A wriggling, licking, squirming little puppy brings instant joy to your home. However, the first few nights with them can be a tiring experience. Apply the following steps in welcoming your new puppy home to help him/her acclimatise to their new surroundings and establish good habits for the rest of his/her life.
* Be a comforting presence on the first night, but do not establish a pattern of dependency. He/she may cry or whimper as he/she misses his/her mother and siblings or may feel uncomfortable in the new environment. Scolding will only make him/her fear you, while immediately responding to every cry will teach him/her that you will come when he/she makes a noise.
* Establish a safe, warm and comfortable sleeping area for your new puppy. Putting his/her bed next to yours will allow him/her to be reassured by your presence without perceiving that you are giving in to their cries. Consider bundling your puppy snug in a travel crate where he/she will feel safer.
* Bed him/her down with a towel that contains his/her mother’s scent. Draping it over the top of the crate is often effective. The familiar smell will remind him/her of his/her mother and offer comfort. The cover will also mask any distractions and signal that it is bed time.
* Leave a small, soft light on so he/she can see his/her surroundings. Do not set out too much food or water because it may cause him/her to wake in the night to go out.
* Puppy proof your home, just as you would baby proof it. Put chewable objects out of his/her reach; especially electrical cables, drapery cords and potted plants.
* Create safe area for your puppy to play and explore both inside and outside the house. Always leave food and water accessible. Inside, it is best to keep him/her off carpet areas until toilet trained. Select an outside area with fence and shade.
* Housebreak your puppy by establishing a regular schedule. Feed him/her two to three times a day and take him/her out for regular potty breaks if predominantly inside. Praise the puppy when they toilet outside. As he/she potties, describe out loud what he/she is doing and that he/she is doing well. He/she will soon associate words and praise with the activity and then eagerly go potty when you take him/her.
TIPS AND WARNINGS:
* Never hit, kick or slap your puppy hard. These actions exacerbate rather than remedy pet behaviour problems.
* Catch your puppy exhibiting desired behaviours and then praise or reward him/her. If he/she knows they have done something correctly they will be more likely to repeat the action.
* Do not let your new puppy sleep in bed with you unless you plan to allow it for the rest of his/her life.