Once you’ve survived the car ride from the breeder or shelter, it’s time to introduce your puppy to his new surroundings. Try to keep visitors or abrupt changes in the environment to a minimum until your puppy is settled in. You want to make your home as relaxed and stress-free as possible.
Start training on arrival
Initial introductions are the perfect time to start building habits for house training and obedience training. The first few days will offer lots of opportunities to praise good behavior and establish you as pack leader. One of the most important things to remember is do not punish your puppy. It’s too soon to discipline for any behavior. Your puppy has no idea what you expect of him and punishing him will only create confusion and stress.
As soon as you bring puppy home, take him to the area you’ve established for bathroom breaks. He’ll probably need to go after the car ride. If he does eliminate, praise him to start the housetraining process on a good note.
When you bring your puppy indoors, let him explore on his own for awhile. If you’ve taken the time to puppy proof your home, he should be safe but keep an eye out. If your puppy gets into something he shouldn’t or chews on an object that’s off-limits, don’t punish him. Simply exchange the object for something you’ve designated as chewable, such as a rawhide or nylon bone.
Whenever your puppy focuses his attention on you, either by looking up at you or following you, say his name cheerfully. This connects his name to paying attention to you and marks you as pack leader, which is extremely important for obedience training.
Puppies, food, and potty breaks
A few hours after introducing your puppy to the house, he should be hungry. Offer him food, preferably the same type used by the breeder or shelter where you adopted him. When he’s finished eating, head straight to the potty area and wait for him to eliminate. If nothing happens in ten minutes or so, take him back inside. If he does go, give him lots of praise.
Most puppies 8-16 weeks old need 3 to 4 meals a day and plenty of clean drinking water. Some dog breeds need more meals while some need less. Cut off all eating and drinking after six o’clock to make sure your puppy doesn’t need to go out after bedtime.
Generally, you should take your puppy outside after each meal, after he wakes up from a nap, and after a long play session. A simple rule to remember is to take your puppy’s age in months and add one to get the number of hours he should be able to wait before going out. So a 2 month old puppy can wait around 3 hours before he has to use the bathroom. Use the same area each time and be patient. If he doesn’t go, bring him back inside. If he does, then praise him. These are the beginning stages of house training.
Your puppy needs to sleep
Your puppy will need a few naps each day. You should establish different areas in your home for different puppy activities including nap times. Create a confined area somewhere close by to keep an eye on him, such as the kitchen or den. If you’re crate training your puppy, put the crate in this area with some comfortable bedding. Don’t force him into his crate. He’ll go in when he’s ready. Check on him often, and when he wakes up take him outside to the soiling area.
Introducing a new puppy to your home is a simple but effective way to start your relationship with him and establish good training habits for the future.
Once you’ve survived the first day, it’ll be time for your first night with puppy. With a little knowledge and patience, you can get through it with no problem.