Bringing home a puppy

Your new puppy may not be excited about going home with you. You’re taking him away from his family and all he’s ever known, which can make for a stressful situation. But, with a little preparation, you can ease his mind and set the tone of your friendship from your first car ride together.

Before you pick him up

If you make a few arrangements before bringing home a new puppy, you’ll be free to focus on what he needs to feel comfortable.

Plan to bring puppy home during a vacation or long weekend

Proper introductions, socialization, and house training take time. You should spend at least two or three days with a new puppy to get him settled in and set a foundation for training. Try to avoid bringing home a puppy during the holidays when guests and festivities make it difficult to give your pup the attention he needs.

Ask a friend to come along

You can have your friend drive while you occupy yourself with your new puppy. It’s also good to have a second person listen to any instructions the breeder has for you. You could miss something in the excitement.

Write down questions

You’ll probably have questions for the breeder or shelter staff when you pick up your puppy, including advice on feeding schedules and general care. Keep a list and take it with you so you don’t forget anything important.

Ask the breeder not to feed puppy the day you bring him home

It’s a common practice that can prevent carsickness, but you should ask in case your breeder forgets.

At the breeder or shelter

Make a morning appointment and show up early

You should spend ten or fifteen minutes playing with your puppy to introduce yourself and let some of the enthusiasm wear off. This is particularly important if the breeder has chosen him for you or you’ve never met the pup.

Collect all the necessary paperwork

There should be an adoption contract and veterinary records. Don’t forget the dog registration papers for purebred puppies and any other documentation the breeder promised.

Request a few days worth of puppy food

Sudden dietary changes can upset your puppy’s stomach or cause him to lose his appetite. You can use the sample to ease his transition to whatever diet you’ve chosen. Also, if you forget to buy puppy food before bringing him home, this will save you a trip to the store.

The car ride home

If this is the puppy’s first trip in a car, the strange sights, sounds, and smells can be frightening. Take some time to let your new puppy get his bearings before you head for home.

Cover your lap and upholstery with a towel or sheet

Even after you’ve taken every precaution, puppies can get carsick so be prepared.

Keep the car ride quiet and relaxed

If your puppy whines or cries, don’t punish him or be overly affectionate. The later will only reinforce the behavior. Pet him softly and let the situation diffuse itself. If your puppy gets too noisy or unruly, set him in the floor at your feet. This area is den-like and the vibrations from the road may soothe him.

For longer trips, stop for bathroom breaks and stretching

Remember to keep your puppy away from areas frequented by other dogs. Until he’s been vaccinated, your puppy is susceptible to numerous diseases. If you plan to bring your puppy home in a crate, have the breeder introduce him to it a few days before you pick him up.

Bringing home a puppy doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience for him. A little preparation can make him feel welcome. Learn how to introduce a new puppy to your house after you arrive.

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