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Your New Puppy: The First Night at Home – Starting Out on the Right Paw from Day One

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Congratulations on your new puppy! As an inquisitive pet parent, you know that the first six months of a dog’s life are of critical importance. Right away, you might be wondering how you can help your sweet new family addition feel more relaxed and at ease. 

Rightfully so. Change can be stressful, and puppies might be especially stressed when they’re first brought home. All at once, they are experiencing new surroundings, new people, and possibly new animal siblings -away from littermates, dog mom and familiar people. As you lay the groundwork for a strong and trusting canine-human bond, let this be your mantra: you can’t reinforce fear or anxiety (because these are emotions, not behaviors). But you can show you care with love and comfort. 

Taj the Inquisitive Puppy

Trust your instincts when it comes to nurturing your furry little bundle of joy. And for added support, trust us when the going gets tough (sorry folks – there will be moments). To help ease the transition for your puppy and your family, we’ve compiled our top tips for new puppy parents:

The Bond:

  • It’s important to allow your new puppy to share and exhibit her feelings. Be patient, listen, observe, and have empathy.
  • Now is a good time to begin studying and learning your new dog’s body language. He or she might vocalize or whimper to express a biologic need or an emotion, while other common forms of canine communication can be more subtle and also vary from dog to dog. 

The Late-Night Wake-Up Calls:

  • It’s best to decide on feeding, sleeping, and potty routines before bringing the puppy home. And then, stick with the plan when possible; and adapt as needed. We, as dog guardians, should be able to adjust our schedules and expectations based on our puppies’ needs. 
  • A puppy might have a change in eating, drinking, and/or elimination patterns indicative of stress or possibly illness, so try to establish a baseline understanding of what’s normal for your dog.
  • Remember that puppies will wake up in the middle of the night and need to go out to the bathroom — this means the guardian needs to take the puppy out! (Much more on house-training in the next installment of this series, so check back soon.) 

The Naps:

  • Keep in mind that young pups need to nap throughout the day. 
  • And they sleep for longer periods, compared to adult dogs. 
  • Sleep is essential to healthy development, so follow our take on the old adage and do let sleeping puppies lie.

New Puppy Feeding Tips:

  • If you plan on feeding your little one partially using interactive food toys, and/or with training games, you can start right away. 
  • A nice way to bond and train is hand-feeding your puppy part of his meal. (Pet parents can do this as part of regular meals at mealtimes, and/or during brief training times.) 
  • It’s best to check with your vet for specific questions about diet and feeding. 

During these precious first moments with your new puppy, sure it’s important to do your best to be patient, consistent and proactive. But the most important task you have right now is to remember to enjoy this fleeting time with your new BFF (that’s Best Fur Friend).  

Here’s to many happy years of unleashing adventures and harnessing fun together!

Up next: Your New Puppy – Training the basics to teach your new companion to eliminate outside, walk calmly on a leash and more.

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