If you’re on TikTok or have seen TikTok because of a child or niece or nephew, you might have noticed that this time of year is all about the puppy gifts. These videos are often so sweet and you can tell the recipient is ready for the puppy. Sometimes it seems a little … surprising. So we thought we might help by writing about some tips to help your new puppy adjust to their new home.
(A little side note: giving animals as gifts is not always a great idea. Think about this carefully before you do it. Do you know that the person you’re gifting the puppy really wants a new pet in their home? Are they ready to take care of a new pet? Are they still grieving an old pet and need more time?)
Preparing your house for your new puppy
- Of course, make sure you are well stocked on excellent food and treats, leash and collar, crate, toys, poop bags, blanket. We could go on and on. Instead, here’s a good list to check out.
- And speaking of treats, here’s a piece we’ve written about the 7 best training treats to keep your dog motivated.
- Puppy proof your home. Get down on the floor and really look around. What will attract the puppy? Check out your cords situation, especially. Put away any breakable heirlooms that you don’t want to risk.
- Look around for things the puppy could ingest: rubber bands, ribbons, string, small children’s toys.
- If you’re a plant person, check into every single plant in your house to make sure it’s not toxic to dogs. Here’s a list. If you’re not sure, get rid of it.
- If you have the room, set aside a room for the puppy. Put their crate in there and anything else to make it feel like theirs as they get used to the larger space and everyone who lives there.
Introducing your puppy to your home
- if you’re picking your puppy up from another location (as opposed to having them brought to you), make sure you let them spend a lot of time sniffing you before getting into the car.
- talk to them. A lot. They’re learning about you and part of that is acclimating to your voice.
- if the car ride was any length, hopefully you can encourage a potty break outside of your home where you will be taking them regularly. This is starting their training right out of the gate.
- if there are multiple people in the house, introduce them one by one to the puppy. Give them time with the puppy individually. You don’t want to overwhelm them.
- if there are multiple animals in the house, that is a whole other issue, and we’ll be writing about that soon.
- take your puppy first to their crate space.
- then take them slowly throughout the house, letting them sniff and explore. During this time, you might notice other issues that need to be puppy proofed. Stay alert. (When we say “slowly,” this process could take a couple of days.)
First days with your new puppy
- you want to establish good routines immediately. You are in training mode from moment one. (This doesn’t mean that there isn’t fun and cuddling but how you start is how things will go over time.)
- with that in mind, start them on a regular feeding schedule immediately.
- take a potty break before putting them to bed in their crate.
- thought it’s hard, do not give into their cries and bring them to your bed — again, how you start is how things will go over time.
- be aware, though, that a very late night/early morning potty break might be necessary. (and trying to keep a puppy focused on that at 3 AM can be quite frustrating. This is normal.)
As always, remember that a well trained dog is a happy dog. You can read more about our approach to dog training at Sundance Retrievers here.