Adjusting to Your New Puppy

Who can resist a puppy? With their big paws, wagging tales, and adorable faces, puppies are furry bundles of cuteness overload. Adopting a new puppy is an exciting time for the whole family, but it can also be a lot of work. When you are ready to bring your fur baby home, we have some tips to help make the adjustment easier for your new pet.

Here’s what you can do:

Make your pet comfortable with familiar smells

Your puppy is still a baby, and the day you bring him/her home may be the first time away from mom. This might be stressful for the little pup. If possible, bring home a blanket the mother dog has slept on so the baby pup will have her scent nearby as a source of comfort, when needed. He/she may prefer to sleep on this blanket for the familiar smell and sense of safety that mom brings. Also, if you know the date you will be bringing your puppy home, take a piece of clothing that has your scent on it a few weeks ahead of time to help the baby pup become accustomed to your scent. This can help to make the first days at home easier for the little one.

Slowly introduce your puppy to new areas of the home

Make sure your home is puppy-proof before you bring your new pet home. When he/she is finally ready to come home, keep your pet in a particular area of the house, rather than letting him/her run all over the place. Too many rooms, smells, noises, objects, and people can be overstimulating to your pet. Avoid sensory overload. To make your new pet as comfortable as possible, reduce the environmental stressors. Keep your puppy in a designated area with food, water, a comfy bed, and toys. After a few days, you can expand the area to another room. Continue to slowly introduce your pet to new areas of the home, one room at a time, without making the experience too stressful or overwhelming. Avoid the off-limit areas to teach your puppy good behavior.

Gradually introduce your puppy to the family

While the entire family, and perhaps friends and neighbors, may all be excited to meet the new addition to the family, introduction to a large group of people all at once can be very stressful, or even frightening to your fur baby. Introduce your puppy to one or two people at a time, then gradually expand his/her social experiences.

Provide chew toys to help with teething

Young puppies will chew on anything and everything, so it is important to provide appropriate toys in order to avoid him/her chewing on your shoes, furniture, or other possession you prefer to remain undamaged. Plush toys or stuffies should be avoided, as your young pup will likely tear them apart. Also, avoid any toys that may pose a choking hazard. Choose toys that your puppy can chew on to help with teething, like a rubbery squeak toy.

Use a baby gate for safety

To keep your puppy safe, you may want to block off areas of the home with a baby gate for his/her protection. The kitchen and basement are common areas that can pose safety hazards to a curious pup, as there are so many things he/she can get into. You can also use a baby gate when you first bring your new pup home in order to block off particular areas of the house.

Designate a spot for your puppy’s "business"

Designate a spot in the yard for him/her to go, and set up a puppy pad indoors to help with potty training. Training your pup will be easier if he/she becomes accustomed to going to the same place each day. Always praise and reward your puppy after doing his/her "business" in the designated spot or for using the puppy pad.

Your new puppy will bring you many years of joy. Taking a few simple steps to help your pet adjust to his/her new home will be rewarded you with a lifetime of love and loyalty.