Your first 24 hours with your new puppy will be an emotional roller-coaster. At first, it’s “OMG, A PUPPY! LOOK HOW CUTE!” Then, after the first few accidents and a sleepless night, you’ll be asking yourself: “What the heck did I just do!” The first night with a puppy is “ruff.” But, I promise this period will pass before you know it. So, look past the small hurdles and soak up every minute of puppyhood, because it passes quicker than you know.
Schedule 2-3 Days Off Work
Since taking care of a young puppy requires a lot of time and energy, I definitely recommend being home the first two or three days after his arrival. This will help you and your puppy get acclimated, earn your pup’s trust, and strengthen your bond. If taking time off isn’t possible, maybe you could schedule a few days to work-from-home.
Start Potty Training Right Away
As soon as you arrive home with your new puppy, before you head inside, take him to his designated potty area. When he eliminates, celebrate with lots of verbal praise and treats. It’s all about positive reinforcement!
Typically, puppies aren’t mature enough to control their bladders or bowels until they’re about 16 weeks old. So, if you bring home a 2-3 month-old puppy, do yourself a favor and take potty breaks every hour. While accidents are bound to happen, it’s smart to establish a schedule and start to teach the house rules right away.
Let Them Explore (While Supervised)
Once you’re inside, let your puppy explore his new home. Let him walk on all the different floor surfaces, sniff around, and take it all in. Praise him and offer treats when he seems comfortable. Remember to supervise – don’t let him out of your sight. If he attempts to chew on furniture or do something you don’t like, redirect his attention.
Keep It Low Key
When you first bring home your new puppy, it’s tempting to invite all of your friends over to meet him right away. I get it. But, it’s best to keep the first few days low key. Your puppy is still getting to know you and adjusting to his new environment. At this moment, his whole life is turned upside down and he’s trying to understand what’s happening. Make things as quiet, easy, and safe for him as possible.
Start Using Your Dog’s Name Right Away
During the first few days together, you’ll want to say your puppy’s name a lot! Repeating it over and over is the only way he’s going to learn. Along with randomly saying your puppy’s name, set aside some time for training sessions.
- Start by taking your dog to a quiet area of your home.
- Looking at your dog, say his new name in a positive tone.
- As you do this, reward him with a treat and praise.
- Repeat this process several times.
- Keep training sessions short – just a few minutes.
- Scatter training sessions throughout the day.
After a few name training sessions, start calling your dog by his new name when he isn’t focused on you. Again, use an excited voice! If your pooch responds to the name, immediately give him a treat and praise. If your pup does not pay attention when you call his new name, you can try this step with his leash on. Just wait until he is looking away, call his name, and if he doesn’t respond then lightly tug his leash. Once he responds, give him a treat and praise!
Play, Play, Play
This is the fun part: Spend a lot of time playing with your puppy. Shake and throw his toys and let him run around after them. Not only will your pup have fun and bond with you, but playtime also means they aren’t off somewhere else getting into trouble! Another plus? They’re burning off all that puppy energy. Trust me when I say this: A tired dog = a good dog!
Start Crate Training Right Away
Crates offer a safe and controlled setting when your full attention can’t be on little Fido. And get this: Since dogs are naturally den animals, they actually like confined spaces. So, when introduced properly, the crate will become a secure place for your pooch to rest and relax. A few benefits of crate training your dog:
- Can help speed up potty training
- Can help keep bad habits from forming, like chewing the furniture
- Helps get your puppy into a routine
- Gives your puppy a safe haven during stressful times
- Prepares pets for traveling
The earlier you introduce young Fido to the crate, the better. Check out my guide for How To Crate Train Your Puppy (In 5 Simple Steps) HERE.
During the day, I recommend keeping the crate in your living room or another room where you spend a lot of time. That way your puppy doesn’t feel so isolated. At night, I recommend keeping the crate in your bedroom.
Let Them Take Naps, But Not Too Close to Bedtime
Once puppies play and exert a lot of energy, they immediately crash. It’s actually quite adorable! While naps are great during the day, you’ll want to avoid letting your puppy recharge his internal battery too close to bedtime.
Last Call: Pull Food and Water About 3 Hours Before Bed
Once puppies eat and drink, they need to go to the bathroom. While they won’t be able to make it a full night without eliminating, it’s still a good idea to pull food and water a few hours before they drift off into dreamland.
Wake Up & Take Them Out Every 3-4 Hours
This is brutal — I know. But, it’s important to teach your puppy not to eliminate in the crate. So, to avoid accidents and teach him proper potty habits, set your alarm for every 3-4 hours and take your pup for a quick walk. When you get inside, don’t play. Rather, put him back in the crate and tuck yourself back into bed. Chances are your puppy will cry for a bit. It’s important to let him cry it out. If you tend to the crying by taking him out of the crate, he will associate crying with getting what he wants. Just leave him be, he’ll settle eventually.