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What Should I Do For My Puppy’s First Day Home?

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My puppy’s first day home was definitely a whirlwind the first time.  The second puppy was no different.  The third puppy was the same…There’s so much excitement every time you bring home a new puppy that whether it’s your first, fifth, or fifteenth puppy you’re so excited you almost forget about all the little things you should be doing on your puppy’s first day home to keep him comfortable.   It’s one of the most common questions I get asked and that is “What Should I Do For My Puppy’s First Day Home?

Golden Retriever Puppy - Apache
Golden Retriever Puppy, Apache's First Day Home

Of course you already handled all the pre-puppy stuff (hint-hint) that we talk about in our picking up your puppy video so we won’t even cover that.  Now you’re wondering what can I do to make my puppy more comfortable that first day.

As I always say every puppy is different, but here are a few pointers from the GDA manual on what we as puppy raisers are told to do on the first day(s) with your new puppy.

Up to this point your puppy has been with its mother and littermates in a comfortable setting.  Therefore, your puppy’s first week at home should be a quiet one.  The puppy should be allowed to explore and meet his new family.  You should now start teaching the puppy his name.  When you first arrive home give your puppy a chance to relieve itself in the area you have designated for that purpose.

Take your puppy out on leash (without his bib on) and repeat “Get Busy”.  (Remember, this maybe the first time your puppy has heard these words).  Allow your puppy 10-15 minutes, if he hasn’t relieved, take him inside.  Try again in 10 minutes.  If the puppy does relieve itself in the proper area, give him lots of praise.  Then let him explore the house (remember to supervise- don’t let him out of your sight).  Afterwards you may take it inside, but remember to supervise the puppy; do not let it out of your sight.  Talk to the puppy when it explores to make it feel more at home.

There’s plenty of great pointers you should take away from this excerpt that will help your new puppy better adjust to his new home environment.

  1. Your puppy’s first day/week should be a quiet one.  This is important for everyone not just puppy raisers because we are so excited to introduce them to everyone and everything, but temper your excitement for now and keep it a quiet first week.
  2. Teach Your Puppy His Name – yep, we wrote an entire article on teaching your puppy his name.  Go check it out! How to Teach Your Puppy His Name
  3. Give your puppy a chance to relieve himself when you first arrive home – It’s important to get your puppy to start relieving in his spot and not in the house.  A good start is to show him his spot when you first arrive home.
  4. Constantly supervise your puppy – make sure you don’t let him out of your sight as he could eat something he’s not supposed to or have a potty accident.
  5. Talk to your puppy to make him feel more at home – you want your puppy to get used to your voice and have it be a soothing sound to him.

There’s a lot going on that on your puppy’s first day home, but you have to remember your puppy has just been pulled away from his mother and littermates, it’s his first time on his own without any of his original family members, he’s only about 8 weeks old, and he’s in an entirely new environment.  Take it easy those first few days.  Get him used to his environment.  You have his entire life to show him off as a proud new puppy parent.  Now that the your got that first day out of the way here comes the hard part: Puppy’s First Night Home!  If you’re not sure what I’m talking about then fast forward to the 2 minute and 29 second mark of our picking up your puppy video.

What about you?  What do you like to do on your puppy’s first day home?  Let us know in the comment section below.

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  1. If possible, rub a blanket or old towel over mama before taking the puppy, so you can put it in his bed with him. Anything you can do to make him feel more secure for the first few days is helpful in the transition. Also find out what food he has been eating and if you’re going to change it, do it gradually.

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