Once you’ve bought all the essentials you’ll need and picked the perfect puppy from a shelter or breeder, the real work begins: introducing them to their new home. Any big change can be stressful for a dog, especially when they’re young. Merely getting your dog from the shelter and expecting them to adjust to their new home on their own can usually lead to stress and anxiety for the puppy. When not addressed promptly, this can become the reason why your puppy develops aggressive behavior.
Obviously, you want the settling process to be as relaxed and easy to manage as possible. Taking care of a puppy is a long-term responsibility, which usually begins the moment you fetch your puppy from the shelter.
Here are a few helpful tips for introducing any puppy to a new home:
Start Training ASAP
Your new puppy’s first few days is the best time to begin building habits for obedience and house training. This initial period will present all kinds of opportunities to reward their good behavior with praise and dog snacks, and establish yourself as the pack leader. Your ability to train your puppy will significantly affect their behavior as they grow. The more time you spend on training them, the more obedient your puppy will be.
While they’re still young, try not to scold or punish them for any kind of bad behavior. It’s too soon for hard discipline, as your puppy has no idea what you expect of them, or how to distinguish good behavior from bad. Instead of your pups learning what obedience is, their development could be hindered by this form of discipline.
As soon as you bring them home, show them to the area you’ve designated as their bathroom. They’ll probably be nervous after the ride from the shelter, and need to pee. If they do their business, praise and feed them, getting your housetraining off to a great start.
Get into a Feeding Rhythm
Soon after you bring your puppy home, they should be getting hungry. Educate yourself on how much to feed a puppy – specifically for the breed you own, put some food down for them, ideally the same kind that the breeder or shelter has been feeding them. Then, as soon as they’re all done, take them outside to a place where they can do their business. Wait around ten minutes, and if nothing happens, take them back inside. Ideally, you should repeat this process every time your puppy finishes eating, so this practice will become innate to them. Training them to go out after eating will save you time and effort in the long run as you won’t have to clean up whenever they pee or poop inside your home. Your home will thank you in the long run.
However, if they do pee or poop, back this behavior up with positive reinforcement. Accidents will happen, but you can still work on getting them to think of outside as the bathroom from a fairly young age.
Most puppies, up to 16 weeks old, need to eat at least 3 meals a day and get plenty of fresh drinking water. Some will need more and some will need less, depending on the breed. Like with many aspects of doggy care, the internet is your friend, and it won’t take long to find a good feeding guide. Try to cut off all food and water at around six o’clock in the evening, so you don’t have to take them out at night.
Get Used to Their Sleep Cycle
Like a human child, your puppy will want to have several naps through the course of the day. When you’re getting them to settle in, try to establish different areas of the home for all activities, including their sleep. This will make it very easy for them to sleep whenever they need to, as comfortable spaces are readily available.
Get a dog bed, and keep it in a confined area where it will be easy to keep an eye on them, such as the kitchen or an office. This is especially important if you have other pets in the house. You don’t want your puppy to be surrounded by other animals all the time, as this can disrupt their sleep and even cause stress.
If you’re going in for crate training, put the crate in this area in place of a bed, but fill it with comfortable blankets and other bedding. Just don’t force them into the crate, and let them go when they’re ready.
Ask For Help From A Pro
Introducing a puppy to their new home can be challenging at first, especially if this is your first time to become a pet owner. If you don’t want to take any chances, work with a vet so you’ll know what to do and not to do once your puppy arrives home. With their education and experience, asking for their advice will surely help you become one of the best pet owners!