Bringing home your little bundle of joy is definitely a lot of fun and excitement, but there’s a lot more of work that goes along with it than play. But with a little preparation and patience you can make your lil’ one comfortable and happy.
First things first, we all know we get very excited to see the cute new family member and the pup is bound to get a lot of attention but it is also important to know that she has left familiar surroundings with a warm, comforting pile of siblings to enter a completely new environment filled with unfamiliar objects and new people and she is obviously vulnerable and impressionable.
Visit to the vet: Take her to a veterinarian for a physical examination. Take your vet’s advice on health, nutrition and grooming needs. It is best to make a list of all your questions pertaining to the little one’s well being.
Puppy proof the house: Before you bring home the pup, puppy proof your house. Do not keep valuable things on the floor or unattended. Also please note the wires or extension boards to be wrapped and kept in a safe place as you never know the pup can bite it off, leading to some medical emergency,” says Sachin Rawte, Canine Behaviourist, Schutzhund/ IPO and KNPV Training Specialist from Mumbai.
Be patient: Just as humans do, puppies have a similar closeness toward their family. “They prefer the safety and comfort of their family’s company, hence can feel uncomfortable in a new environment. Do not be worried if your puppy is scared or apprehensive on the first day,” tells Hrishika Basappa of Anvis Inc, Bengaluru.
Exploration spree: Let her sniff around the house. “On arrival at home, let her get acquainted
with all your family members and the rooms of your home,” says Dr Natasha Couto of Cuddle Pet Shop & Clinic, Mumbai.
Watch her continuously: Keep an eye on her constantly. “Give your puppy space to explore if she wishes, but don’t let her out of your sight for too long. Think of her as you have a child who can’t be left unwatched,” tells Sachin.
Fun with toys: Toss a few squeaky toys and teethers to make her feel more comfortable in her new home, tells Dr Natasha. “They keep her busy, especially if she’s teething and in the mood to sink her teeth into something,” adds Sachin.
Let her sleep: Play with her quietly and gently. Don’t flood her with attention and activity.” If she looks like she wants to sleep or seems to be tired or timid, leave the pup for a while to rest. Puppies need lots of sleep,” advises Sachin.
Give her space: Give your little pup some quality space. Let her do what she wants to do. “As it’s a new place, let her explore around,” says Sachin.
Food facts: Keep your pup on her accustomed food. You would have to consult the breeder or the shop/vet you picked up your pup regarding her diet and feeding schedules. “Do not overfeed the dog as it can upset her stomach which can again put her in little trauma,” advises Sachin.
“It’s fine to switch her to new food in a few days, as long as you do it gradually. Some time on account of separation anxiety, your puppy may refuse to eat the first night,” advises
Fresh drinking water: “Make sure there is easy access to water, as it is important to keep her hydrated,” says Hrishika.
Dealing with separation anxiety: Day one in the new home would be the most frightful day for the puppy since
she has spent all her days surrounded by warm bodies of her mother and siblings. As a result, she may not sleep at all. “Separation anxiety is a normal part of acclimatising to a new home,” says Dr Natasha.
Place to sleep: Importantly keep her close to you but do not allow her to sleep on your bed. “If possible, let the puppy sleep in your room with you. I feel that this lets your puppy feel as though she is part of your pack. The puppy should have her own bed or in a crate if you are crate-training,” advises Sachin.
“Please take care the puppy’s room is cosy,” adds Dr Revathi Gotety of Pet Clinic, Bengaluru.
“The puppy’s bedding should be easily washable. Remember to have a crate proportionate to the puppy’s size” advises Dr Revathi.
“Many experts advise setting up a crate in your bedroom or just outside the open bedroom door. This way you will be able to hear each other in case the pup cries at night. You can make the crate cosy with a blanket and a toy. You should also spread newspaper around the crate so that the puppy can relieve herself outside and not soil the bedding,” adds Sonya Kochhar of Canine Elite, New Delhi.
Making bedtime comfy: You also can put a hot water bag wrapped under the cloth with a small clock wrapped in cloth and keep it in the place where puppy is going to sleep as it will give the warmth to the puppy and ticking of clock will resemble the heartbeat of the litter-mates which he is going to miss for a while. “A good idea is to keep a toy, preferably with the smell of her littermates for the pup to snuggle with,” adds Dr Revathi.
Handling relieving issues: “Take the pup to relieve herself after each meal. After the last meal in the night, play with the pup for some time and allow her to relieve herself at a convenient spot in the house like the terrace/balcony/bathroom or even a strategically placed newspaper. This interaction helps the puppy settle better,” advises Dr Revathi.
“Puppies tend to relieve themselves in small amounts several times, so be patient. Afterwards, reward the pup with a pat and words of praise,” adds Sonya.
Puppy diapers or puppy training pads may also be used for any night calls. In spite of all the measures, be prepared for any untimely and misplaced puddles or dog poop in the room.
“The puppy will wake up several times during the night to relieve herself and will whine and whimper,” adds Dr Natasha. “Sometimes simply talking/cuddling the pup for a few minutes may help allay her loneliness,” further adds Dr Revathi.
“Your puppy will bond best with you when she is surrounded by your scent and knows you are right there. When she wakes you in the middle of the night, which generally means she needs to potty, and you should take her word for it. Take her outside, and wait for her to squat and do her business, and then take her back to her crate, turn out the lights, and go back to sleep. Always remember one thing that dog never likes to mess her own area where she sleeps, she will rather choose another place than her own place,” adds Sachin.
Training tips: “Once the puppy is accustomed to the place, you can reward her with treats after her responding to your calls or given names,” advises Sachin.
Positive reinforcement: Do not, at any cost, yell at your puppy or rush at her if she does something wrong. “You can gently deter her from bad behaviours, but don’t frighten her. Teach her. She’s exploring a new place. The whole world is new to her, and her early experiences make lasting impressions,” advises Sachin.
Introduction to other pets: If you have other pets, introduce your puppy gradually. “If you have other dogs at your home it is advisable to introduce them outside the premises of your house/apartment. Allow the older dogs to sniff the puppy. Allow them to get to know each other. Let the introduction be no longer than 10 minutes,” advises Hrishika. “It’s best to keep kitties and your puppy in separate rooms for a few days,” insists Sachin.
Train the family: Training the family is also very essential. “Make sure all the members of the family understand the rules and routine, such as no sleeping on the bed and no jumping up. This is difficult because everyone will be very excited at the pup’s arrival. Routine is as important for puppies. It’s a key part of creating a secure environment for your new canine member!” advises Sonya.
Always remember bringing home a new puppy is truly one of life’s joys. “Your first day with your puppy marks the beginning of your life together-the beginning of the bonding process that establishes your lifelong relationship with your dog,” concludes Sachin. “The handling of the puppy by the family members in a gentle, patient manner in first few days helps to forge a strong bond of trust and love between them,” adds Dr Revathy.
Good luck, as you are starting on a fantastic journey with your new best friend!
(With inputs from Dr Revathi Gotety, Pet Clinic, Bengaluru; Sonya Kochhar, Canine Elite, New Delhi; Dr Natasha Couto, Cuddle Pet Shop, Mumbai; Hrishika Basappa of Anvis Inc, Bengaluru and Sachin Rawte, Canine Behaviourist, Schutzhund/ IPO and KNPV Training Specialist, Mumbai.)