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Surviving the first 48 hours with your new puppy

How to Survive the First 48 Hours with a New Puppy

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So you’ve read literally all the puppy care manuals, bought all the essentials for a happy pup, and critically analyzed almost every review on all the veterinarians in a 30-kilometer radius…

You’ve totally got this! You feel like an expert already.

Of course, until the day comes when suddenly you have the most precious ball of fluff in existence in your arms and all the knowledge flies out of your head as quick as the first glance.

Who knew puppy-dog eyes could be so adorable and intimidating?

Don’t worry (or fall into a nervous sweat)!

Here’s everything you need to know to survive the first 48 hours with your new best friend:

Getting the puppy comfortable

bringinghomeanewpuppy

Alright, so you’ve made it through the first day like a rock star. You’re feeling a little more confident in your canine-caretaker skills. Yes!

You’re well prepared and have been shopping and ticking all the things off your new puppy check list (below).

New puppy shopping list
New oodle puppy shopping list – everything you’ll need to keep your poodle mix puppy happy and healthy.

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Then suddenly it’s time to wind down for the night, and you eye the puppy crate nervously.

Okay, take a deep breath, then keep these few things in mind.

First, the crate is your friend —- not your enemy. (Recite this a few times, if needed. No shame!) I know putting your tiny pup in there alone can be hard. Like really hard.

But a crate is so important in providing a feeling of security and safety for the puppy, especially after the separation from their mother. Just make sure the puppy crate is in a less active, quieter area of the house.

Secondly, it can also prevent more accidents around the house for you. Win-win for everyone.

However, this article from Richell encourages pet owners to always keep a positive association with the crate. Using the crate as punishment is a big no-no, as you want the crate to feel like a safe space for your puppy. Also, making sure the crate is the right size is important as well. Your puppy should have enough space to lie down and turn around comfortably.

Decking out the interior with a cozy blanket and a favorite toy will also win you some points in their book, for sure.

Your puppy will feel less alone during the night if you have their crate next to your bed. This will also be helpful when your pup needs to go to the toilet during the night. Take them out to the toilet before you go to bed and set an alarm for around 3am or you can wait till they wake you for a toilet break.

When they cry you can put your fingers in the crate to reassure them that they’re not alone.

You’ll be elevated to best (human) friend status in no time.

Puppies get nervous too

new puppy routine

Okay, I know you might be feeling nervous, overall.

It can feel like a lot of pressure to keep something so adorable happy and healthy, so the anxiety can quickly mount.

However, don’t forget that your new puppy is probably feeling pretty anxious too.

Being separated from their littermates, mum, and caretakers can be super upsetting to your little pup. Not only that, but also being in a new environment with people the puppy has literally never seen before can be downright overwhelming.

Crying, barking, or howling (especially when you’re out of sight) can be expected at first. This is especially true for your little pup when crated at night. It’s common for them to be restless when you’re desperately trying to sleep.

The best way to ease your precious fluff’s worries and assure them of how awesome a pet parent you’re going to be is to keep everything cool, quiet, and calm.

Talking to your new puppy with a calm, gentle voice, and keeping the house relatively quiet and stress-free are vital in the early days of your relationship.

When everyone’s telling you, not to comfort your puppy when they cry, keep this in mind: they are having an emotional response, comforting them does not reward the crying. So cuddle, comfort and calm to your hearts content!

The American Kennel Club recommends making sure that everyone in the household spends time with the new puppy. They also encourage, if you have young children, to teach them how to interact gently with their new friend and to supervise their time together.

Remember: take it easy. You’ve got this.

If you’re feeling stressed, your new puppy is stressed. (No pressure, though!)

The “tea” on puppy toilet training

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Consistency – The biggest factor separating the puppies that learn toilet training quickly and those that struggle

Here’s the big question a lot of people get most concerned about:

How in the world do I toilet train my puppy?

Simply? Repetition and praise. Repetition and praise.

If you choose to train your puppy to go outside to do their business, try to take the puppy out as soon as you wake up in the morning and repeat every 30 minutes to an hour, as Fetch recommends.

Also, always take them to the same spot, and praise/treat them when they have a success. On the other hand, don’t yell or get angry with them if there was an “oops” inside. Fear does not build good habits (or relationships!).

Clean up any accidents really well, like really, really well! Use some disinfectant to completely remove the odor and not just for your nose but for your pup’s super sensitive nose too. Not cleaning up after your puppy’s peeing and pooping accidents in the house can confuse your puppy and set back your potty training.

Puppy pad training and a pet grass loo holds the same idea. Frequently bring your puppy to the pee pad or grass toilet (sometimes as often as every 15 minutes if especially young). Success? Praise and repeat.

The last rule to remember? Patience. It’ll take your budding relationship far. (Happy puppies equal a happy life.)

Creating a good routine with your new puppy

survivingthefirst48hourswithanewpuppy
Routine in the early days of bringing your puppy home; helps to increase feelings of optimism and confidence

Being a free-spirit, no-schedule type of person can be a lot of fun for us humans.

For your new puppy? Nope.

Adding structure to your puppy’s day is another element of those “safe” and “secure” feelings that you’re reallywanting to instill in them. Predictability means peace.

Having a daily routine helps them get comfortable with eating schedules, toilet training, and good behavior, in general.

Some important things to include in your puppy’s new routine would be scheduled (frequent) potty breaks, feeding times, as well as times for play, walking, training, and even naps in their crate.

(Did you know that a puppy needs up to 20 hours of sleep a day? Sounds pretty sweet to me.)

It’s easy to spend the first 48 hours with your puppy attached to you like velcro. But start to think about how you’re eventually going to need to leave the house, leaving your puppy alone! It might be hard to imagine in these early hours but the sooner you start preparing your puppy for this time, the smoother that transition will be.

Start to consider how you can encourage your puppy to spend short bursts of time without them having full access to you. We want them to feel like being alone is not such a bad deal and if you’re really masterful with your training, you’ll make sure it’s a damn good deal!

Think about utilising their crate, long lasting chews, green tripe stuffed Kongs, tasty licky mats and access to all of their other favourite things (aside from you, ofcourse). Start small, this will look like you watching tele or sitting at your desk and your puppy enjoying all their creature comforts in their crate. Slowly, start to build on the distance and duration between you and your pup.

Separation anxiety is stressful and it’s a common behaviour problem in dogs, start working on training for independence now. Your pup will thank you for it!

Now, dust off that daily to-do list you try to ignore and start planning…

The importance of the first days

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The vulnerable first days of bringing your new puppy home will be some of the most memorable and the most stressful

There’s a lot to be said about how to be the best pet parent. Everyone has an opinion, and it can certainly feel like a lot of pressure.

However, just remember that these are supposed to be fun days for you too. The puppy days are exciting and should be filled with lots of laughter and tons of adorable pictures maxing out your phone storage.

Taking time to give your puppy a comfortable place to relax and sleep, comforting them in this “new” and “scary” place, becoming a toilet-training master, and a solid routine all help in preventing future problems like social anxiety and aggression.

Work on these few things, and the rest of “pet parenting” will fall into place.

Top 15 commonly asked questions about bringing a new puppy home

whattobringwhenpickingupyournewpuppyfrombreeder
Picking up your puppy from their breeder is a significant step & there are some things you can do to make the process go smoothly

What to bring when you pick up your puppy from the breeder?

Bring your crate for the puppy to travel in while you’re driving.

Put a pee pad on the floor of the crate and a small blanket at the back of the crate that the puppy can snuggle up with.

It’s the safest place for a pup to travel when they are so small and will contain any accidents on their way home.

Remember you can’t pull over to let them out to toilet on the ground; 8 – 12 week old puppies are not fully vaccinated against the deadly parvo-virus.

Coming into contact with soil that contains the virus, can infect your precious puppy. Parvo-virus can live in the soil for 10 years and is spread through the faeces of infected dogs, so you cannot simply avoid faeces, it’s actually in the soil!

A bully stick or other long lasting chew treat can be put in the crate to make the experience a more positive one.

If you’re travelling for more than an hour to collect your puppy; bring some baby wipes, a change of bedding (pee pad and blanket), disinfectant wipes and a plastic bag. This will be helpful if your puppy has a smelly accident in their crate.

Most breeders would ensure that puppies are not fed within the hour or two before a puppy is to travel, however it might be worth reminding the breeder of this.

Bringing a puppy home for the first time – what to expect

Your puppy is likely to cry when they leave their breeder’s home; this is an emotional response and it’s normal and likely to continue for a few days.

Ask the breeder to provide a blanket or toy that has the smells of mum and siblings. These familiar scents will be a source of comfort for your puppy when you bring them home.

Puppies will often be less motivated to eat their meals for a couple of days. This pickiness will subside as they adjust to eating on their own, without the competition of their siblings.  

Questions to ask the breeder when bringing home a new puppy

  • What forms do I need to fill out to transfer the microchip details into my name?
  • Where has the puppy been sleeping and what does their routine look like?
  • What routine is the puppy used to for toilet training? Where is the puppy used to going to the toilet? Grass loo, pee pads, newspaper or outside on the grass?
  • Can I see the puppies vaccination record? When are they due for their next vaccine?
  • When was the puppy last wormed and when are they due for their next treatment?
  • When was the puppy treated for fleas and when are they next due for a treatment?
  • What is included in the puppy pack? Could I please have a toy or blanket with smells of mum and siblings to help my puppy settle in?
  • Are there any commands that you’ve been using and what training have you started and recommend I keep up with?

How do you pick the best puppy from a litter?

The best puppy in a litter will be the one with the traits and temperament that best suits your lifestyle.

Talk to any reputable breeder and they will be able to passionately recall the unique personality of every puppy in the litter.

This will be an invaluable insight for you as a puppy buyer. Armed with this information and knowledge of the parent’s temperaments; (even better if you can meet them in person or see a video of them interacting with people, other dogs etc) you’ll be able to make an informed decision that will guide you toward the best puppy in the litter!

What is the first thing to do when bringing home a puppy?                  

The first thing to do when you bring home your new puppy is to introduce them to the place where you want them to go to the toilet. This might be a grassy part of your backyard, a grass loo on your balcony or a pee-pad in your laundry. You will want to bring your puppy to this place regularly because puppies need to urinate every 20-30 minutes when they’re awake and moving around. Building the foundations of potty training should start immediately and your pup is likely to need to toilet after the car ride home. Don’t be surprised if this takes time. Your puppy will likely be feeling nervous, this might put them off toileting. Stay calm and let them ease into their new environment, rewarding them when they toilet where you want them to.

Where should a puppy sleep the first week?

The first week in their new home will be an emotional time for your puppy. To help with this transition, set up your puppy’s crate or pen by your bed. Keeping your pup close by at bedtime will allow you to reassure them when they cry and to meet their needs for toilet breaks throughout the night.

If your puppy cries, put your fingers through the pen or wire of the crate and speak softly till they settle and eventually go back to sleep.

Should I ignore puppy crying at night? 

When your puppy leaves their mother and siblings, they understandably have an emotional response. This emotional response presents as crying, howling, barking and restlessness. Thankfully, science has taught us that by comforting we are not encouraging a puppy to choose this behaviour to get attention in the future. They are not choosing to cry; this behaviour is a symptom of the emotional response they are having to being in a new environment and feeling alone.

Therefore when your puppy cries at night you should comfort them; have them within your arms reach; by your bed; connect with them by speaking in a soft, calm voice and letting them nuzzle your fingers.

Should I wake my puppy up to pee at night?

Yes, either wait for your puppy to wake you up within 3-4 hours or set an alarm to take your puppy out to the toilet around 2-3am. Your puppy once settled again should be able to hold on till around 6-7am. Whenever your puppy wakes during the night, they will likely need to urinate. Calmly take them out to the toilet, don’t excite your puppy or engage them in any sort of play or interaction. When they toilet, calmly pat them, pick them up and put them back to bed. Playing with your puppy will confuse them and they might start waking during the night to play with you.

Is the first week with a puppy the hardest?

Yes, the first week of having a puppy is generally the hardest. With adolescence being another challenging period in puppy development.

You’re dealing with their emotional response to being removed from the only environment and family they have ever known. You’re also building new routines; toilet training being the most significant and potentially most stressful. You’ll also be sleep deprived from the night-time crying, which will add to the stress and anxiety of the first week. By the second week, most puppies will be sleeping through the night, waking only to toilet and going back to sleep.

How long should a new puppy sleep in your room?

So your puppy has stopped crying during the night, they know you’re there and feel secure and comfortable in their crate. Now you can start to slowly move the crate out of your bedroom and into another quiet area of your house such as the laundry or loungeroom. Moving your puppy out of your bedroom can improve you and your pup’s quality of sleep; you won’t be waking each other when you move around throughout the night.

How do you get through the first night with a new puppy?

Comfort, comfort and more comfort – puppies have a strong emotional response to being removed from their siblings and feeling alone. Don’t expect to get a full night of un-interrupted sleep for a few days. You can help with this transition by keeping their crate close to you and reassuring them by putting your fingers through the crate and speaking in a calm, soft voice. Keeping them comfortable by ensuring they have a toilet break throughout the night, will also help. If all your pup’s needs are met for toilet, food, water, temperature etc – simply comfort them in their crate.

Best time of day to pick up new puppy?

The best time of day to pick up a puppy is in the morning. By collecting your puppy in the morning and ensuring it’s on a day when you’ll be at home, you can introduce them to their space. Show puppy where they are expected to toilet, their water, crate and start to build a strong relationship through play and the promotion of calmness and periods of rest.

Collecting a puppy in the evening, doesn’t allow much time for them to become familiar with their new surroundings. This can increase the stress of the first night for everyone – puppy and owners included.

Organise a vet visit for within the first 72 hours of bringing your new puppy home. Spend some time with your puppy before the vet visit to make notes on anything that you might be concerned about in the way they are behaving, moving, eating, toileting etc.

Long car ride to pick up puppy

For the long car ride to pick up your puppy, there could be potty accidents and you’ll need to make sure your puppy has a safe and secure place to travel; a crate is ideal.

A list of things to bring when you collect your puppy –

  • Baby wipes (to clean up any vomit, poop or pee)
  • 2-3 spare blankets or towels for your puppy to snuggle up to while travelling in their crate. The spares will be handy if you need to change their bedding.
  • A supply of clean pee pads for the bottom of the travel crate
  • Rubbish bags – to dispose of any mess along the way
  • Plastic disposable gloves – for cleaning puppy and their crate. You’ll thank me for this!
  • Travel crate – this will be your pup’s sleeping crate and travel crate. Make sure it’s of a sufficient size that your puppy can stand up, move around and lay down comfortably
  • Long lasting chew – a bully stick or kangaroo tendon for example

You might be surprised that most of the items you’ll need to bring for this long car ride are for cleaning.

If your puppy is between 8 and 12 weeks old, they won’t be fully vaccinated. This means, you won’t be able to put them on the ground to toilet when you take breaks on your long car ride.

Parvo-virus lives in the ground for up to 10 years and can be fatal; it’s the last thing you want to expose your baby puppy to!

How to settle a new puppy at night

With your puppy sleeping next to your bed in their crate; you can simply reach down when they’re unsettled offering your fingers through the holes of the crate for them to lick and nuzzle. Speak calmly and softly to reassure them.

If crying persists, take them for a potty break outside or on their grass loo. Calmly pet your pup when they go to the toilet, do not engage them in play.

Check that their crate is clean and dry. Clean any accidents thoroughly and place a fresh pee pad on the base of the crate and a fresh blanket for bedding if necessary.

Pick up your puppy and place them back in their crate to sleep.

How long does a puppy take to adjust to a new home?

Most puppies will start to adjust to their new home within 1 to 2 weeks.

Be consistent with potty training, periods of rest, play and games based training.

Growing your pup’s life skills such as impulse control, independence, optimism, calmness, confidence, flexibility, place training etc will help them settle in; they are all skills that help dogs adjust to new environments and build resilience to stress.

Conclusion

The first week of bringing your new puppy home will be the hardest. However being organised and checking off all the must have items from our Puppy Shopping list will set you up for success.

The three most important things to get right from the very beginning:

  • Potty training routine – introduce puppy to grass loo, backyard etc. Calmly praise when they toilet there and repeat. Clean up accidents really well; use enzymatic cleaner such as Biozet, this will remove any smelly odours for you and your puppy!
  • Rest, relax and recover – your pup’s crate will help with this. An over-tired puppy can be more mouthy and difficult. Get plenty of rest yourself; sleep when they do.
  • Comfort – have your new puppy sleeping by your bed in their crate. If all their needs have been met (toilet, food, water, temperature etc); put your fingers in the crate to calm them when they cry.

And don’t forget: have fun and make beautiful memories all along the way.

You’re growing your best friend, remember?

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