So you got a brand new puppy. You’re ecstatic. A new house mate, new toys, co-pilot, cuddle buddy, and free sniffs of that sweet, new puppy scent.
It’s all so exciting, but for the puppy on the other hand, it’s usually the scariest initial transition of their lives, and you might wonder where to even start to help your new addition to the family feel at home the first night.
We get it, the first 24 hours can be challenging. We have some recommendations below to help you survive the first 24 hours with your new puppy.
Prepare Before Puppy Comes Home
The more you prepare for your puppy the better. You’ll want to make sure they have their designated “safe space” prepped, as well as other supplies that will help you manage the puppy’s basic needs and keep them entertained. Provided is a checklist of essentials to have on the first day and night.
PlayPen (optional) and Gates for around the house
Dog bed and/or blanket bed
Food and water bowls (a splash mat for under the drinking area is nice too, but not necessary)
High-quality puppy food
Collar and leash
Name tag with your contact info
Toys and treats (keep it simple–your puppy will figure out what they like first before you break the bank)
A couple designated chew toys for teething
Schedule Some Time Off
You’ll find that puppies require a lot of attention especially the first day or so in your home as they are curious, but also nervous to be alone. The first 24 hours is a crucial bonding, and boundary-setting time between you and your new pup.
It’s recommended to take at least one to two days off if you go into the office, or request to work from home if it’s an option. You will most likely be glad you did. Plus, this could provide some opportunity to catch up on any lack of sleep you might experience the first night.
Introduce Them to Their “Space”
Whether you plan on having your puppy sleep in their crate or playpen area, slow and steady on this introduction is key. You may even be okay with the pup sleeping in your bed with you, but it’s strongly suggested to implement this process first. You don’t want your puppy running around like a free-range chicken in your house while you leave, because at some point you will have to.
Adjusting your puppy to a fenced-in area like this will make it worth your while. You’ll want to make this the most positive experience for the puppy, not a “go to your room, you’re grounded” type of deal–you can implement those rules later on.
Here are some ways to help your puppy love and trust their designated area:
Make sure they have a comfortable surface to lay on (mat, dog bed, blanket)
Make it fun, place a couple toys in there
An object of some sort with mother/sibling’s scent on it (if you have access to it.)
Take an old T-shirt you don’t care about and leave it in the area as it carries your scent
Entice them in and out of the area with treats and praise them for entering
Feed your puppy their meals inside this area–they will learn to love it
Establish Potty Training Right Away
As soon as your bring the puppy home, you’ll want to introduce them to their designated “potty spot” right away–and seriously, don’t delay!
Start by creating a potty schedule. As you can imagine, their bladders are small, and you should anticipate a movement of some sort every 30 minutes or so. When in doubt, direct them to that area. If they relieve themselves, give the most encouraging praise you can and maybe a treat or two so they can start to make the connection.
Accidents are going to happen, it’s just a part of the process. It’s important to go into this decision understanding that and remain patient with your pup, they will learn over time. The best thing you can do is be consistent and establish a schedule for bathroom breaks.
Most puppies are eager to please, and rely on you to help them understand what’s expected of them. Keep training simple at first; especially the first night. They already have so much they’re digesting in a strange, new home. Aside from rules and boundaries, focus on the bond between you and your fur baby as much as possible, and remember, keep it positive and uplifting to them.
The first 24 hours with a brand new puppy can be a learning curve for the both of you, but keep in mind that if you can establish these guidelines sooner than later, you and your puppy will be friends in no time.