Getting a new puppy is an exciting time. You will hopefully have already put a lot of thought into whether a puppy is right for you and your family, and put a few things in place to help them adjust. However, you need to remember that, while exciting for you, it can be a stressful time for the dog. You won’t become the best of friends on day one, so it is important to focus on making your adopted pet feel safe and settled before expecting them to come out of their shell. Here are some tips to help you along the way.
Introduce Them to the Children
If you have kids, they will no doubt be thrilled with the thought of having a puppy running around the house, but it is essential that they don’t overcrowd them. You will need to explain to them that the dog needs time to get used to their new home, and any interactions with the puppy should be supervised. To help them get to know each other properly, advise them to sit down on the floor with a treat in their hand and wait for the puppy to come to them. Encourage gentle strokes under the chin and throat rather than the top of their head. Hugging can make the dog feel threatened, and it may escape and hide, bite, or urinate in fear. These are all behaviors you obviously want to avoid. Also, remind them not to disturb the dog when it is sleeping or resting.
Create a Designated Feeding Area
As a puppy is still developing, you need to find the right food to give them all the nutrition they need. There are several different types to choose from including wild food, wet food, and dry food, but it would be a good idea to check with your vet to see what they recommend. Your dog will usually see feeding time as a highlight of their day, and it is also a great chance for them to start to bond with you. However, while dogs usually like to be in on the action when it comes to family activities, it is best not to have their food and water bowl in the middle of the kitchen floor. Kitchens are usually a busy place, and this can make them feel anxious and cause them to gulp down their food, leading to digestive issues. They may also show aggression if anyone comes near them or tries to pet them while they eat.
Ideally, you should find a quiet place for them to eat where they will not be interrupted. However, note that puppies can be messy eaters, so make sure you put their bowl down on an easily wipeable surface.
Prepare for the First Night
Although you may not want your dog to sleep inside at night, it isn’t the best idea to put them outside on day one. Your new puppy is virtually a stranger to your house, and leaving them alone in the dark is likely to cause them distress. They may bark, fret or try to escape. If you don’t want them to sleep in the same room as you, try to find a secure spot such as a garage or laundry room. If you hear them whimper, try not to give in and pet them; dogs naturally want company, and if they cry and you come running, this will reinforce the behavior.
The steps you take when you first bring home a new puppy will ultimately determine the success of the adoption. Take these tips on board to make the transition a smooth one for you and your dog.