The First Steps to Bringing a Puppy Home
Congratulations! You’re the new parent of a beautiful little puppy! or still choosing your puppy
You may find yourself asking “How Can I Introduce My Puppy to My Home?” If so, then this guide is the perfect starting point for you. We’ve gathered the most important information for brand new puppy owners and prepared it to help you and your puppy get off to a great start.
Bringing My Puppy Home
Moving into a new place is nervous work for a young puppy. There will be new smells, new people, and new places to explore! Not to mention, your puppy will very likely be missing their mother and littermates.
When introducing a puppy to your home, its extremely important to allow them to explore at their own pace. This will avoid any negative associations and discourage negative habits. If you have children, they should be reminded to give the puppy space. Too much stimulation can quickly tire a young puppy and may cause them to stress. Make sure you give your dog a quiet place to rest. Read our “Crate Training” article for advice on how to create a safe space for your pup!
Other pets should be introduced to your puppy only under very close supervision. To find out more about how to socialise your puppy with other pets, look at our article on “Introducing Your Puppy to Other Dogs” article.
Where Should My Puppy Sleep?
Providing your puppy with a quiet place to sleep is one of first steps in creating a safe and welcoming home environment. A laundry or other small quiet space is the perfect place for your dog to sleep. Section off a small section to stop them from wandering too far and provide some form of “litter-lining”, something like a dog bed or some folded blankets.
Many puppies experience separation anxiety for the first few nights at a new home and whine or scratch. Some owners find that by placing a ticking clock under their puppy’s bedding, they can replicate the sound of the mother’s heartbeat and make their puppy more comfortable. A hot water bottle can provide some additional heat and make the puppy even more comfortable (just make sure the water isn’t too hot!).
Consider Crate Training as a way to provide your puppy with a safe place to sleep and hide out while also managing a lot of negative behaviours.
While sleeping with your puppy in your bedroom or bed is fine, its important to remember that once you form a habit with your puppy it will be hard to change it later down the track.
What Should I Feed My Puppy?
What to feed a puppy is a divisive issue. Regardless of debate, your puppy needs a quality, balanced diet. This will provide them with the best proper development, strengthening their skeleton, polishing their coat, and giving them superior dental hygiene.
We recommend that puppies should be fed high quality biscuits which have been specifically formulated for a puppy’s development. Wet foods are full of fillers like rice, wheat, and fat. For this reason, they’re not as good as biscuits are for your puppy’s health.
A puppy’s stomach is only small so its important to split their meals over four intervals throughout the day. As they grow up this can gradually be reduced to 3, 2, or even 1 meal. Keep in mind that when changing a puppy’s diet, its important to introduce new foods slowly to avoid and diarrhoea or stomach discomfort. You can read more about our puppy food recommendations here.
How Do I Entertain My Puppy?
Puppies are naturally curious, and they have an abundance of energy! To stimulate your puppy’s mental development, and to avoid unwanted scratching and chewing, its important to provide your puppy with a full range of toys. This includes chew toys, rope toys, and puzzle toys. Each type of toy has a designated purpose in encouraging your puppy to develop. Chew toys stimulate your puppy’s hunting instincts, rope toys allow them to vent their need to chew and promote dental health, and puzzle toys keep them distracted and mentally stimulated.
Make sure you select toys which will not break when your dog plays with them. Toys which are made from quality materials can be found at all good pet stores. If your puppy’s toy breaks, remove it immediately to avoid accidental ingestion.
How Do I Toilet Train My Puppy?
Training your puppy to use the toilet where you want it to is one of the first things new owners want to learn. A new puppy might take a few days to house train, but they may continue to have accidents for some weeks afterwards. For this reason, its vital to have patience. Puppies need to eliminate around every 4 hours. Being aware of this is crucial to minimising accidents.
To toilet train your dog, consistency is key. Take them out through the same door and take them to the same spot. Praise your puppy for eliminating in the right spot to encourage positive behaviour.
If you catch your puppy eliminating in the wrong spot, take them immediately to the right place and then praise them for eliminating in the right spot. Positive reinforcement will be most effective in the long term. DO NOT punish your puppy for eliminating in the wrong spot, you will only encourage to form negative associations. For more information on toilet training your new puppy, click here.
How Do I Socialise My Puppy?
Puppies are most impressionable at a peak period in their development, 6 to 16 weeks. Its important to expose your puppy to as many people, places, and other pets at this time, because this is when they will learn how to interact with their environment.
Many behavioural problems can be linked to poor socialisation in this critical period. Excessive barking, shyness, and difficulty interacting with other dogs, all stem from problems with socialisation early in a puppy’s development.
The best way to socialise your puppy is in a neutral space where they will be around other dogs of a similar age. For early socialisation we recommend a puppy school or puppy play group. This way, your pup won’t be likely to be scared by much bigger dogs. Puppy School also gives you the opportunity to work on manners and commands with your puppy.
How Do I Register My Puppy?
All puppies must be registered with the local council, this can usually be done online or at a public services centre. In some states, puppies must be microchipped before they’re registered, however, we recommend having your puppy microchipped either way.
A microchip is inserted under your puppy’s skin near the shoulder blades. This can be done at a routine vet visit. Once your dog is microchipped and registered, your data will be uploaded to a national database so that you can be more easily united with your puppy in the event that they become lost.
How Can I Stay On Top of My Puppy’s Heath Care?
A puppy’s health is no small issue. The major health concerns for a puppy are vaccination, desexing, dental care, heart-worm, fleas, ticks and worms, coat care, ear care, and medication. You can read more about these in our Puppy Healthcare Basics article.