There is nothing more exciting than bringing your new fur-ever friend home for the first time, but it can be a lot to take in for you and your puppy. Here are some tips on ways to ease the transition and help your puppy succeed:
Before your Puppy Arrives:
- Removing any hazardous or poisonous materials from your home.
- Storing any valuables out of reach that you do not want your puppy to chew or pee on.
- Getting supplies such as a collar, leash, safe toys, bowls, food, wire crate, etc. (All of these are also available at Lifeline’s store).
What to Expect From Your Puppy:
As happy as your puppy is to be introduced to their new family, keep in mind that coming to a new home can be overwhelming. Every puppy has their own story on how they came to the rescue and while some puppies will be social right away, many others will be shy and take awhile to warm up. There is no set adjustment period for this and it may take some puppies longer to get fully acclimated. Introductions to family members should be done very calmly as well as you will want to avoid over stimulating situations like big parties or pet stores. They will also likely cry during night since it’s many of their first time away from their littermates. Giving your puppy time and patience will help them become more comfortable in their new home.
Introducing to Four-Legged Family Members:
You are always welcome to bring your existing dogs to Lifeline on adoption days to see how they will get along with our puppies; however, if you did not get a chance to do that, there are some ways to help with introductions. One way is taking your dog and new puppy on a walk at a “neutral place” such as a park to avoid territorial behavior. Walking them side-by-side rather than having them meet nose-to-nose is less threatening. Once they get a good sense of one another, you can slowly start introducing them. It is important to give your existing dog and your puppy breaks from one another and keeping play toys and chew bones separate so they get time to themselves and can avoid guarding behavior.
Ways to Help Your Puppy Succeed:
- Crate Training - Crates to us may seem confining, but to puppies who are den animals, crates can be a great way to establish a safe and comforting place for them. Feeding them in their crates will make them love it even more. Crate training also encourages potty training and keeping them from chewing on what they are not supposed to.
- Practice, practice, practice - Keeping a routine is a great way to help your puppy adjust to your schedule and learn good behaviors. If there is a consistency in feeding and potty break routines, this will help teach your puppy the expectations of your personal house rules. This is also a great opportunity for family members to teach responsibility by setting schedules on walks and potty breaks.
Puppy Parent Homework:
- Register your puppy’s microchip
- Schedule your puppy’s free wellness exam
- Research pet-insurance companies and plans
- Find a trainer near you to start puppy classes
Mostly remember to enjoy your new friend and family member and know that even through the tough times, the accidents, and the learning curves, they are so happy that you rescued them and gave them a home.