, so your puppy doesn’t think it has free reign to go wherever it pleases.
Of course, housebreaking takes time, and accidents almost certainly will happen, but do your best to redirect your puppy to the designated potty spot you’ve chosen. Consistency will pay off in the long run, so don’t lose patience — it’ll learn if you stick with it.
4. Give It a Tour of the House
Once the potty spot has been established, show your dog around the rest of your home. Let it take in the sights and smells and become more familiar with its new environment. It may be anything from excited to stand-offish, so do your best to keep a calm, neutral attitude to help it feel safe and secure as your new puppy transitions into its new life with you.
5. Introduce Its New Family
When introducing the puppy to human family members, choose a quiet area and remind any kids to be gentle. The pup might be overwhelmed by all the new interactions and sensations it’s taking in.
Tell the family to let the dog come to them and to let it sniff and assess at its own pace. There’ll be plenty of time to roughhouse and play, but you should try to keep this first meeting as relaxed as possible.
Keep treats on hand to reward the pup and to create positive associations with its new family members.
6. Introduce Other Dogs
Suppose you’re introducing the new puppy to another dog. In that case, it’s best to begin in a neutral area, outside the house if possible, so they can walk into the house together rather than having the new puppy “invade” the dog’s territory.
Keep a close watch on both dogs, and separate them if any aggressive behavior occurs. It may take time for the two to get acclimated, so make sure to reward both pets with treats and praise when interacting positively, encouraging them to repeat the behavior moving forward.
7. Introduce the Family Cat
If you have a cat in the house, you may want to take the introduction process a bit more slowly. Keep the cat and dog in separate rooms, and allow them to learn each other’s smells for a couple of days before meeting.
Keep the puppy on a leash or in its crate for the first meeting and then slowly continue.
Make sure there are plenty of high-up areas your cat can retreat to if it needs a break from all the new puppy action.
8. Supervise Your Puppy at All Times
Keep a close watch — puppies can be quick to find mischief! Even if you’ve done your best to puppy-proof your home, there’s always the potential for the pup to get into trouble. If you leave a room, bring the dog with you.
If you notice your dog chewing on furniture or something else, it’s not supposed to have, move it away from the area and give it a puppy-safe chew toy instead.
If you need to leave the pup at home unsupervised, make sure it’s left in a secure space where it can’t hurt itself or damage anything.
9. Begin Crate Training
Puppies sleep for several hours a day, and your new puppy will likely be exhausted from all the excitement of arriving in its new home. If it seems tired, guide it to the sleeping area you’ve prepared. A crate is a great option, as it creates a den-like setup where the puppy can feel safe and comfortable.
Reward your puppy whenever it voluntarily goes to its crate to help ease it into crate training. Make the crate nice and soft by choosing a mattress to fit inside. You might also add soft, snuggly toys to remind your new puppy of cuddling up next to its litter of siblings.
10. Sleep Close to Your New Puppy
For the first few weeks, try keeping the puppy’s crate right next to your bed (or at least in the same room), so the puppy doesn’t feel it’s been left alone.
Seeing and hearing you will help it fall asleep and decrease the chance of it whining to get out. Set everyone up for success by letting it go potty before bedtime as well.
After several nights of this routine in its crate, it’ll feel more secure and be more likely to sleep through the night without issue.
11. Establish Some House Rules
Dogs thrive when they have rules and routines. New puppy owners might think it’s too early to think about rules on your pup’s first day home, but consistency is key and will make you and the dog happier in the long run.
Once your puppy is old enough to go for walks outside, set a schedule of times a day you’ll walk it. It’ll enjoy this special bonding time with you, and it’ll help it release any pent-up puppy energy.
Be sure to feed your pup at the same time every day. That steady routine will help it feel comfortable and let it know what to expect.
12. Use Positive Reinforcement
During the early stages of training, it’s important to reward your puppy whenever it’s doing something you like and want to continue.
For example, if it’s walking nicely on the leash, praise it and give it a treat. If it remains calm when visitors come into the house, reward that behavior.
Keep a treat pouch filled with small training treats in reach at all times and use them wisely.
Practice basic commands like sit, stay and lie down and reward your pup whenever it completes them correctly. Slowly but surely, it’ll gain a deeper understanding of how you expect it to behave.
13. Ask for Help With Dog Training When You Need It
If you feel overwhelmed with dog training and can’t seem to make progress, there’s no shame in seeking help from a dog trainer. Part of being a good pet owner is knowing what’s best for your dog — sometimes puppy training can feel like a full-time job.
You might also choose to attend puppy classes so your new pet can socialize with other dogs. It will help it burn off energy, learn how to play nicely and will help it mirror good behavior from other puppies.
14. Give Yourself (and Your Puppy) Some Grace
Mistakes happen even if you do everything “right” — buy all the right treats and toys, use all the right training techniques, and follow all the best advice. There will likely be roadblocks along the way as your pup becomes acclimated to your home and your family.
Stay consistent with your commands, positive reinforcement, crate training, potty training and daily routines; the rest will eventually fall into place.
You might lose a few pairs of shoes along the way, or have to clean up a few messes you wish you hadn’t, but ultimately, your new puppy will want to please you and become one with the rest of its “pack.”
Remember that you’re just at the beginning of creating a lifelong bond with your new puppy — there are lots of great times ahead, and the puppy phase will go by fast. Before you know it, you’ll have a fully grown, well-behaved dog on your hands.
Looking for a New Puppy?
Now that you know everything to do when you bring home a new puppy, are you considering adding a new pet to the mix? Bring a doodle from Central Illinois Doodles home today — your future best friend is waiting.