The first week with a new puppy is exciting, but it can also be challenging at times. Follow these tips to ensure that the first week with your puppy is as fun and productive as possible.
Week one workout
When you bring home a new puppy, there inevitably needs to be some time for adjustment. But in this first week you can lay the foundation for a long and happy life together and make the transition as easy as possible for everyone involved.
With any luck you’ll have planned ahead, so you’ll have all the supplies, food and toys you’ll need for your new arrival.
In addition, your house should be completely puppy-proof. So now all you have to think about in your puppy’s first week are the following handy hints to make the experience as stress-free as possible for up both.
Make time for your puppy
The best time to bring your new puppy home is at the beginning of a weekend. If possible, take a few days holiday as well to really give you time to acquaint your puppy with its new home and begin puppy training.
Name your puppy
Agree on a name ahead of time and make sure everyone uses it all the time when talking to your puppy. This will help him recognise his name and avoid confusion.
Take your dog to the vet
Take your new puppy to your vet as soon as you can. Take with you any immunisation or other health information you may have received when you got your dog.
Make sure others understand your dog’s needs
Once in his new home, your puppy will take time to adjust to strange new surroundings and people. Children can become especially excited, so explain to them that their new friend needs time out for naps, and show them how to care for your puppy and play nicely.
Be a leader
Simple things like always walking through doors ahead of your puppy and eating in his presence before you feed him make you look like a ‘pack leader’. This will make it easier for your puppy to accept that you (and your family) are in charge.
Puppy feeding tips
It is a good idea to bring home the pet food that your new puppy had been eating to make the transition to a new home as easy as possible. If you do plan to switch foods, you can minimise digestive upsets by having enough of the old food available to make the change a gradual one. Always put the food in the same spot to establish a routine. If your puppy doesn't seem to be eating, try moistening the food with water to make it easier to eat. There is plenty more information on feeding puppies in case you have difficulties.
Never hit your puppy, and never scold for something he did a while ago. Your puppy will have no idea what the problem is and will think you are angry for no reason. Instead, encouraging the behaviour you do want and discouraging the ones you don’t want is a far more productive approach. Learn more about behaviour issues and how to address them. Click here for some pointers on this issue.
Get out with your puppy
Begin socialising your puppy as soon as your vet gives the OK. Take him out and gradually introduce him to new people and other puppies in controlled, safe settings. It is one of the most important things you can do for him. It teaches him to be a good citizen and gives him confidence and social skills.
Make introductions to existing pets
If you are bringing home a second puppy or already have other pets, be sure to introduce your new pet to resident pets in controlled situations. If the resident pet is a puppy, let them get to know each other on neutral ground where neither will feel the need to defend territory. Give each pet its own food dish and give all pets attention to avoid competition.
Dos and don’ts
- Don’t bring home a new pet during busy times such as birthdays and holidays. The noise and confusion may frighten the pet and family members are generally too busy with the festivities to devote adequate time to help the puppy become comfortable in his new home.
- Do make sure your entire family knows how to act, and agree on commands and rules. Complete cooperation from all family members is needed, as when a pet receives mixed signals, it can become confused and not know what to do.
- Above all, do have fun – puppies of all ages love a good time! And when a puppy is having fun, it’s a fair bet his owner is, too.
About the Purina PetCare Advice Centre
The Purina PetCare Advice Centre brings together a team with in-depth knowledge, experience and special interests with the skills to advise about health and nutrition, behaviour, training, socialisation, as well as basic first aid for your cat or dog. Our team of dedicated pet lovers can also provide information about Purina products and services to help you give your pet the best possible care. If you've got a question about any aspect of pet care, then ask the Purina PetCare Advice team.