Welcoming a new puppy or rescue dog into your home is such an exciting time! But if you're doing it for the first time, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. Here's my top tips to get you through your first night in one piece:
- Bringing them Home
I always aim to take the day off when I'm bringing a new puppy or dog home. That means I can introduce them to the new environment that they'll be living in, along with meeting the rest of the family across the day rather than all at once.I also want to begin bonding with my puppy so that they feel safe in their new home, so I'll probably use some nice training treats/ a fun toy when spending time with them.
- Using a Crate
I'm a fan of crate training as it gives me the opportunity to pop a overtired puppy down for a sleep rather than have them start nipping and being over the top because they've lost all self control through being exhausted.I like to use a crate which is big enough for them to turn around in and sit up comfortably in, without being so big that they can sleep in one end and use the other end as a toilet.
For good quality crates at reasonable prices visit: http://www.only-dog-cages.co.uk/
There is also some excellent information and advice to be found on the Labrador Training HQ website - click here for further info on crate training.
Puppies or new rescue dogs that you don't know very much about yet, probably shouldn't be given the most expensive, luxury dog bed that money can buy. Why? Because their teeth can be very good at destroying material in a very short space of time!My suggestion is to have left a piece of Vet Bed or old towel with your breeder or rescue centre, so that it picks up the smell of familiar surroundings. Then pop that in their crate along with some more Vet Bed or old towels - bedding that can be easily washed and won't break the bank if it gets chewed.
A new puppy is going to be very lonely that first night it's away from it's mother and litter mates. It will be very quiet and spacious for them in their new crate after having to share everything for 7-8 weeks or so!Some good advice is to prepare a hot water bottle and a ticking clock to replicate the heat and sound of other puppies in the litter. Even better, here's a soft toy alternative which provides exactly that - here's the link you need:
- Creating a Calm & Comforting Environment
There are a couple of products on the market which I've found have worked well in providing a calm and comforting environment. These two plugins act in much the same way air freshener products work, gently pumping out scents that provide stressed dogs some reassurance and help them calm down.Adaptil
- Where to Set Up the Crate
Traditional advice is to leave puppies where you what them sleep as adult dogs, and let them get on with crying and wailing as they see fit. The trouble with this is not only the effect on your nerves (and possibly your neighbours!) but also the distress that your puppy suffers too.Whilst that advice can and does work, I prefer a friendly way of dealing with my new dog's first night. So I set up my crate on some chairs next to my bed, so that when my puppy is safely enclosed they can see me as they fall asleep. They feel calmer because they can see and hear me which means they are more likely to settle down quickly, and this becomes their normal routine at bedtime.
I gradually move the crate towards the final place I wish my dog to sleep, over the course of a few days or weeks depending on my puppy. Generally it doesn't take very long, as this approach helps make for a calm and restful bedtime routine.
- Evening Routine
My evening interactions with my dog are calm and chilled out - nothing too exciting or stimulating. I stay out in the garden with them until they've gone to the toilet, and then bring them in to put them to bed.If they should need the toilet throughout the night, the beauty of them being right by the bed is that I can get up and take them straight out, thus speeding up the house-training process. Unlike during the daytime, I don't make any fuss of them when I get up to take them out - it's just out to toilet and back to bed.