Tips For Bringing Home Your New Puppy
Preparing for the arrival of your new puppy
Bringing a puppy home is a big commitment and planning ahead helps to ensure that your home and your family (including other pets) are prepared for the new arrival.
Do you have all your puppy essentials?
- Is your puppy’s sleeping area set up with a comfortable and warm bed?
- Have you set out their eating area with a food and a water bowl?
- If you plan on using a crate, is the crate set up in a warm and dry place?
- Do you have other pets or children? Think about how you plan to introduce your new puppy to them.
- Is your home and yard secure and puppy proof?
What to bring when you go to pick up your new puppy
When you go to pick up your puppy from the breeder, pound or pet shop, you’ll want to bring along a blanket, collar with ID tag, leash, snacks and water as well as cleaning products in case your puppy gets carsick or soils the car.
The overall list of things you might want to bring include:
- Any necessary registration papers filled out in advance to save time.
- A small blanket that the puppy can nestle into to feel more comfortable. (After meeting the breeder, you may want to leave this towel with the puppy’s litter or mother for a while so that it will bear a more familiar and comforting scent).
- A leash and small collar with an ID tag attached containing your name, number and the puppy’s name.
- A little snack and some water in a travel-friendly bowl so that puppy does not go hungry or thirsty in the car, especially if it’s a long drive.
- A towel or paper towels in case they are carsick or soil themselves.
- A puppy-safe chew toy (such as a Kong) to keep them busy during the ride home.
- A crate or dog carrier that the puppy can rest in if they are tired or overwhelmed.
When picking up your puppy it is important to ask the breeder what the puppy is currently being fed on. As it is good to go home with a small quantity of the food they are currently feeding puppy, so that you can mix it in with your own puppy food during the first week. This is important as it helps to avoid the puppy getting an upset stomach from changing their diet to fast. It is also good to get as much advice from the breeder or shelter as possible such as recommendations on any additional products you might need, as well as tips on vaccinations, grooming or anything else you want clarification on.
Bringing your puppy home in the car
Travelling with your puppy in the car is a key time for the two of you to bond. This may be your puppy’s first time travelling, so bear in mind that they may already be feeling a little frightened or anxious from all the new sights, sounds and smells.
To help your puppy have the smoothest car ride home, consider the following:
- Ask a friend to help drive you home so that you can sit in the passenger seat with puppy in your lap and begin bonding straight away!
- Keep the atmosphere quiet and relaxed in the car. Talk softly to the puppy and pet them gently.
- If they become disruptive, set them down at your feet or place them in their crate. If they soil themselves, have cleaning products and towels ready to go. Don’t scold or punish them, as this would only worsen their stress.
- Go straight home. The puppy may be overwhelmed, so try not to make any pit stops or detours to further heighten their anxiety. If you need to stop for food or a toilet break, try to avoid places where other dogs may be as your puppy isn’t yet vaccinated and could be vulnerable to different diseases.
- Finally, try to pick your puppy up on a long weekend, holiday period or when you have a few days off in a row. This gives you more time to bond with them and help them feel at ease in their new surroundings.
Introducing your puppy to other dogs/pets
If you already have other dogs at home, make sure to minimise any territorial conflict before they meet the new puppy.
Put away their favourite toys so there’s no chance of fighting over them, and create separate spaces in the home for both. It’s also a good idea to purchase two separate food/water bowls and place them far apart from each other, since dogs tend to get very territorial over food.
When introducing both for the first time, it’s best to have them on leashes and held by different family members.
Let them get acquainted with each other and have a sniff. If there is aggression, separate and distract them but do not punish - this will cause them to associate the other with negative reinforcement.
Instead, stay positive and treat them every time they exhibit good behaviour; this will help them associate one another with positive rewards and experiences.
Make sure you are supervising the entire interaction closely and remember to remain as calm as possible. They will look to you for how you react; so the more stressed you feel, the more they will sense that!
It's worth noting here that during your first few nights together, your puppy may cry. If this happens, check our post on how to ease your puppy's crying at night.
How to teach your puppy their name
If you haven’t given your puppy a name, try to keep it simple. Short names with one or two syllables are best and easy to use when training your puppy.
For training reasons also, try to stay away from names that are close to commands for your puppy such as “Beau” because this might be confused with the word “No.”