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Expectations: First Day Home with Your New Puppy

Bringing home a new puppy is a momentous occasion filled with excitement and anticipation. As you prepare to welcome your furry friend into your home, it’ll make you and your newest family member’s lives easier if you're equipped with the knowledge and tools necessary to ensure a smooth transition. 

3 doodle puppies on their hind legs looking at camera

Why don’t we explore what to expect on the first day at home with your new puppy, covering everything from preparing your house to establishing routines and fostering a strong bond?

Utilizing our road map you'll be well-prepared to provide your puppy with the love, care, and support they need to thrive in their new environment.

Preparing Your Home for a New Puppy

Okay, so it starts before day one…

Before your puppy's arrival, it's crucial to create a safe and welcoming environment for them. This involves setting up a designated space where your puppy can feel secure and comfortable. Remove any potential hazards or items that could be harmful, such as electrical cords or small objects that could be swallowed. Consider investing in puppy-proofing tools like gates to restrict access to certain areas of your home.

Additionally, gather all the necessary supplies your puppy will need. This includes puppy-specific food, food and water bowls, a cozy bed or crate, toys for mental stimulation and play, and grooming tools. Having everything prepared beforehand will make the transition smoother for both you and your new furry friend.

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Whether you're adopting from a breeder, shelter, or rescue organization, the first moments with your puppy are crucial for setting the tone of your relationship. Take your time introducing your puppy to their new surroundings, allowing them to explore on their own at their chosen pace. Keep interactions calm and positive, avoiding overwhelming them with too much excitement.

Once your puppy is settled in, provide them with a quiet area where they can rest and feel secure. This could be a crate or a cozy corner of a room. Offer gentle reassurance and let them know they are safe in their new home.

Arrival Day

The big day arrives! Introduce your puppy to their new home with patience and care. Allow them time to explore their surroundings, sniffing and investigating their new environment on their own at their chosen pace. But be present to provide comfort and guidance as they navigate this new experience.

Familiarize your puppy with their family members, including other pets if you have any. Keep interactions calm and positive, allowing your puppy to feel safe and secure in their new surroundings. Offer gentle reassurance and encouragement as they adjust to their new home.

Initial Interactions and Bonding

Speaking of familiarization… Spend time bonding with your puppy through gentle petting, soft-spoken words, and offering treats as positive reinforcement. This will help to build trust and establish a strong bond between you and your new furry friend. Be patient and understanding, allowing your puppy to warm up to you gradually.

Avoid overwhelming your puppy with too much excitement or handling initially. While it's natural to feel excited about bringing home a new puppy, it's essential to keep interactions calm and relaxed to prevent your puppy from feeling stressed or anxious. Take cues from your puppy's body language and adjust your approach accordingly.

Establishing Basic Needs

This may seem a little obvious, but with the chaos of a new puppy at home, it bears repeating.  Make sure to provide them with food, water, and a comfortable resting area where they can feel safe and secure. Set up their food and water bowls in a quiet, designated space, and introduce them to their bed or crate where they can retreat for rest.

Begin establishing a routine for your puppy's daily needs, including feeding times, potty breaks, and rest periods. Consistency is key when it comes to establishing a routine, so try to stick to the same schedule each day to help your puppy feel secure and comfortable in their new environment.

Monitor your puppy's behavior closely during the first day at home and adjust their schedule as needed. Pay attention to cues that indicate they may need to go potty, such as sniffing around or circling, and take them outside to their designated relief area promptly. Similarly, observe their eating and sleeping patterns to ensure they are getting enough nourishment and rest.

Encouraging Positive Associations

We all like a little praise from time to time. Your puppy isn’t any different (except that they might eat that gold star you’ve given them.) 

In addition to potty training, use positive reinforcement to encourage other desirable behaviors such as sitting or coming when called. Offer praise and rewards whenever your puppy displays these behaviors, reinforcing the idea that good behavior is rewarded.

Avoid scolding or punishment when your puppy makes mistakes or exhibits undesirable behaviors. Instead, focus on redirecting their attention to more appropriate activities and providing gentle guidance. Scolding or punishment can create fear and mistrust in your puppy, hindering the bonding process which could potentially lead to behavioral issues down the line.

Managing Stress and Anxiety

It's important to recognize the signs of stress or anxiety in your puppy, such as whining, panting, or pacing. These behaviors may indicate that your puppy is feeling overwhelmed and unsure in their new surroundings.

To help your puppy feel more secure, provide reassurance and comfort in the form of gentle petting, soothing words, and physical affection. Let your puppy know that they are safe and loved in their new home, and reassure them that they are not alone.

Create a calm and quiet space for your puppy to retreat to if they become overwhelmed. This could be a designated area with a comfortable bed or blanket where your puppy can relax and unwind away from any distractions or noise. Encourage your puppy to use this space whenever they need a break from the hustle and bustle of their new environment.

Monitoring Health and Well-being

You wouldn’t leave an infant alone; your puppy needs the same attention. 

Monitor your puppy for any signs of illness or distress, such as lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite. If you notice any concerning symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately for guidance and assistance.

Offer plenty of opportunities for your puppy to drink water and rest as needed throughout the day. Hydration is essential for your puppy's overall health and well-being, especially when stressed or excited. Ensure that fresh water is readily available at all times and encourage your puppy to drink regularly.

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Be prepared to contact a veterinarian if you have any concerns about your puppy's health. Your veterinarian is your best resource for expert advice and guidance on caring for your new puppy, so don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns. It's better to be proactive and address potential health issues early on rather than wait until they become more serious.

Enjoy Your First Day with Your New Puppy

The first day at home with your new puppy marks the beginning of a beautiful journey together. As you navigate the excitement and challenges of this special time, remember to be patient, understanding, and compassionate toward your furry friend. 

By creating a safe and loving environment, providing ample opportunities for socialization, exercise, and rest, and using positive reinforcement techniques in training, you'll set the foundation for a lifelong bond filled with joy, companionship, and unconditional love.

Cherish every moment with your puppy as they grow and learn, and celebrate the milestones and memories you'll create together along the way. Welcome to the wonderful world of puppy parenthood!

Ready to take the first step? Let assist you in arriving at day one with your new puppy pal. If you have a few questions before taking the leap, we can help with that too. 

Jenna and the JLDD Team

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