All Things Dog

When your puppy arrives

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This article tells you how to care for your new puppy during his first few days in your home.

It's best to get your new puppy at a time when you can offer him your company and undivided attention for a few days as he settles in. If you bring him home in the morning, he'll have had time to settle in, feed, play and tire himself out before bedtime.

When your puppy first arrives, let him sniff around and make himself familiar with his surroundings; then introduce him to his bed.

Introducing the puppy into the household must be done with care. This is a difficult and confusing time for him. Your home is full of strange sights, sounds and smells that he may find exciting, but a little overwhelming. He will be missing his mother, brothers and sisters, and will look to you and your family to replace the company, comfort and security he's left behind. Ask the breeder for a piece of bedding that has been in contact with the mother and puppies so the puppy has a smell of home. Do not wash the piece of bedding for at least one week.

Choose a name for him as soon as possible. Be consistent and use it repeatedly as you talk to him - he will soon learn to respond.

Young children in the family need to be taught that puppies are not toys. You will find that your puppy plays vigorously for short spells and then may retire to his bed for an hour or so. Sleep is as important for your puppy as it is for a baby, so do not disturb him when he is resting.

Do not deprive established pets of your attention, or they may become jealous of the new arrival. Make the introductions gradually, on neutral territory and under constant supervision. Never leave a new puppy alone with an older cat or dog. Feed them separately until they have become friends.

For the first few nights, your puppy will probably be restless and whimper when he's left alone. Wrapping a water bottle and a ticking clock in a blanket and placing it in his bed can be very reassuring for a new pup. However, these items shouldn't be made of rubber or plastic or the puppy may chew them.

Above all, be kind, gentle and patient with your puppy during his introduction to your home. Do not scold or speak harshly to him in the first few days even if he is destructive or makes a mess—in his confused state, he may only learn to fear you. This initiation period should be an enjoyable time in which you and your puppy can get to know each other, and he learns to trust you, thus forming the basis for a happy life together.

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