Your Puppy’s First Day & Night at Home

The First 24 Hours:

The first day your new dog is home with you can be a little odd. After all the anticipation and preparation, your dog is home. Some dogs jump right into the swing of things; others prefer a more reserved approach.

Don’t compare your dog to others you’ve known and don’t worry if he seems too rambunctious, too cautious, or too anything! This is all very new; he’s trying to figure out what’s going on. If he wants to sleep, let him sleep; put him in his crate (or sleep area) with the door open.

At mealtime, put his food in or near his crate and leave him alone for 15 minutes. If he doesn’t touch his food, that’s okay. It’s probably just his nerves! After the meal, give him some water and then walk him outside or to the newspapers.

Ideally, your dog should sleep near you at night, in a large open-topped box or crate by your bedside (one he can’t climb out of). He may whine the first few nights, but he’ll feel a lot safer here than if he’s alone in another room.

If he whines, lay your hand in the box or on the crate. He (and you) may need to get up one to three times during the night to eliminate. Quietly take him to his spot and then back to his enclosure. Don’t start playing games with the dog at 3:00 in the morning unless you like the habit. This topic is covered in more detail in the “Housebreaking” topic.

Puppy Box
Puppy Box

Your puppy can start out sleeping in an open-topped box by your bed so he can be close to you, but under control.

If a bedroom is out of the question, crate him or enclose him in a small area, like a bathroom or kitchen. Turn off the lights, turn on some classical music, and be ready to walk him if he cries. Ahhh, the joys of doggy parenthood!


The Least You Need To Know:

  • First of all, clean up! If you bring your dog into confusion and chaos, he may act accordingly. Prepare the introductory room so when you bring your dog home, he’ll have a place to go to meet the rest of the household.
  • Do some shopping. Get bowls, a collar, leash and tag, some dog food, and bedding.
  • Prepare for the worse possible car ride home in the history of mankind! Most dogs are fine in the car, but some get a little anxious. If your dog messes or cries, avoid disciplining him; it’ll freak him out.
  • Make a pitch to all house members to stay calm when you first come home. If you get too excited, so will your dog. Designate responsibilities and make some rules regarding “people behavior” before you bring the dog home.
  • Your dog won’t feel at home for a couple of weeks. Your dog may be fidgety, hyper, or just too disoriented to follow your plan. Avoid all discipline and try to put yourself in his paws; be patient, understanding, and attentive to his needs. Does this sound like a baby? Now you have the right idea!

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