Bringing home a new puppy – tips for getting prepared

Bringing home a new puppy: A man with a new puppy in his arms

Photo credit: © / Yarvet

Leaving behind their mother, litter-mates, first human family and only small part of the world they’ve ever seen, there’s no doubt that going to a new home is a major day in a puppy’s life, with potential to be highly stressful.

But not only for them as it’s a life-changing time for you too!

Without preparation, bringing home a new puppy can be a difficult and challenging time, but there are many things you can do to help things run more smoothly.

In this article we discuss:

  • How to prepare for a new puppy
  • How to ready your home in time for their arrival
  • Tips for the journey home
  • Recommendations for when you first arrive
  • What to expect and do in the first 24 hours
  • How things progress from there.

When To Start Training A New Puppy?

A Yellow Lab puppy being trained to give their paw

Photo credit: © / Yarvet

One of the joys of modern, reward-based positive training techniques is you can start to train your puppy at any age because it’s so gentle.

So why not start right away?

Young puppies learn at a phenomenal rate and are eager to do so. Additionally it provides mental stimulation, physical exercise and quickly strengthens the bond between the two of you. It’s extremely fun as well!

So start training your puppy any time after the first 3 or 4 days home, once your puppy has settled in and found their feet.

You may well hear some people saying you should wait a few weeks. You might even hear from some traditional trainers you should wait for 6 months! But if you want to give your puppy the best chance of fitting into this modern human world, starting right away is definitely best.

When Should You Start Training Your Puppy?

When Should You Start Socializing Your Puppy?

Socialization is the process of introducing your puppy to as many sights, smells, sounds, people, children and animals as possible, while making every experience as pleasant as you can.

You do this to teach your puppy to be happy and confident in every environment and in any situation that life can throw at them.

Without socializing your puppy when young, they can grow up lacking confidence and be fearful of certain objects, sounds, people or places. So you can see why it’s a vitally important process?

Socialization for your puppy actually started way before you even got them home, but it’s your duty to carry it on from day one. Yes, right away from day one.

But bear in mind that for the first day or two you don’t have to do much as they’re being socialized to all the new sights, smells and sounds in their new home. You just have to try to make the experiences they’re already having as pleasant as possible.

However, once you’ve had your puppy for a couple of days, you should start on a well planned out program of socialization.

For more detailed information on socialization, please see the following 3 articles:

  1. How to socialize your puppy – From Karen Pryor clicker training
  2. Socializing your puppy – From the ASPCA
  3. The puppy socialization website – An extensive resource with step-by guides, worksheets and even a tracker you can fill in to keep a log of your progress!

Please, really do read them, it’s so important you get socialization right!

When Should You Take Your New Puppy To The Vet?

A labrador puppy being held by a vet in blue

Photo credit: © / Yarvet

You should take your puppy to see the vet within the first week of getting them home, on the 4th or 5th day is ideal, after 7 days at the latest.

However, some breeders require that you take them to the vet within 72 hours as part of your contract for taking the puppy.

They make this part of the agreement so they can learn if there is anything wrong with any of their litter and be able to notify the other puppy owners. So you may have to follow this 72 hour rule.

Now, you might have read some people advise to take your puppy the minute you get them, on the first or very next day. But this isn’t the best advice as you won’t have had a chance to assess their behavior and spot any signs or symptoms of any problems, something your vet will ask you about.

Also, many puppies will have stomach upset after such a drastic change as a move to a new home. This might clear up after a day or two and you (and your vet) will want to know if this is the case.

The reason you take your puppy to the vet within the first week home is so they can check for any birth defects, any hereditary disorders or abnormalities, and any internal or external parasites.

It helps if you take a stool sample along to the first vet visit for this purpose.

Final Thoughts On bringing Home A New Puppy

Bringing home a new puppy is an extremely exciting time, but it does have the potential to be stressful for you and your puppy.

A little preparation before the day goes a long way to making the whole experience as pain-free as possible. So it’s highly recommended you get a lot of little things ready and in place before you go to collect them.

Prepare for the journey home, make sure you have puppy supplies at the ready, decide upon the new house rules and decide on all the puppy care routines so everybody in your home knows who has to do what and when.

Prepare a crate and a ‘safe-zone’ in the form of an enclosed room or an exercise pen so you have some short and long-term confinement options, for house training purposes and to keep your puppy and your home safe when you cannot supervise them.

Finally, study up on and develop house training, crate training, obedience training and socialization programs to begin right away so your puppy can hit the ground running in their new life with you.

Preparing properly for the coming home of your puppy will ease them into their new life as seamlessly as possible and set you both on the road to a fantastic life together.

I hope my new puppy tips have been of some of help!

Further reading:

If you’d like some further reading, I highly recommend this excerpt of a book from ‘TheDogStarDaily’ that covers a puppy’s first days at home, house training, crate training, puppy classes, bite inhibition and much more besides. It’s a long read…but a very good investment of that time!

Raising a puppy – From DogStarDaily

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