Helping Your Puppy To Settle At Home
It’s not unusual for a new puppy to feel overwhelmed or unsure of his or her new surroundings. Here are our tips on helping your new puppy to settle at home.
Be prepared…..Planning for Puppy’s arrival
It’s a huge step for a young puppy (or for any dog for that matter) to leave his or her doggy family and start life with a new family. There’ll be no brothers and sisters to play with or cuddle up to at night. New sights, sounds and smells to get used to –some of them might be scary at first. Puppies doesn’t understand that life is going to be fabulous from now on – they just know that they’ve been launched into an alien adventure with a bunch of strangers.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to plan for the arrival of a new puppy. Where will he or she sleep? What type of food is best? Which vet will you sign up with? How will you keep him or her safe whilst travelling in the car? Have you got a training plan in place?
There’s a lot to think about and several things to buy too.
The more prepared you are, the quicker and easier it will be for Puppy to adjust to life in your home. Working to a plan and having that consistency means that you can confidently start familiarising your new family member with his or her new sleeping quarters, family members, home and garden.
If this is your first puppy, or if it’s been a while and you want to refresh your memory, a pre-puppy visit from a dog trainer is invaluable. Click here to find out what sort of topics are covered.
Meeting and Greeting People and Pets
As soon as friends and family realise you have a new fur baby, they’re going to want to come for a cuddle. Some pups are extraverts who thrive on human contact. Others are shy and easily overwhelmed.
The last thing your pup needs at this stage of life is to be put off meeting humans. Take it slowly. On day 1, you might want to keep puppy all to yourself. If you have children, of course let them cuddle and play with puppy – they are going to be life companions after all. But teach children (and adults!) the rules of interaction.
Meeting other pets
If you have other pets in the house, it’s important to manage meetings very carefully indeed. Your puppy’s first experience of cats and/or other dogs could shape his or her behaviour for life.
Make the introductions as soon as possible, but make them controlled and make them short. To begin with there needs to be a physical barrier between the original pet and your puppy. That could mean that puppy is in your arms, it could mean that your big dog is behind a baby gate. Let them sniff each other first and watch out for any negative body language.
Offer lots of treats and praise to the older pet if they are being pleasant. At the first sign of nastiness, take puppy right out of the way. It goes without saying that there should be no “unsupervised visits” until puppy and pet are 100% comfortable with each other.
The first night
Settling your puppy at night is going to require lots of patience to start with. Expect whimpering, crying and even heart-breaking howls for the first few nights. One more reason why it’s a good idea to schedule a few quiet days following puppy’s arrival – you might be feeling sleep deprived.
Every family has different views on where their puppy (and ultimately their dog) should sleep. My advice would be to forget that for now. Until he gets used to being away from his siblings, your puppy needs to be physically close to someone. That means that either puppy sleeps near you, or you sleep near to your puppy.
A puppy crate is fantastic for sleep training. After the late night toileting trip, settle puppy into a cosy crate close to where you are sleeping. When little one wakes in the night, you’ll be close by with a reassuring voice and perhaps a gentle touch.
Gradually – and I’m talking weeks here, not days, you can increase the distance between your sleeping self and your puppy until finally, little one gets used to sleeping in their permanent place.
Of course if you’re happy to share your bedroom with your dog, that’s great. Be aware though that very young puppies cannot control bladder and bowels for a whole night. Crate training makes mess less likely but you may need to get up in the night.
Where to find help and information
If, at any time, you feel frustrated or confused by puppy behaviour and/or training. The team at Best Behaviour Dog Training are here to help.
We offer pre-puppy training sessions to help you anticipate any challenges and cope with them as they arise.
Once pup is at home with you, we can come out for 1-2-1 training sessions. So even before your little one is vaccinated you can start teaching good manners and excellent toilet habits.
As puppy grows, there are of course puppy and dog training classes to help with life skills and social skills.
For the online buffs among you, Dogversity is packed full of video information and tips for every situation.
Browse our website to discover what help is available or get in touch for an informal chat.
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