You've got a new addition at home (!!!). Congratulations! Raising a puppy is a totally unique and memorable experience, and also a totally wild ride. If you've never done this before, don't worry. This guide will help you embark on this new journey, from crate training puppy the first night, to your first month together.
What to Prepare in Advance?
● Time off with the dog (two days or so)
● Don't expect to get much sleep
● Someone to help watch your puppy (optional)
● A quiet space
● Food and water bowls
● Puppy food
● Poop bags and bag holder
● Pee Pads
● Crate (for crate training your puppy first night you have him)
● Puppy shampoo
● Rags and towels
● Toys (let the puppy pick if possible. You'll learn the puppy's preference over time)
● Enzymatic cleaner for stains and odors
● 24-hour emergency veterinarian
● Flea & tick medication
● Heartworm medication
● Pet insurance
● Dog trainer
What to Do When You First Get Home
The very first thing you'll want to do with your new puppy is to take him out on his leash. Escort him to a designated potty spot. You’ll want to create routines and expectations immediately.
Spend ten to fifteen minutes in the assigned area. Try to keep him in the general area, but let him explore and sniff. If he does his business, praise him effusively. This is a monumental moment, and your dog will remember it. After approximately ten minutes outside, if he doesn't go, take him to the designated indoor potty area. If he still doesn't potty, you can try out again in about 20 minutes.
The first week for your puppy should be a quiet and intimate time. Cuddle, make sure he's getting lots of affection, physical contact, patience, and love. The puppy will want to roam and learn about his new setting. Make your home a conducive environment for exploration.
Have time off ready to spend with your new puppy. Supervise all exploration, potty breaks, eating, and every moment in between.
Last on the list of first-things-to-do is to begin teaching your puppy his name. Your puppy's name is the initial point of communication between you and him. It all starts with getting your dog's attention. That's what his name should do!
How Long Does It Take For a Puppy to Adjust to a New Home?
The first few days are typically the toughest. Part of learning your puppy is learning yourself. Consistency and the patience required for positive reinforcement are your greatest assets. It may feel that nothing you do is getting through to your puppy, but the consistency of routine along with patience speeds up the training process.
It can take as little as a few days and up to a few weeks for your puppy to adjust to its new home. On average, one week is a realistic prediction. Whether it takes longer or shorter depends on the puppy's temperament, the environment provided, and you.
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Your Puppy's First Feeding
Invest in high-quality puppy food. Puppies require a different diet than adult dogs; primarily, they need more fat intake.
When it comes to feeding your dog, you'll want to establish a routine. The puppy should sit and wait while you prepare the meal.
To keep from having your dog jump up or act like a hungry wild animal at every meal, set the tone from the very start. Use your thumb and hook the puppy's collar. Place the prepared bowl of food a few feet in front of the puppy. Don't let go until the puppy is finally still.
You may want to comply when you see your dog is frustrated, whining, and appears to be suffering. Frustration generally precedes learning. Stay consistent, and know that a well-trained dog is a happier one.
Once your puppy is still, say "OK" or use another command of choice, and release. After you've successfully done this once, you must repeat the effort with every meal. It may seem harsh upon first glance, but in truth, you're making things simpler and easier to understand for the puppy in terms of appropriate behavior.
What About Going to the Bathroom?
Accidents will happen. Instead of shooting for a perfect potty score, it's better to use every opportunity to apply consistency. Get to know your puppy and his habits. That means watching him, very carefully, for at least the first few days.
Puppies can relieve themselves with high frequency, even every 20 minutes, and immediately after meals. Be sure to have a designated area inside. As the puppy explores his surroundings, be ready to pre-empt accidents as best you can.
Special cleaning agents called "enzymatic cleaners" help to remove stains and odors. The enzymes present in urine are detectable by a dog's nose but not ours. Be sure to use these products on accidents because wherever the scent is marks the regular potty-spot.
If you're struggling to potty-train your pup, you can go as far as relocating puppy poop or dabbing urine to the designated area. Generally, when your dog needs to relieve himself, he’ll search for where he went last time.
Where Should My Puppy Sleep the First Night?
A crate (adjustable, or sized to your puppy) is where your dog should spend his first night. Place this nearby to where you sleep so that you can get to him quickly. You'll also want a relatively warm area. Avoid drafty areas.
While we recommend starting with a crate though, stay attuned to your dog’s behaviors and sentiment. At the end of this, you know your puppy best and you’re raising your perfect dog, not someone else’s.
Should I Sleep With My Puppy the First Night?
Probably not! It may be tempting to cuddle the first night with a puppy, but your dog will do best in his crate. Letting your dog into the bed with you before acclimating to the crate is a bad habit, and can cause behavioral issues later on.
Your puppy will likely start whining once in his crate. It's not a pleasant experience (for either of you). Fight the urge, and know that there are some things you can do.
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Should I Crate Train My Puppy the First Night?
Yes, crate training your puppy first, night after night, before letting him curl into the bed covers. But again, you know your puppy best. And if you’re finding crate training really isn’t working (beyond just hating the sound of the crying) then be flexible enough to reassess.
You'll want to make a regular habit of putting your puppy in the crate for at least the first three weeks, but then be open to reassessing if it truly isn’t working for either of you.
How Do You Stop a Puppy From Crying In the Crate the First Night?
The dreaded puppy crying at night is usually one of the first times that many owners make a mistake early in the puppy's development by letting the puppy sleep in the bed. Instead, take him out of the crate. Put him on the leash and bring him to the designated outdoor potty area. Don't give praise unless he relieves himself. Avoid playing, exploring, or giving too much affection. After five minutes, you can take him to the indoor designated potty area. If he still doesn't relieve himself, put him back in the crate.
Again, no treats or playtime should reward whining. A sharp "shhh," or another command, should be used to reprimand your dog for making noise at night.
Another way to help make him more comfortable in his private crate-home is to add a stuffed dog toy, preferably one that is about his size or bigger. This will give him something to snuggle with and act as a security blanket of sorts.
Last on the list of tips for a whining crated puppy is to cover the cage with a blanket. Shutting out all light and making the dog feel enclosed signals to him that he's hidden and that it's night time. His natural instincts will tell him that it's now safe to go to sleep.
How Long Does It Take For a Puppy to Stop Crying at Night?
Puppy-training in the crate can take as little as a few days, but more realistically, the dog will acclimate to his crate in about a month.
The reason why puppies whine is due to a combination of loneliness and survival. They cry and even howl to alert their mother or other members of the pack of their location. Being isolated, for a new pup, is dangerous in the wild.
You can give some attention by taking your dog out to relieve himself, or you can give a light tug on the back of his neck and a "shh" command. This lets your puppy know that you're aware of him, he's not alone, and that it will be okay. Don't engage in too much affection or play. You don't want to send the wrong message that making noise earns a reward.
What to Do the Next Morning
Get up early! Carry, don't walk, your puppy out to the designated potty area immediately. He's less likely to go before he reaches his destination if you're carrying him. When he does relieve himself, make sure to give him lots and lots of praise.
Continue your training with patience and consistency. Remember, your dog really does want to please you all the time.
Getting a new puppy is an exciting time. It takes work. If you make an effort to understand your puppy, you'll be pleasantly surprised along the way. At the end of this, you’re building a lifelong bond. These are general guidelines - you’ll know the lifestyle you’re looking for with your dog. Get to know each other and the small nuances in your relationship. It’s about the two of you.