Updated: Jul 24
If you're about to get a new puppy, you're not alone! Almost 90% of Americans have owned a dog at some point, making it one of the most popular pets in the country.
But, that doesn't mean it isn't a daunting task. Bringing home your furry friend for the first time will have several challenges that you might feel a little scared about.
Fortunately, many people have been in your shoes before, so there's plenty of new puppy advice out there! To help you, we've put together the top tips for your pup's first night right here.
Read on to find out more.
Puppy Proofing a Home
Before you even get your puppy home, there are a few things you can do to prepare. Invest in puppy pads, a crate, a dog bed, and a soft toy (all of which we'll talk about later). It's also a good idea to remove anything from the main room they'll be in that you don't want peed on, such as rugs, and remove small items from the floor that can be chewed up.
Also, check for any items that could be knocked off of low tables or shelves by wagging tails! Keep your floor clean of any debris your puppy might chew on, too, and keep your bin lids firmly closed.
Get Ready For a Quiet Night
Different types of puppies will respond differently to being brought home for the first time. Some may settle right in and want lots of attention, playing with toys and snuggling on your lap from the moment they pass the door. But, many dogs will be hesitant and scared.
This is a big change for them, and you need to let them dictate how much they interact with you on the first night. It's a great idea to expect a very quiet evening. Don't invite people over to see your puppy and make no plans to go out; instead, hunker down for a peaceful, calm evening.
Take Your Puppy Out to Relieve Themselves
It's a good idea that you start puppy training on the first night by showing your furry friend where they can relieve themselves. Puppies can't hold their urine in for very long, so don't forget to do this when they get home! It's also a good idea to have plenty of puppy pee pads, especially around the door, to get outside in case they don't make it in time.
If you're not sure how to encourage your puppy to relieve themselves, here's what you should do:
Take your puppy outside to the designated spot on a leash
Repeat a phrase such as "get busy" until they go to the toilet
If they don't after 15 minutes, take them inside and try again in 10 minutes
When they do go, be sure to reward them with a treat and praise
Training a puppy isn't easy, but this simple potty training routine can help you to get started.
Puppies as a rule of thumb, can hold their urine for 1 hour for every month they are in age Plus 1. So if you have an 8 week old puppy, the longest you could expect them to hold it would be three hours, but that is a long time. It is better to start taking them out every one and a half to two hours right away to establish a routine. If they drink water they usually need to go within 20 minutes of drinking.
Let Your Puppy Explore
You might want to keep your pup in a small space on their first night, but this isn't necessarily a good idea. Instead, gauge how your puppy is reacting.
If they're inquisitive and want to explore, open the doors to your rooms and let them. Ensure you supervise their exploration but stand back and allow them to take the lead. This will help them to settle in and feel comfortable in their new space.
However, if they're incredibly nervous and don't want to explore at all, keeping them in one room is a great idea. They can get used to this environment first before exploring more and become comfortable with you in a safe area. Don't hassle them but let them come to you when they're ready.
Use a Crate Overnight
Get ready for a lot of whining or crying on your first night at home with your puppy! After lots of time with their mum and siblings, your little one is likely to feel lonely on their first night. To provide them with some comfort and security, make sure you give them a crate to sleep in.
This should have plenty of room for them to move around. Add a bed, a blanket, and a soft toy or two for extra coziness. When you hear your puppy whining, take them outside to relieve themselves and put them straight back in their crate with no treats or playtime.
A key piece of advice for the first night is to not take them to bed with you. Taking them into your bed can encourage separation anxiety and create plenty of overnight troubles in the future! Be strong and make sure your dog sleeps in their crate.
Don't Leave Your New Puppy Alone
Although it's important to set good puppy routines up from the first night, there is one thing you should do: don't leave your dog alone overnight. Don't let them sleep in your bed, but you can keep their crate in your bedroom or sleep next to their crate. Your dog is scared and alone, and a bit of company can do a lot to reduce their stress.
Be patient, too. If your dog is whining all night, don't get annoyed with them. It can be really frustrating, and you may have a sleepless night, but your job now is to take care of your puppy, and that means staying calm for them.
If you want to encourage a stronger bond, you can have their crate set up so it is eye level with your head while you sleep. This also gives them the ability to hear you breathe and smell your breathe during the evening. After a couple days then you can move the crate to the floor.
Bringing a new puppy home for the first time is exciting but also challenging! These tips should help you to have a stress-free night. They'll also help you begin training straight away, which our team at K-9 Culture are big advocates of!
To continue your training, be sure to check out our puppy classes and puppy obedience training. The sooner you start, the better, and it's a great way to bond with your new pal!
Have FUN with your new best friend!
K9 Culture Dog Training
Serving North Texas and the Dallas Metroplex