Bringing your puppy home is an exciting time for you and your family. However, it will be his first night away from his mum and litter mates and can therefore be quite hard. There are many things you can do to help this transition go as smoothly as possible.
Be aware that you will probably not get much sleep the first couple of nights so best to book some time off work!
Provide your puppy with a crate
Crate training is a great way to help your puppy feel secure and give him a safe place to rest. It can also be very helpful for house training as the puppy will be reluctant to soil his bed. The crate should be big enough for your puppy to stand, lie down and turn around in. If your puppy has too much space, he may be more likely to toilet in the crate. You can buy crates with dividers which will allow you to increase the area your puppy has as he grows, without having to buy another crate!
Vetbed is a good bedding choice for a crate, it is warm and comfortable and if any accidents do occur, the liquid will be wicked away from the top of the bed so that the puppy doesn’t get covered. It is not worth buying an expensive plush bed for a puppy as it is likely to get chewed and destroyed!
Spend the first day with your puppy helping him to feel comfortable in his crate. Clicker training is a great way to do this.
One great advantage of using a crate is that it can be moved. Therefore, initially, you can keep the crate in your bedroom so that the puppy knows he has company and later it can be moved to a different room.
Provide your puppy with comforters
Your puppy will have been used to snuggling up with his mum and siblings. You can provide substitutes which will help him to adjust.
- a blanket or cloth which has the scent of his mum and litter-mates
- a ticking clock next to the crate mimics the sound of a heart-beat
- a warm pad (e.g. Snugglesafe heat pad)
- an Adaptil diffuser or collar – these release the pheromone which the mother produces when the puppies are suckling and help to calm dogs. The collar can be worn all the time, or the diffuser can be plugged in near to your puppy’s crate (or both!)
- If your puppy seems particularly anxious, using Zylkene, a naturally derived calming product can be helpful.
- Don’t give your puppy food or water for an hour before bedtime.
- Just before bedtime, take your puppy into the garden to toilet, reward when he has been.
- Settle your puppy in his crate and set your alarm for every 3-4 hours.
- When your alarm goes off, take your puppy out for the toilet. Don’t make a big fuss of him, just a quick ‘well done’ or click and treat when he has been.
- Settle your puppy back in his crate.
- Repeat the next time your alarm goes off.
- If your puppy makes a fuss at other times, try to ignore him.
- In the morning, take your puppy straight out to the toilet.