Your New Puppy at Home
The arrival of a new puppy will be the cause of great excitement, especially if you are a first-time owner. The puppy will already have had more than enough for one day -- removal from its mother and littermates, a strange journey, arrival in a new place, new people to feed it and care for it, a new bed, new smells, new noises—so try not to exhaust it and give it plenty of opportunity to rest. Young puppies spend a significant proportion of their day asleep.
Introduce new people and stimuli one at a time. Young children must be closely supervised and instructed not to pick up the puppy until it has become used to them. Any other family pets should be introduced carefully.
Set aside a quiet corner of the kitchen or living area for your pup to feed in. You'll need a heavy bowl so that the puppy cannot move it around (a small bowl with straight sides to prevent spillage is good), and a larger bowl for water.
Young puppies are extremely curious. Beware of dangling electrical cords, cups of hot coffee, and scattered toys. A baby gate will keep your puppy away from forbidden areas of your home. Put your most valued possessions (and your slippers!) safely out of reach of its tiny teeth.
By the end of its first day in its new home, your puppy will be ready for its bed. It does not have to be a special dog bed—if you buy one now, the puppy will only outgrow it. A simple cardboard box with a cutaway front is adequate. Line it with an old towel or blanket for comfort.
Before settling the puppy for the night, see that it has had enough to eat. Take it outside to relieve itself before you place it in its box. Leave the room quietly—do not make a big fuss about saying goodnight and ignore any protests the puppy makes, however hard it is to do so, or else it will quickly learn that whining is a successful way of attracting attention. If your puppy sleeps in your bedroom for the first few nights, don't be tempted to pick it up whenever it whimpers -- you may not be able to reverse the behavior later on.
Your Puppy Will Need
- A place to eat. Its own feeding and drinking bowls, placed in a quiet corner away from the family dining area.
- A place to sleep. A cardboard box will do, lined with washable bedding and placed in a draft-free corner. If you allow your puppy to sleep on your bed, you'll find it is a hard habit to break.
- A thorough checkup from your vet during the first week.
- A collar and identity tag. Make sure the collar is not too loose or too tight. You will need to replace it as the puppy grows, so an inexpensive nylon one is a good idea.
- A short, strong leash for walking your puppy, and a longer flexible leash for training it to tespond to commands.
- No sudden change of diet in the first week. Follow the breeder's diet sheet at first.
- A safe environment. Remove all potential dangers from your puppy's path. Fence off out-of-bounds areas of your home.
- A playpen or portable indoor kennel if you have to leave it unattended for a short time.
- A variety of safe toys to play with.
My children, who are 7 and 8, are really eager to have a puppy. I'm ready to agree, but am just a little concerned that the puppy might be under my feet all day. Do you have any advice to prevent this?
From the time you bring your puppy home, get it used to having "time-out" sessions on its own: these will give it a chance to relax away from the noise and bustle of family life and encourage it not to demand attention endlessly. Don't make the sessions too long at first, about 15-30 minutes. A puppy playpen that folds up and can be easily moved from room to room and into the car is ideal for this purpose.
Should I let them choose a puppy each from the same litter?
No. Littermates, if kept together, are often poorly socialized to outsiders. They may compete for food and attention, particularly if of the same gender, and will excite each other, making them difficult to train.