Bringing home a new puppy is always an exciting moment for any first-time dog owner. However, the first 48 hours with a new puppy can be both overwhelming and confusing for new pup owners. It’s the time when most people begin to ask, “What the hell have I gotten myself into?”
The first few days with a new puppy is often filled with obnoxious puppy behaviors such as whining in the crate, jumping, chewing, biting, and pooping on the carpet and all over the house. It’s important to understand that proper care and training are critical during a puppy’s first few days in a new home. How you treat your puppy now will affect her for the rest of her life.
From managing your new puppy’s destructive tendencies to worrying about socialization and dealing with well-intentioned but often inaccurate advice from friends, family, and YouTube Videos, a new puppy parent can get overwhelmed. So, in this guide, we share some bite-sized puppy information for new owners to get you through the next few months.
Tip 1: Which Dog Breed is Suited for New Dog Owners
Before you even think about raising a new puppy, consider which dog breed is best suited to your lifestyle. Family circumstances, working hours, and your energy levels all play an important role in how smooth you’ll cope with your new family member.
- Can a giant breed fit into my small apartment?
- Will a puppy barking disturb my neighbors?
- Will I manage the feeding requirements for a large breed?
Every dog has unique personalities and characteristics, but different dog breeds have distinct traits, care and grooming needs, and training considerations. Some breeds require a lot of effort and experience to raise, but others are easy to manage and train, making them suited for first-time dog owners.
Overall, here are some great dog breeds to consider as a first-time puppy owner:
Certain small dog breeds are particularly suited to first-time dog owners. They include:
Papillons are extremely loyal, affectionate, and adapt easily to the lives of their new owners. At just about 2 pounds, these dogs are small enough to live with you in an apartment. They only need to exercise for 20-30 minutes a day, and they require minimal grooming since they lack an undercoat. Moreover, papillons are extremely intelligent and relatively easy to train.
#2: Miniature Dachshund
Miniature dachshunds are very short breeds with heights of just about 20 cm (8 inches). However, they make up for their short heights with a great personality. These breeds are extremely intelligent, fun-loving, feisty, and confident around people.
They often get involved in everything going on around them, meaning that they need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation all through the day.
Due to their positive outlet for energy, miniature dachshunds make cheerful, loving companions. On the downside, they hate to be left alone and can get bored and stressed, triggering destructive behaviors like chewing furniture and shoes.
That means that miniature dachshunds may not be suited for people with limited space and time.
#3: Bichon Frise
The Bichon Frise is a petite dog breed that weighs less than 5 kg (11 pounds). They are wonderfully playful, confident, and ever looking to take center stage.
Unlike many small dog breeds, Bichon Frise gets along well with kids, making them an excellent choice for first-time dog owners with families. Bichons are also very intelligent, which makes training a relatively simple proposition.
Moreover, they are easy-going enough to adapt to a new life in a big house, in a small apartment, or in the country.
Bichons are moderately active, so it is best to give them at least 20-30 minutes of exercise a day. Like most dog breeds, bichons often suffer loneliness and separation anxiety when left alone for long.
So, they are suited for families where someone is always around. While they look incredibly cute, they will need regular professional grooming at least every few months.
Medium and Large Breeds
Larger and medium dogs can also be great choices for first-time dog owners. While they typically consume more food, they also require more exercise, which is perfect if you’re looking for a companion to go on long walks with.
Here are some of the best medium-to-large dog breeds for first-time owners:
#1: Golden Retriever
Golden retrievers are widely adored by first-time dog owners, thanks to their gentle, playful nature and simple, natural sense of loyalty and trustworthiness. They are also highly intelligent and always willing to please their owners, making them amiable to training.
Golden retrievers are also good around kids, making them excellent family pets. However, golden retrievers need more exercise – up to 2 hours or more every day.
All that time they spend running outside also means their long coats will require a lot of brushing and grooming to stay in perfect conditions.
Just like golden retrievers, Labradors are considered classic first-time dog breeds, especially for families. They are extremely gently and fun-loving, making them great playmates for kids – and adults as well.
They are quite intelligent and eager to please their owners, which makes training easy even for newbie dog owners. Labradors are equally high-energy dogs and require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation for at least 1 hour a day.
You, however, need to keenly monitor their food consumption since they have a high food drive that could easily trigger obesity later in their lives. In terms of grooming, brushing once a week is adequate for Labradors.
#3: Standard Poodle
If you’re looking for an extremely intelligent dog that adapts quickly to new environments by learning new commands and tricks, then the Standard Poodle is your ultimate choice.
They are also very playful, loving, and loyal, characteristics that make them perfect for first-time dog owners.
Poodles are also a high-energy breed, meaning that they can get bored without plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. Most Poodles require at least two walks every day, and without adequate exercise and stimulation, they can get bored and unhappy.
They are best suited for households where they can get the time and attention they deserve. Their coats also require a lot of care to prevent matting. So, daily brushing is a must, plus professional grooming at least three times every year.
Greyhounds are recognized for their gentle, loving nature. While they often have specific needs, they equally make great first-time pets. What stands out about greyhounds is their sleek, athletic physique.
These breeds are built to run and often require more exercise – at least one short walk in the morning and a longer one in the evening.
Since they are strong dogs with aggressive prey drive, you need to take care when walking a greyhound. Train your greyhound pup as early as possible to safely walk on a leash.
Fortunately, greyhounds are intelligent dogs and will learn quickly when trained with love and patience. With their short, tight coats, grooming a greyhound is extremely simple – you only need to brush their coats once a week to keep them looking at their best.
Several other dog breeds can make great first-time dogs, including mixed-breed dogs, sometimes referred to as “bitsers”. These dogs are often free of the genetic frailties of purebreds, and you can find many options in local shelters and rescue centers.
The major benefit of getting a mixed-breed dog from a rescue center is that the staff will have a good idea of which particular dog will suit a first-time owner and which one can benefit a more experienced hand.
Most rescue center will first assess the behavior and temperament of dogs in experienced short-stay homes before assigning them to a suitable long-term home.
Tip 2: Where to Source a New Puppy
As a first-time dog owner, sourcing your dream dog takes a lot of time and research. Your options include buying privately, using a breeder, or adopting from a rescue shelter.
A responsible breeder will screen the health of the parent dog, raise the litter at home, and train the puppies to socialize with people and other pets at a young age.
Getting a puppy from a rescue center is another great way to get a first-time dog. Moreover, you’ll be giving the little pooch a new home and save his/her life while freeing up a pen to take in another needy four-legger.
Alternatively, you can buy your favorite pup privately from your neighbor or pet owners who wish to give away puppies.
Tip 3: How to Prepare for the Arrival of Your New Puppy
You’ve identified a new pup and fallen in love. The next step is to prepare for the puppy’s arrival beforehand so you can focus on having fun together once they move in. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the arrival of your new furry member of the family:
1. Puppy Proof the Home
If you’ve ever lived with a puppy, you’ll agree that for these furry friends, your home is literally an adventure playground. So, save your belongings and protect your puppy from injuries by puppy-proofing your pad.
Begin by stowing away all chewable objects that your pup can easily swallow. Cover all electrical cables or run them behind furniture where the puppy won’t reach. Block access to any room where pet pee or poop can ruin the carpet.
Before you declare the job done, get down to the floor yourself and look around from a puppy’s perspective, under the sofa and anywhere else you don’t often see when standing upright. It might sound ridiculous, but it’s a great way to ensure nothing is missed out.
2. Register with a Local Vet
Ask around your neighborhood to find a licensed vet you feel comfortable working with. A good vet should be someone who loves animals, owns a modern facility, and has a good reputation in the neighborhood.
It’s also wise to find the location of the nearest pet clinic so you know where to run to in case of an emergency health issue with your pup.
Since you’re most probably bringing in a young puppy, check out with the clinic if they offer puppy shots, deworming, parasite control, as well as desexing.
3. Get Some Lessons about Puppy Care
A puppy information sheet for new owners can’t be complete without mentioning the need to learn vital lessons about puppy care. Take a deliberate step to understand how a puppy thinks and learns to truly care for them.
Seek reputable online resources or join “first-time puppy owners” social media forums. The more you know about your furry friend, the happier both of you will be. Within no time, you will be able to understand if your puppy truly loves you, just by watching their behaviors around you.
Tip 4: New Puppy Owner Checklist
Bringing home a new puppy is a thrilling experience, especially for first-time dog owners. But, if you don’t have everything in place before the puppy arrives, you’ll be scrambling at the last minute to get the stuff you need.
The same way you would shop for a newborn baby, a new puppy comes with an elaborate shopping checklist. Instead of a regular crib, you need a modest dog crate plus essentials such as a bed, feeding bowls, food, collar, and leash.
Here’s a new puppy owner checklist of items you may probably already have in your home, and a few that you should definitely get ahead of time:
a) An appropriately Sized Dog Crate
Dogs are naturally den animals, and they love the security and comfort offered by an appropriately sized crate.
Ideally, a dog crate has three walls and a see-through front gate that allows your pooch to monitor what goes around in his environment.
It’s important to get a crate that’s just the right size for your pup. A dog crate for a puppy should not have too much room to prevent your puppy from having an accident inside.
A properly sized crate allows your pup just enough space to stand up, lie down, and turn around. Be sure to include comfortable bedding that isn’t too soft to be a chew target.
A dog crate will also go a long way in helping with potty training.
b) Wire Playpen
A dog playpen with wire panels can be configured to your desired size or shape. You can also use them to block doorways to rooms that you wish to keep off-limits for your pet.
c) Dog Chew Toys
A new puppy will chew anything she lays her teeth on – including your shoes, throw rugs, and furniture. Make sure you provide plenty of chew toys for your puppy to chew instead.
If you catch her chewing anything, immediately provide a pleasant chew toy to teach her that some stuff aren’t meant for chewing.
Vets recommend that you start with a variety, as different dog breeds and individual pups gravitate toward different toys. In the beginning, it will take some trial and error to figure out the best toys your new puppy likes.
Try out hard rubber busy toys that you can stuff with dog treats or fillings such as peanut butter since they can help keep your puppy occupied throughout the day. More importantly, choose dog toys the puppy can’t swallow
d) Leash and Collar
Introduce your puppy to his leash and collar or harness as early as possible, and get him accustomed to wearing it. Begin by letting him wear the collar in the house before going outside for walks.
Don’t drag your puppy with the leash as he acclimates to the sensation; simply allow him to move at his own pace. Vets often recommend no-choke harnesses for safety reasons.
e) Bitter Apple Spray
However much you puppy-proof your home, there will always be a few items you can’t just move out of puppy’s reach, like your coach.
You can apply bitter apple sprays such as Grannick’s Bitter Apple Deterrent for Dogs to most household items to protect them from your dog’s curious mouth.
Humans can’t smell it, but bitter apple is quite unappealing to dogs.
f) Puppy Food and Bowls
You should feed your puppy about three times a day and provide a bowl of fresh water nearby. Purchase highly-nutritious dog food recommended by your vet or breeder, and use a stainless steel dog bowl to serve the food – steel often collects fewer bacteria over time as compared to plastic.
g) An Enzyme Cleaner
Puppies are still on a learning path and can get into trouble from time to time. Even the best-trained puppy can have a toileting accident at some point, and you should be able to clean it up quickly and eliminate the odor.
Enzyme cleansers such as the Rocco & Roxie Supply Strength Stain and Odor Eliminator will eliminate odors that only your pooch can smell, reducing any reminder that he once went for potty in any particular area of your house.
Avoid any cleaning solution that contains ammonia—the chemical smells like pee to dogs, and dogs are naturally skewed to go for potty where they’ve gone before.
Other essential things you need for a new puppy include:
- Dog bed: If possible, get two dog beds to ensure that there’s always a clean bed to use when the other is washed.
- Cleaning supplies: Disinfectants, disposable paper, and household gloves
- Treats: A critical component of training
- Bowls: Ceramic or stainless steel bowls for food and water
- Brush and comb: To help you with regular grooming so the puppy can get used to it.
Tip 5: New Puppy Training: A Comprehensive Guide for New Puppy Owners
Without proper puppy training, you might easily feel overwhelmed with your new puppy. Excellent doggy manners don’t surface naturally. You must invest your time and energy to teach your new pooch how to behave well.
Ideally, you should bring a new puppy home at around 8 weeks of age. Once you arrive home with your puppy, training should begin immediately to lay a firm foundation for good manners.
Reward-based dog training methods have been proven to work effectively while creating a tighter bond between you and your pooch. The idea is to give your dog a treat when they behave properly, so they’ll strive to repeat that good behavior.
Here are the basic training areas to explore with your new pup:
#1: Prevent Jumping Up from the Start
It’s difficult to resist a puppy jumping up to give you those wet kisses, but it’s critical to establish a “no jumping up to embrace” rule from the beginning.
Resist the temptation to cuddle and hug your puppy when she jumps up. Just ignore her until she has all her four feet on the ground. Once she learns from the very beginning that jumping up does not earn any attention, she will less likely thrust her paws on you as an adult.
For the same reason, don’t allow your puppy to do anything that you wouldn’t want her to do as a full-grown dog, such as jumping on the bed or sofa.
#2: Train against Resource Guarding
It’s critical to teach your puppy from the very beginning to readily accept you coming around his food, toys, chew items, and resting place. Teach your pooch that your presence around his valuables actually means something good for him.
To achieve that, whenever you intrude on your pup’s space or toys, reward him with some treats. That way, your dog won’t act defensive, growl, or bite in such situations as time goes by.
If you take any item away from your puppy, either give him something else more valuable or replace it. You can alternatively give more treats and then return the item you initially took. Your pup will soon learn that you always provide something better in return for letting you near his stuff.
#3: Give your Puppy Some Time Alone
For many first-time dog owners, the first few days are often filled with immense affection from doting family members and friends. Most puppies often revel in all manners of attention and don’t have any inkling that regular, everyday life will be much different.
Avoid the temptation of spending hours on end with your new puppy since as the dog grows up, it won’t be practical to devote as much time as you did at the beginning. Prepare your pooch for the future by allowing regular intervals of separation from people and other pets.
Locking your pup in a crate or pen for a few hours during the day will teach him that having some alone time is part of life, and it will lessen separation anxiety as he grows up.
To help him associate alone times with good things, give him some food puzzles or a stuffed Kong whenever he is alone.
#4: Crate Training a Puppy
Dogs are naturally skewed to live in a den. A crate, just like a den, is a safe haven for your new puppy. Choose a dog crate just large enough for the puppy to lie down with legs outstretched.
If you choose a crate that is too big, they may toilet in one corner and lie on the other. Place a welcoming bed and blanket inside to keep the space warm and cozy.
Read more: How to Crate Train an Adult Dog
Never shut your puppy in a crate against their will. Strive to make it a happy place by hiding delicious treats inside. And when the puppy sniffs out the goodies, be sure to praise them and reward them more.
By feeding your puppy in the crate, they’ll associate it with good things and feel even more comfortable staying inside without being coerced.
Once the puppy is happy to enter and stay inside, close the door. Praise him for being calm and open the door again. Gradually extend how long the door stays closed and heap praise on your puppy’s head.
“If your puppy cries in the crate, don’t let them out of the crate immediately as this rewards their whining. Instead, only open the door when they’re quiet – this shows them that calmness is good and will be rewarded.”
Again, never use a crate to punish your puppy or leave him inside for longer than four hours at a stretch.
#5: Potty Training a Puppy
Another critical aspect that your new pup must learn quickly is the right place to go to the toilet.
To do this, follow the following steps:
- Prevent indoor accidents by providing access ways
- Offer lots of toilet breaks until you learn your pup’s toileting patterns
- Praise and reward your puppy when they ease themselves in the correct place
- Keenly watch your puppy and limit their chances of peeing or pooping indoors. If your puppy squats, immediately whisk them outside. When you can’t watch them, restrain them in the crate.
For a new puppy, vets recommend offering toilet breaks:
- Every 20-30 minutes
- 15 minutes after a meal
- During walks
- Before playing
- At bedtime
When your pup squats on the right toilet spot, repeat the cue word “toilet” and offer your puppy a treat. By repeating this each time your pooch toilets, they’ll quickly link peeing or pooping in the right place to receiving a reward. Simple!
When you first arrive home with your puppy, give him a chance to relieve himself in an area you have specifically designated for that purpose (such as in the gravel area on your patio).
Allow your pooch 10-15 minutes, and if he hasn’t relieved, take him inside the house. Try again in 10 minutes.
If your puppy does relieve himself in the right area, shower him with praise and then let him explore the house (remember to always supervise your puppy – don’t let him out of your sight).
Keep talking to your puppy when he explores your house to make him feel more at home.
As you gain more experience with puppy training, you can even train him to alert you when they need to go potty by pushing a potty training doorbell known as the Mighty Paw Smart Bell.
It takes a little bit of time to train your pooch to use it, but it’s a much better alternative to your dog scratching up your backdoor.
#6: How to Stop a Puppy from Barking
If you live in an apartment, a barking puppy can easily ruin your relationship with your neighbors. Stay out of trouble by teaching your pooch how to behave right from the start.
By shouting down your puppy whenever they bark, you’ll simply be rewarding the bad behavior. If your puppy begins those initial, exploratory barks, simply ignore them.
Once they learn that barking isn’t rewarded, they’ll become less interested in barking.
However, some dog breeds are born barkers. Recognize such behaviors and wait for gaps in the barking to distract them with a squeaky toy.
With a toy in the mouth, they’ll less likely bark. Reward them for carrying the toy around and playing with it. Within no time, your pooch will learn to pick up the toy as opposed to woofing.
Sometimes, even such training might fail to work. If that happens, you can opt for a safe and reliable anti-bark collar for puppies. These collars are designed to send a mild shock to your dog’s neck whenever he barks, causing him to shut down.
Read More: How to Stop a Dog from Whining in the Crate
#7: How to Stop a Puppy from Chewing Your Stuff
All puppies need to chew something. The trick is to find them their own stuff to chew, not yours. There are varieties of puppy chew toys you can get online to keep your pooch busy, hence protecting your shoes, furniture, books, and clothing from their teeth.
#8: Basic Puppy Training Commands
As a new puppy owner, your first challenge should be to learn how to effectively communicate with your pup. Just like a toddler, you don’t want to use long sentences trying to put across your point.
Dogs respond best to short, basic commands such as “Sit”, “Stay”, “Come”, and “Look”. Here is how to instill these commands in your new pooch:
Teach the “sit” command using a treat as a lure. Start by holding the treat in front of your puppy’s nose. Lift the treat in an arc over the pup’s head, and as they follow the goodie, their butt will naturally sink to the floor. As it happens, say “sit” and reward your puppy.
Repeat the process often and the puppy will soon learn what “sit” means and might even do it on their own to convince you to offer a reward.
When teaching the command “stay”, have the pup sit, then wait a few seconds before you give out the reward. Stretch out the time gradually and label the command with the cue word “stay”.
Once your pooch is able to sit still for up to a minute, take one step away then come back to the puppy’s side.
Continually add to the distance between you and your dog, gradually distancing yourself further and further away, while your pet stays put.
Teach your young puppy to “come” by walking or running away from them. This is a great way to triggers their natural instinct to stick by your side.
As your pooch runs to catch up with you, simply say “come” with a warm voice. Praise him and give some treat for obeying the command.
Finally, get your puppy’s attention with his favorite treat. Slowly move the treat in a straight line from his eye line all the way to the bridge of your nose. As your pooch watches the treat, say “look”.
Hold for about 10-15 seconds, praise your pooch, and give him the treat. Extend the time each time before giving the treat to let the command sink in his mind.
#9: Walking Your Puppy on a Leash
You should start leash training your puppy as early as possible. Walk forward with your pooch on a leash and continue enacting the commands we’ve discussed in the previous section.
When your puppy runs far much ahead, change direction, and say the “come” cue word. Walk forward only for as long as your leash remains slack. As soon as your puppy begins to pull, change direction, and call them to come.
This training approach teaches the dog that pulling halts progress and will get them nowhere fast. They’ll learn the trick quicker and obey your commands to help them get to an exciting place such as a dog park, by walking to heel.
It’s always a nice idea to use a retractable dog leash to enable you to practice and perfect the four training commands in the yard or in an open park.
Tip 6: Puppy Feeding Tips
As a first-time dog owner, what to feed and how much to let a puppy eat can be confusing.
In terms of what to feed, always offer puppy food (not adult or senior dog food) to a growing pup. This is often a sensitive area and you may need to consult your vet regularly, especially if your puppy reacts to certain foods.
Your vet may be able to recommend some helpful hypoallergenic pup foods if your puppy develops allergic reactions to regular dog food.
Tip 7: Caring for a Puppy by Breed
Each dog breed has different exercise, feeding, sleep, and coat care requirements. Get expert information on your particular breed to learn how to best raise them.
The main consideration is often the size. For example, large breeds need special puppy food to develop healthy bones and joints. Toy breeds require close monitoring for signs of low blood sugar (may include shaking or drowsiness).
The larger the dog breed, the longer it takes for their skeleton to mature. So, avoid over-exerting a giant breed until they reach the age of 18 months. In contrast, toy breeds can mature from as early as 6-12 months.
If you get a long-coated breed, begin regular brushing from an early age before their coat becomes tangled and unkempt.
Tip 8: Introducing your New Puppy to Other Pets
Introducing a new puppy to your existing pets can be a tricky endeavor, especially if your new pooch is the aggressive type. Do not ever let your puppy chase other pets.
Bringing a New Puppy Home to another Dog
When introducing your puppy to an adult dog, have them meet on neutral ground. When they react calmly, praise your adult dog and offer some treats.
When they arrive home, be sure to provide separate beds, toys, and feeding bowls, and avoid leaving the two unsupervised until they fully accept each other and learn to get along.
Introducing Your Puppy to Cat Friends
If you have a cat at home, simply pop your puppy in his crate and let the cat sniff around him. When both the puppy and cat are free, keep the puppy under control on a dog collar and leash.
Praise the puppy when he ignores the cat. But if he tries to chase the cat, command them to sit and issue the “look” command to distract them from the excitement.
Again, never leave your cat and puppy alone unsupervised.
Introducing Your Puppy to a Small Mammal
When it comes to small mammals such as Rats, Mice, Hamsters, Gerbils, Guinea pigs, or Pygmy hedgehogs, it’s best to assume that your puppy will give chase. Be sure to keep the two separate and continue working on your “sit”, “come”, and “look” commands to take control of your puppy should he show interest in your domesticated small mammal.
Tip 9: Common New Puppy Owner Mistakes
As a new dog owner, failure to apply rules consistently can confuse your puppy. For example, if you don’t want your puppy on the sofa, apply this rule consistently. If you occasionally allow your pup to come up the sofa for cuddles, say on the weekends, it can confuse them more.
Another common potty training mistake is to leave your pooch unattended outdoors. They’re more likely going to spend the day playing instead of concentrating on the job at hand. During the initial training period, focus your puppy’s mind on good behavior and praise them for peeing or pooping in the right place – this helps to strengthen the training.
Tip 10: Raising a Puppy While Working
Just like a small baby, a puppy requires regular bathroom breaks and play. It can be very unfair to leave a puppy alone for more than four hours. If you’re busy at work, it’s advisable to ask a dog walker or friend to come over and give your new pup some playtime and toilet breaks while you’re at work.
Alternatively, you should consider investing in a spacious dog pen to give your puppy more freedom while at work. Place your puppy’s bed on one end of the pen and puppy pads on another. That way, your puppy will comfortably relieve himself in the toilet corner and not soil the bed and feeding area.
Monitor Your Puppy 24/7 with a Dog Surveillance Camera
A pet surveillance camera is a great way to check on your puppy whenever you’re away from home. You can seamlessly see your puppy sleeping, speak to him on a loudspeaker, give treats, or even play laser pointer games to keep him entertained.
A good pet surveillance camera is literally your eyes and ears when you can’t be there.
Tip 11: First Night with New Puppy Tips
Bringing home a new puppy is undoubtedly fun and exciting, but your puppy’s first night at home can be a nightmare. For a first-time dog owner, everything is new…everything is a first!
First things first, you need to understand that up to this point, your puppy has been enjoying the warmth of his mother and his littermates in a sterile environment.
At night, the puppy will definitely feel lonely and will likely demonstrate this by whining. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make the puppy feel more at home and complain less.
And this brings us to tip #12…..
Tip 12: How to Stop a Puppy from Whining at Night
So, things aren’t going all smooth and quiet during your puppy’s first night at home. How to make a puppy stop crying at night will become your top priority – it’s more like having a newborn baby.
Your puppy is experiencing a new, unfamiliar place, and is probably suffering from separation anxiety, especially if he was taken from his mother and siblings.
His only way to communicate his fear and loneliness is through whining. Here are a few tips to help you reduce and eventually eliminate the whining:
#1: Use the Right Crate
To start with, you should use a small crate as your puppy’s sleeping quarters. The Life Stages LS-1624 Single Door Folding Crate is a great option as it features a divider panel that allows you to adjust the size of the crate to suit your puppy.
You can place a blanket over the crate to make it seem cozier.
#2: Place the Crate Next to Your Bed
Secondly, keep the crate in a draft-free area close to your bed. Animal experts believe that keeping your puppy close lets them feel as though they are part of your pack.
During the first night and throughout the first three weeks, if your pup cries, take him out of the crate, on a leash to the relieving area.
Once he relieves himself, put him right back into his crate and avoid giving him any treats or any playtime. After a few minutes, he should go back to sleep.
Under no circumstances should you take the puppy to bed with you. It will form a very undesirable habit that will be almost impossible to reverse.
#3: Give a Stuffed Dog Toy
Experts also recommend giving your puppy a stuffed dog toy to snuggle with during the night. If possible, bring a plush dog toy with you to the breeder and get each of your puppy’s littermates scent on the toy.
When it is time to crate your puppy for the first night, he will snuggle with the toy and feel the scent of his littermates.
If you have no idea about the right plush toys for your puppy’s first night at home, we highly recommend the SmartPetLove Snuggle Puppy Behavioral Aid Toy.
Most puppies love this Snuggle Puppy Toy and it helps your pooch sleep better during his first night in his crate.
#4: Tire Out Your Puppy
Don’t allow your puppy to take a cozy nap on your lap right before bed. During the day, keep him up and active, romping with him to wear him out. If he is ready to lie down and sleep the minute you put him in the crate, then he will be too tired to put up a fuss in the middle of the night.
#5: Limit Water and Food Before Bed
Cut off your puppy’s meals and water intake at least one hour before bedtime. Going to bed on a full stomach and bladder means that he will demand potty breaks more than twice in a night, which can distract your sleep.
Minimize those midnight cries for a potty time by limiting the number of after-dinner sips and snacks.
#6: Use Music to Calm
As surprising as it may sound, playing soft music can actually calm and comfort your puppy during his first night at home. Harp enrichment/therapy for pets can relieve your puppy’s stress levels and make him relax and even fall asleep.
When Crying Continues…
If the worst happens and your new bundle of joy turns into pitiful yelps, whimpers, and wails, do a quick rundown of any possible distress he could be signaling.
A puppy can hold his bladder for about an hour longer than his age (measured in months). This means that a five-month-old pup can hold it for only six hours before he needs a bathroom break.
If the puppy has already relieved himself and still whines, perhaps he just needs a quick soothe for reassurance. A pat on the back and gentle words could suffice. At times, a shake by the scuff coupled with a firm “hush” could work.
So, there is no doubt you can make it through your puppy’s first night home. But remember, just like with newborn babies, consistency and patience is key. Pick a training plan and specific methods of discipline and follow it consistently for the best results.
Feeling Overwhelmed with New Puppy: Overcoming New Puppy Stress Syndrome
Bringing home a new puppy should be an exciting feeling for any first-time dog owner, so why do you feel so awful? It’s not unusual to feel frustration, annoyance, or regret after bringing home a new puppy.
It’s quite okay to ponder over whether or not your puppy is a good fit for your household, or if you should return him to the rescue or ask a friend or family member to re-home him.
The truth is, most first-time dog owners don’t fall in love with their pups right away. It takes a few weeks, sometimes even months, for the chaos to die down. Your new puppy will take time to adapt to your household and allow you to fall back to your comfortable routine again.
By the time your pup is a year old, they’ll likely be properly housetrained, and they’ll no longer be destructive. Over time, you probably won’t be able to imagine life without your furry friend.
But you don’t have to feel helpless whenever you face the new puppy stress syndrome. There are numerous things you can do to soothe the new puppy blues.
Puppy Problems Will Pass Over Time
Does your puppy bite your fingers or heel whenever you play? Is potty training taking forever? Does he chew on everything in your house, including your favorite shoes?
Most of these puppy issues can be annoying and frustrating, but the good news is that they don’t last forever. While most training methods might seem not to yield results as fast as you would wish, your puppy will eventually get the idea.
Remember, he is just a puppy – a baby. Your puppy does not misbehave to spite you. They simply have short attention spans and are experiencing everything for the first time.
The worst mistake you can make is to take action out of anger or frustration. Spanking, shouting, or angrily locking your puppy in a crate for a “time out,” can all trigger fear-based behavioral issues down the road.
Don’t expect too much, too soon from your puppy. When something doesn’t seem to work, take the time to re-examine your training approach, take a few steps back, and begin afresh.
Get Help From A Professional
As a new puppy owner, you can read hundreds of puppy books and online materials to get ideas on how to best raise your new family member, but nothing beats the aspect of having customized, in-person help from a professional dog trainer.
Modern dog trainers apply behavioral science to pick up on pet communication issues and natural processes that could be triggering your puppy’s unpleasant behaviors.
They often use rewards to modify your pup’s good behaviors and actually help you learn to communicate with your puppy more effectively.
Check with your local vet or get recommendations from close family members or friends with dogs to find trainers who use modern, reward-based training programs. You could also sign up for board-and-train and daycare-and-train programs to enhance success in your training efforts.
When to Rehome Your Puppy
Sometimes, your new puppy simply isn’t the right match for you and your household. This can happen to any pet owner, so it’s not your fault.
If you feel overwhelmed with your new puppy and feel that you must rehome him or return him to the breeder or shelter, do so as soon as you can. The younger the puppy is, the easier it will be for her to get a new home.
Generally, here are some reasons you should seriously consider rehoming your new puppy:
- Incompatibility with your kids – If there is a serious risk of your kids or your puppy getting injured due to unpleasant relationships, you may need to rehome your puppy. Occasional nipping during playtime is pretty normal and your pup will grow out of it, but if your pooch shows real signs of aggression or your kids find it hard to learn how to respect and love the puppy, it’s best to rehome the puppy before serious bites occur.
- Incompatibility with other pets – When you bring home a new puppy, your older cats and dogs may initially find it difficult to adjust. But if there is a chance that your puppy could kill your cat or your older dog could tear apart your puppy, it is only humane to separate them by rehoming your new puppy.
- Lack of time – If you truly don’t have adequate time to devote to your puppy, even the help of daycare or training programs may not help. There is no shortcut to raising dogs, so it could be better to just rehome your pup.
How To Safely Rehome Your Puppy
Most first-time dog owners often acquire their puppies from a shelter or breeder. If that’s the case with your new pooch, you may have signed a contract that highlights what you should do if you have to rehome the puppy.
If you’re not sure about the procedure, give them a call to seek clarification. It is possible that you are not permitted by law to rehome the puppy on your own. Most breeders would rather have the puppy back if you are not able to keep them.
If your breeder or shelter cannot take back the puppy, you will have to find an alternative to rehome them, but you must do it right. Avoid looking for new homes on local Facebook groups, Craiglist, or newspaper classifieds.
These social platforms are notorious for attracting all kinds of shady buyers. Some people usually buy cheap dogs to use in inhumane backyard breeding businesses, flip puppies for a profit, or use them as bait for illegal dog fighting competitions.
You can always contact your vet, who might have another client looking for a puppy like yours. They may also recommend no-kill shelters and rescues in your locality.
Shelters and rescue centers usually have a network of potential dog adopters and have protocols to ensure that puppies end up in good homes.
New Puppy Owners FAQs
Should first time dog owners get a puppy?
Just because you’re adopting a dog for the first time doesn’t mean you have to take a puppy. There are lots of adult dogs in need of loving, forever homes, and one of them might be the perfect fit for you!
Take your time to evaluate your lifestyle, patience, and activity level before adopting a dog regardless of age.
Can I leave my new puppy alone with my dog?
Leaving your puppy unsupervised with your other dog isn’t recommended within the first few days. Just like humans, dogs take time to learn each other and get along.
If you must leave your new puppy with your other dog, have someone watch over them to ensure nothing goes awful.
How long does it take for a puppy to adjust to a new owner?
Generally speaking, it takes about three weeks for a new dog or puppy to start feeling ‘at home’ and to exhibit their true nature. However, some dog breeds can adjust much faster depending on how favorable the new environment is and how friendly you are.
Will my dog be okay with a new puppy?
Your existing dog should come inside off-leash, but the new puppy or dog should be left on his lead and given the freedom to explore the house room by room.
Over the first one to two weeks, keenly watch the interactions between the dogs, and don’t leave them alone together until you are sure they feel comfortable with each other.
Consistency is key if you want to raise up a well-mannered dog, and that applies not just to you and your household, but to everyone who comes into contact with your new puppy. And more often, people are much more difficult to control than your puppy, so be sure to create a favorable atmosphere for your puppy to learn.
More importantly, don’t wait for too long to get your pup started on training basics! From our experience, we often see issues when dogs get much older, and by then the naughty behaviors have been strongly reinforced and become almost impossible to get under control.
Begin puppy training basic as early as the first day at home and consistently work on them to have a well-behaved pooch that will be the pride of your family.
If you have any experiences as a first-time puppy owner, be sure to share them in the comment box below. You never know; you could help someone struggling with a similar issue!