Below are some additional puppy tips to help make your puppy’s transition home a little easier. These puppy tips expand on some of the things you learned earlier to prepare for your puppy’s homecoming. You can read our previous article about Preparing for a Puppy. You can also find further information about these topics in our Training and Puppy Care sections.
First Night Home
Your puppy will understandably have some anxieties about being in a new home, away from his mother, litter mates and the humans that were familiar to him. He may be scared or confused when he realizes they are no longer around. Think of how you would be if all of a sudden you were taken from everything familiar and placed in a strange new world. It would be pretty overwhelming! You may find that he cowers in a corner or that he doesn’t want to be away from you. Your first few nights with him may be a bit trying, but kindness, patience and understanding is extremely important.
Things to Help Separation Anxiety:
- If at all possible, take a blanket or a few soft, plush toys to your breeder before you pick him up, so that they have the smell of mom and his litter mates on them. Give the items to him at night so that he is comforted by the smell.
- Place a hot water bottle and a ticking clock under his bedding. Litters sleep piled together next to mom, so this will replicate their warmth and heartbeats.
- Sleep nearby so that he knows he’s not alone.
- Have a nightlight nearby.
The crate will be your’s and your pup’s best friend during the house training stage. Many people are adverse to getting a crate for their pup because it feels like they are putting him in a cage. On the contrary, dogs like confined spaces. They feel secure when they have an enclosed spot to retreat to. If you’ve spent any time around dogs, you’ll notice that they like to find tight spots to relax in. And you’ll often find dogs napping under stairs, porches, furniture and tables. The crate simulates the wolf den in the wild. You’ll find that once your pup becomes used to the crate, he will retreat to it when he wants to nap, have some alone time, is scared or doesn’t feel well. This is his own personal space.
Buy a crate that will fit your puppy as an adult
Purchase a crate that will be large enough to fit him at his adult size and that comes with a divider. This prevents you from having to spend extra money on several different sizes of crates. Puppies grow very quickly, so he will not be spending much time in a smaller sized crate. Pick one that has an easy to clean tray liner and is durable enough to last puppy’s lifetime. At his largest, you want him to have enough room to be able to stand up, turn around and stretch out. Use the divider to make the crate area smaller, ensuring that he has just enough room to turn around and stretch out.
Use a divider to make the crate fit his size
During the house training period, you do not want to make the space in his crate large enough for him to eliminate in, then still have a spot to sleep. Dogs, by nature, will not eliminate where they sleep if they can at all help it. As puppy grows, move the divider to accommodate his increase in size so that his space remains comfortable for him. Buying a crate with a divider also means that puppy does not have to get used to a brand new crate, reducing anxiety and stress from a change in his environment.
Use old bedding for puppy’s crate
You don’t have to purchase expensive crate liners for your pup. Old blankets, towels and comforters will do the trick to provide comfortable bedding. In fact, until puppy learns not to chew his bedding, it’s probably better that you don’t purchase an expensive liner or else you’ll have to replace it when he uses it as a giant chew toy.
Create a cozy spot for your puppy
Place the crate in an area of the house where puppy can have a comfortable corner, but still be part of the main activity of the house. He will more likely be quiet in his crate if he can still see you and the things that are going on around the house. To increase the coziness of the crate, drape towels or dark sheets across the back of the crate. Then drape another sheet over the top and hanging down the sides. You can use clothespins to help secure the towel or sheet at the back. This blocks out light and will help to make your pup feel more secure in the crate.
During the day, lift up the side of the sheet, so that he has full view of daytime activity. At night, when it’s time for bed, pull the sheet back down over the crate. This signals to your pup that it’s time for sleep and he should lie quietly in his crate.
Keep the crate even after puppy grows up
Once puppy is housebroken, if you can afford the space to keep the crate around, do so. It will be his own room where he can go when he needs some quiet or when he’s not feeling well. You may even find that he sleeps better in the crate than outside of it.
For more tips on using the crate see: Crate Training section in Puppy Training.
Inevitably, your puppy is going to have an accident in the house. It’s just a part of having a new puppy in a new environment. It is important to clean the messes immediately with an enzyme remover, such as Nature’s Miracle. This will remove the smell from all kinds of surfaces. Puppies are encouraged to eliminate where they have gone before. If you only use soap and water to clean the spot, you may not be able to smell it, but your puppy can. Soon you’ll find he’s going on the carpet again.
If he goes on the carpet, blot the spot with paper towel to soak up as much of the pee as possible. Then spray liberally with the enzyme remover. Wait about 5 minutes for it to work, then you can blot up the excess. Wait for it to dry and then vacuum.
As soon as puppy comes home, put his collar on him, so that he gets used to wearing it. Have him wear his collar anytime he is out of his crate. While he is running around the house, periodically attach his leash to the collar so that he gets used to the resistance. This will help with leash training.
Everything is fair game for a puppy to use as a chew toy. If you have furniture that absolutely cannot be chewed, then you may want to be proactive and spray the legs with bitter apple spray. The spray is harmless, but bitter and your pup will not like the taste of it. It will deter him from chewing on anything that it is sprayed on. You will find all kinds of interesting places that puppies like to chew, such as walls, stairs and cupboards. Some pups have been known to chew right through drywall. As you discover places your pup likes to chew, simply spray them to keep puppy away from them.
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