Bringing Your New Puppy Home

27th February 2013 - in General

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.

Arriving Home

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.

  • 27th February 2013 12:43 - Posted by : Jane

    I wouldn't remove water from any dog, mind you I don't use cages either. I also think it's cruel to leave a puppy alone in a new place crying.

    I put puppy in the kitchen, with a pet gate up, plenty of room to move around and yes go to the loo if puppy needs too because they don't have much control at that age. I also leave water down and sleep on the sofa just the other side of the gate for the first few nights.

  • 27th February 2013 14:05 - Posted by : Helen

    Very good advice. Not sure about leaving a pup in a crate for 8 hours though? Does he/she not need letting out at least once in that period or if leaving over night maybe putting him/her in a larger 'playpen' where it does not matter too much if they soil. Not wanting to encourage soiling of the crate which could cause issues?

  • 5th April 2013 12:11 - Posted by : Pauline

    We are collecting our puppy on Sunday, he will be sleeping in his crate which will be inside his play pen, I think restricting pups to the amount of water they can have is cruel, and I want him to be able to go to the loo in night if needed as well.

  • 4th July 2013 21:20 - Posted by : Jean

    I'm so glad I did not ignore my puppy's shrieking some hours into his first night. He had urinated and was soaked and so was his bedding. Poor wee guy. No more closed door on the crate and we found he needed out twice a night.

  • 21st October 2013 07:43 - Posted by : Peter

    Hi there, I have to travel from Northern Ireland to Scotland by boat to collect our new Border Terrier, this is a long journey and we will not be home until approx 10pm. I realise from the previous posts this is not ideal? Though we have no other options, would anyone be able to give me best advise on how to approach this?

    All help appreciated.


  • 3rd January 2014 10:57 - Posted by : Taylor

    Rather than locking your puppy in a crate in the kitchen overnight until it gets used to it, I might advise crating him in your bedroom the first night, so you can attend to his needs, and move him down the hall to where you want him to be as he settles in. I'm talking from my experience with my wolfdog pup who needed to go every three hours, and I'm sure it helps with preventing any seperation anxiety your new pup might develop. It must certainly be less stressful than the cold turkey!

  • 5th January 2014 17:56 - Posted by : Flowerbags

    Taylor, I think this is a good idea and exactly what I was thinking of doing when I get my pup. I shall be happy for my boy to stay in our room when he's older so I'm thinking of starting off with a crate in the room and eventually doing away with it once he's grown. I've had pups left down in a kitchen in the past and had no end of problems trying to get them clean. At least if he's in with me I can get up in the night to let him out. Thoughts please?

  • 23rd January 2014 10:52 - Posted by : Karen

    If I have to use a crate, I do use in the following manner. First of all, I make sure that the pup has been outside to do his thing before bedtime. I have my pup in a crate big enough for him to stretch out, and I sleep on a mattress, next to him for the first three or four nights. If he is sad, I can reach in and assure him and if he needs to go out, I will hear him and I can get him out in time.
    After eight PM, I don't offer any water. Night time is for sleeping. After the first 3 to 4 nights in my home, the pup sleeps in the crate next to my bed. I try having the door to the crate open, but close it again if he gets the idea that it's ok to leave and start playing around. After a couple of weeks or so, he moves to the room next to the bedroom, and so on and so forth until he is in the room where I intend him to sleep. I keep testing to see if I can have the crate open. And of course as he gets bigger, he gets a bigger crate. I don't move him too far away, because I want to be able to hear him if there is something wrong. Once he has learned to stay put at night, he gets to sleep in a dog bed, unless of course the dog prefers the crate. Some dogs just stay put and sleep, almost right away. They are offered a to sleep in a dog bed. Others, have to learn that night time is for sleeping. Hope this will help you. I am not a big fan of using crates, but with some pups it's helps them to settle down. PS. I NEVER use crates as a way of punishing the pup. The crate is more like a nice cozy hide away.

  • 22nd March 2014 04:04 - Posted by : Anne

    I'm collecting a puppy from Newton Abbott and have a long journey home, I have a small crate,paper, with blanket,kitchen roll and newspaper. I find that rubbing the blanket on the mother And litter will help the puppy settle while travelling back . Does anyone have any other tip?

  • 28th May 2014 15:52 - Posted by : Janet eames

    Sometimes a crate as to be used.but to expect a 8 week old puppy not to want a wee is a big expectation .just get up and put the puppy outside .although I have never had a problem with puppies from a early age they would always be able tp make a noise or cry then you know they need a toilet.

  • 12th May 2015 06:03 - Posted by : Christina Bachini

    I am collecting my lowchen puppy this morning and have taken all your comments into account. I will crate puppy and hopefully she will make that her preferred bed. I will keep her in the bedroom and take her out to toilet until she is dry all night, which I hope will be within the first month.

    Hope it goes well and as planned

  • 12th December 2016 18:48 - Posted by : Helena

    So do you carry them home?