Your first night with a new puppy can be intimidating. This is your dog’s first impression of you and your home, so you’ll want to do anything you can not to mess it up. Naturally, you might want to surprise your puppy with unlimited love, treats, and cuddles, but that’s not the best way to greet a new family member. Instead, you should take your time and make sure you’re prepared before bringing a new dog into your home.
Things to Prepared in Advance
You should always be fully prepared for a new animal, even if you adopt a full-grown dog. However, puppies often need more preparations than any other animal. That’s because in some ways, they’re similar to human babies, so they need constant attention and care. If you’re not up for a challenge, consider getting an older dog or another pet like a cat instead.
When you bring your new puppy home, they should be at least 8 weeks old. If a shelter or breeder tries to give you a puppy sooner, your puppy could be more prone to health problems and behavioral problems. 8 weeks is very young, which means your tiny pup won’t be trained and they’ll probably be overly curious. So, here are some things you should prepare in advance.
Create Consistent House Rules
Puppies learn best from consistency, so you should have a discussion with all the members of your household before bringing a puppy home. You should all agree on the house rules to help your puppy learn better. For example, if one family member doesn’t allow your puppy to jump up on them, all other family members should do the same. If one family member allows the puppy on the couch, the others should too. You should also discuss what your puppy’s feeding and bathroom schedules will be like. Having consistent rules will help create a better environment for your new addition.
Puppy-Proof Your Home
Like human babies, puppies can get into a lot of things they shouldn’t. This can often make a mess or put your puppy in danger. Make sure your puppy doesn’t have access to any unsafe areas. For example, you should keep cords and cleaning products out of reach, always close toilet lids, and remove any choking hazards.
Gather All Your Supplies
You also need to have all your supplies ready before bringing your puppy home. Here are some of the crucial supplies that you should buy in advance:
- A collar with identification tags
- A leash and harness
- Dog food
- Dog treats
- Food and water bowls
- A dog bed
- A crate
- Dog toys
Of course, as you get to know your puppy better, you’ll be able to buy them more things. When you first bring them home, you might not know their toy or treat preferences. So, you’ll need to buy more fun things for your dog as you get to know their likes and dislikes. You might also need to change their food later on if you discover that they have allergies.
There are also some optional supplies that you might consider. Dog gates and potty pads are good to have if you’re planning to confine your puppy to a smaller space. It might sound lonely, but it’s a great technique for potty training your puppy. You’ll also need to get some dog shampoo eventually so you can keep your pup clean. After all, most groomers won’t bathe a young puppy until they’ve received all their vaccinations.
Tips for the First 24 Hours
Your first night and your first 24 hours with a puppy can be exhausting. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies like you’d expect. Caring for a dog is hard work, so you need to be ready to attend to your new family member’s needs.
Take Some Time Off Work
Sometimes, caring for a young puppy can feel like a full-time job. So, you’ll need to make sure you set aside enough time to fully commit to your puppy as they get used to their new surroundings. Plan to bring your puppy home over the weekend or take a few days off work. That way, you can ensure that your new family member gets properly adjusted.
Give Your Puppy a “Safe Space”
Even the most lovable puppies need time to themselves now and then. So, you should set up a “safe space” that they can retreat to if needed. This should consist of their personal belongings like a crate, bed, and toys. If you have another dog in your household, make sure you keep their items away. Your puppy’s space should only consist of items that they can call their own. If your puppy chooses to spend time in their safe space away from you or in their crate, you should respect that.
Start Training Right Away
You should start training, especially potty training, as soon as you bring your puppy home. You and your family members should already have agreed on a consistent bathroom routine for your pup. Young puppies need to be taken out every few hours to relieve themselves. Use a consistent command, such as “go potty” every time you take them out. Taking them out in the same area each time can be beneficial as well. During your first night with your new puppy, you can also start to work on other commands too, such as “sit” and “come,” but those aren’t as crucial as potty training.
Don’t Overwhelm Them with Attention
It can be difficult not to pet, cuddle, and play with your puppy for every second of their first day. Yet, as a dog parent, you need to respect your dog’s space. Your puppy will likely want to spend lots of time with you, but when they walk away or take a nap, you need to back off for a little while. Let your puppy enjoy some alone time now and then to help them feel comfortable in their new home.
Choosing Where Your Puppy Sleeps
One of the most important parts of your first night with your new puppy is choosing where your dog sleeps. You should expect to get very little sleep at night because sleeping through the night is difficult for most puppies. They might whine, bark, or have accidents at night. Instead of getting upset with them, be patient and understanding. Sleeping in an unfamiliar setting can be scary for anyone.
As much as you’d like your puppy to snuggle in bed next to you, it’s best to start them out in a crate at night. Put a comfortable bed in their crate and keep their crate near your bed. This can help give them some independence while still allowing them to know where you are. If you have your dog sleep in your bed with you from day one, they’ll be more prone to separation anxiety.
Your puppy’s crate should be just big enough for them to stand up and turn around. If it’s too big, your puppy could easily have an accident in one corner and still sleep comfortably in the other. To avoid accidents, you should also take your puppy outside right before bed.
Since puppies have much smaller bladders than adult dogs, it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to hold it all night. So, if you hear them suddenly start whimpering, take them outside to their designated bathroom spot. After they relieve themselves, take them right back into their crate. Do not play with them or give them extra attention during this time. Otherwise, they might develop a bad habit of waking you up at night just for some attention.
Getting a puppy is a big decision that you’ll want to make sure you’re ready for. You’ll have to dedicate a lot of time to caring for your puppy and you’ll have a lot of sleepless nights. If the first night and first few days with a new puppy sound like a nightmare to you, then you might want to reconsider getting a puppy. Adopting an adult dog is often much easier since they can hold their bladders longer and they’re often already trained.
Puppies sure are cute, but they’re not for everyone. So, before you bring a puppy into your home, make sure you’ve done all your research and fully prepared. After all, puppies are so much more than just cute faces. They’re living creatures who deserve the best care possible!