Bringing home your new puppy is an exciting day! You’ve probably been preparing for your pup in many ways and now your ready to bring them home!
My husband and I raise and train premium goldendoodle puppies in the beautiful PNW. I work with amazing families who want the best for their newest member of the family. I question I often get is “how can I help my puppy the first night?” It is a big transition for the puppy (and you!) so here are some tips to help it go as smoothly as possible.
Knowing what to expect and having the right mindset will go a long ways!
*Before this day make sure you have everything you’ll need! Check out our resource page for my favorite recommendations.
When You First Get Your Puppy Home
Everything’s new…everything’s a first!
To help understand your puppy, keep in mind where they are coming from. Up to this point, most puppies have been with their mama and littermates. They have eaten when they wanted, slept when they wanted, played when they wanted, and gone potty anywhere and anytime they wanted! Imagine the difference when you try to get them on a schedule! (Don’t worry…they will thrive on a positive and consistent schedule….it’s just new!)
With all that in mind, when you first arrive home give your puppy a chance to relieve itself in an area you have designated for that purpose. I would take them out without
their leash–just carry them to the spot and set them down. I recommend starting potty training immediately.
Allow your puppy 10-15 minutes to potty and explore the new territory. If/when your puppy does relieve itself in the proper area, give them lots of praise. If they haven’t relieved, take them inside and again in 10 minutes.
Next, let them explore in the house (be sure to supervise – don’t let him out of your sight). Talk to the puppy when it explores to make it feel more at home.
Puppy’s First Night At Home
The first few nights at home may be difficult for both you and your pup. At night the puppy will feel lonely and will probably demonstrate this by whining. These are a few things that you can do that might make the puppy feel at home.
- Your puppy’s sleeping quarters should be in a crate. Many times people are reluctant to have their puppy sleep in a crate. My advice is to always listen to your intuition when it comes to your puppy. With that said, your puppy is used to sleeping in a cove like tight space and the crate will not only help them potty train but give them that cove like feeling. Make it comfortable for them by adding a soft crate bed, a soft toy, and a transition blanket. I like the Mid West Life Stages crate because it has an adjustable wall. You can put the wall up to make the crate space smaller and move it back as your puppy gets bigger. If you don’t have this crate, you can fill the back of your crate with boxes or makeshift your own wall.
- Where do you put the crate? Two main schools of thought on this…
- Keep the crate in a draft free area next to your bed. This is a good option if you are able to get up often during the night. For approximately the first three weeks, if your puppy cries, take him out, on leash to relieving area. After relieving put him back into his crate. Do not give him any treats or any play time. Put him right back into his crate and he should go back to sleep. This is considered the more gentle method as your puppy will feel safe knowing you are present. It is more difficult as well because it will take a long time for your puppy to sleep through the night as he will be able to wake you and want your assistance.
- Put the crate somewhere away from foot traffic/people. This is a good option for people who are not able to afford losing a too many good nights’ sleep. Many people choose this option until their puppy is potty trained and then move the pup to their room. With this option, set a designated time to get the puppy from their crate to go potty. The first night take them out every 2 hours. Each night add an hour in between potty breaks (next day every 3 hours, next day every 4 hours–all the way up to 7). By the end of one week your puppy will be able to sleep 7 hours in their crate. With you setting the pace your puppy will learn you will take them out and stop barking after the first 5ish days. I would invest in earplugs if you choose this option!
- Under no circumstances take the puppy to bed with you. This will form a very undesirable habit. Once your puppy is potty trained and sleeping through the night, it is much more manageable if you choose to have your puppy sleeping in your bed. Before that–you are going to have a rough time with night time potty training and may find yourself getting up frequently for months and months! –or find presents in your bed…! I recommend going a whole month of no accidents and seeing clear communication from your puppy asking to go outside before moving them to your bed.
- Be consistent! Whatever method you choose be sure you can stick with it! Know that a great deal of effort in this beginning time will give you a well trained and happy pup for their lifetime!
Read more on how to crate train and what the days beyond should look like on my crate training post!
Puppy’s First Feeding
This will be your puppy’s first meal by themselves. Once your puppy’s food is prepared, you will start having your puppy sit and wait for his food.
Hold your puppy by his collar by slipping your thumb in his collar and set his food about two feet away. As soon as he stops wiggling, say the words “O.K.”and release your puppy.
This should be done at every meal throughout training.
It is easiest for the puppy if you can feed them the same food your breeder was giving them. Be sure to order some ahead of time so you can have it ready. It is recommended they don’t change food for the first few weeks. You’ll notice they may have tummy issues do to the stress of the change and keeping the food the same will help. You can also add 1 tablespoon pumpkin puree to their food to help with their tummy. Expect your puppy to not have much of an appetite. *They may also drink and obnoxious amount of water!
For this first day and until they are potty trained don’t leave food and water down! Keep it picked up and give it to them each time. Immediately take them outside as they will probably go potty within a couple minutes.
You can also expect him to take some time to learn his new environment/smells and a handful of inside accidents is normal.
We feed our pups Life’s Abundance All Life’s Stages Dog Food.
Your puppy’s first night home should include some bonding time. To help them feel secure you can give your puppy a distressing massage while having some cuddle time. Wait until they are somewhat sleepy or at least not energetic. Bring your puppy into your lap giving them lots of eye contact. Dogs have distressing pressure points in the slight indent at the top of their head and the sinuses below the tear ducts. You can rub those areas while snuggling in addition to long slow strokes from the top of his shoulder blades to the base of his tale.
Helping your puppy transition will take time. But…they WILL transition! Dogs are incredibly intuitive and they will be able to sense you love and care for them. At the end of the day that is what is most important.
Keeping as many things the same will also help. Talk to your breeder about food, vitamins, transition blankets, etc. Here is a list of things that will help your puppy make that transition.