Bringing Your New Puppy Home
So you have taken the plunge and are about to go and collect your new member of the family. Your puppy ! Hopefully you have everything ready for your new arrival and I dare say you and the family are all rather excited.
Collecting Your Puppy
My family and I have collected a few puppies over the years and have had different experiences with all of them. However, it is in my own personal experience that I have found that the best time to collect a puppy is either at seven weeks of age or nine weeks of age when they tend to be over their ‘fright’ period which is around eight weeks of age. In a majority of puppies, but by no means all, puppies tend to settle in better at seven or after eight weeks of age.
I always collect a puppy in the morning so that the puppy arrives at our home in daylight hours and has the opportunity to explore its new surroundings before dark and I also ask the breeder not to feed the puppy before we collect it as this helps to avoid travel sickness.
When collecting your new addition take a towel, kitchen roll, a blanket and a puppy crate and some news paper. All will come in handy if the puppy is sick or has a toilet accident on the journey as you will need to clean up. Even if the puppy travels well you may need to be keep the youngster warm, hence the blanket.
Once puppy is at its new home, put it out in the garden so it may relieve itself after the journey as it is unlikely that the puppy will have had its full course of vaccinations before you collected it and therefore you will not have been able to stop during the journey to allow the pup to go to the toilet.
Then offer a small feed and some water and after 10 minutes put it out again as the puppy may need the toilet again. As the puppy relieves itself put a command like ‘hurry up’ or ‘go wee wee’ as dogs learn by association therefore helping the puppy to learn that when it goes outside and you give the ‘hurry up’ command, it means its time to toilet ! It will take time but when the puppy does go to the toilet remember to give lots of praise.
Offer a small drink and a small bowl of food. If it does not wish to eat it then try again later on. On no account leave the food down for more than five minutes. Start as you mean to continue.
Do allow the puppy to rest and sleep in a quiet place as it may be tired after its journey and if you have children, instil in them to let the puppy rest and to leave it alone whilst it is asleep. The Kennel Club have a brilliant site called Safe and Sound in which parents and children can learn together how to behave around dogs in general, so it is worth looking at.
Visit the Vet
If you haven’t done so already, make an appointment to see your vet the next day to check the puppy over and see all is well. Choose a vet who you feel offers the best all round service for what you need. It is worth noting that some practices do not offer a twenty four hour service, which means that once they close at 6 pm you may find you have to travel more than thirty miles to the on call vet, who will not know your pets details. In some cases, practices do have their own twenty four hour service but you may have to travel to one of their other practices instead of the one nearest to you, this is fine as long as you can drive !
The First Night
The first night may be a little unsettling for the puppy. If you have a crate for it to sleep in then be sure to put him in it during the day for a few seconds at a time and close the door for a minute or so whilst the puppy is eating, then open at once. Try not to make a big deal out of it. Remain calm and you will find the puppy will settle down sooner than you think.
When it is time for all the lights to go out and the family to go to bed, be as casual as possible. Hopefully you have decided where the puppy is to sleep beforehand. Some owners prefer to keep the puppy in the kitchen or utility room whilst others like to take the crate just outside the bedroom door and gradually move the crate to its final location over a period of a week or so. Either way make the decision before going to bed. Offer water about an hour before its time to go to bed and then remove it so the puppy isn’t drinking during the night causing it to wet its crate.
Put the puppy out about ten minutes before lights out, pop him in the crate and close the crate door and walk away. No long conversations and interacting. Go to bed and ignore any barking or crying and try and sleep ! The next morning, once you are up, put the puppy out to relieve himself and offer breakfast, water and then again after ten minutes pop the pup out again to relive itself.
Have a great time with your new member of the family and remember, try not to expect too much from him at this early stage.