Bringing Your Puppy Home

The information below is only provided as a guide to preparing your home for a new puppy. Every breeder has their own view on how this should be done. Please seek further advise from your animal health carer.

Before You Leave

·         In my opinion the best time to collect your new puppy would be in the morning or early afternoon.  This should allow you plenty of time to get the puppy home and settled before night time.

·         Make sure you have the puppy’s crate (sleeping area) ready for when you get back (with towels or a blanket, chew toy and water bowl); in a place where it will always be. Choose a quiet area where it won’t be disturbed and can easily get to when it needs a nap.

·         It is best to have someone come with you to pick up the puppy.  If necessary ask a family member or a friend to drive you, so you can concentrate on your new addition all the way home.


What To Take

·         Bring a travel crate, with newspapers and old towels or other bedding, to contain the puppy. Do not hold the puppy on your lap when travelling. This is dangerous in the event of a motor vehicle accident.

·         Bring a bowl, bottle of water, carry bags and extra towels or newspapers in case of the puppy having a toileting accident or being sick on the way home.

·         Bring money to pay for the puppy.


What To Ask The Breeder Before You Leave

·         Most breeders will provide you with some food as part of their puppy pack, to get you started. You will need details of what your puppy is currently being feed and when.

·         Information on grooming and general care of the breed, and any other breeder requirements.

·         Details of the puppy's worming schedule, vaccinations, microchip papers, certificates and any other health treatments or procedures it may have received.

·         The puppy’s registration papers. Pedigree puppies in NSW Australia come with full or limited registration. Limited registration means the puppy is not for breeding or showing purposes. This does not mean that the puppy is inferior to its litter mates in anyway. 

·         A receipt for the money you pay.


The Journey Home

·         If you have managed to find a family member or friend to drive, sit near your puppy in its crate or box so that you can reassure and comfort it during the journey.

·         Make sure the car is well ventilated, and that the pup is in the shade. Stop and offer the puppy water during the journey, approximately every 30 minutes; particularly if it is a warm day or there is no air-conditioning in the car.

·         If you do stop, do not let the puppy walk in public areas, where other dogs may have been. Carry the puppy as it may not be fully protected against canine disease yet.

·         Many puppies vomit due to the motion of the car. If the puppy is sick, calmly clean up the mess and replace the bedding. Do not reprimand the puppy or rub its nose in the mess.


Arriving Home

·         When you have arrived home, your puppy will want to stretch its legs and perhaps relieve itself. Take the puppy straight to the area you have chosen as its toilet area, such as the garden.

·         Praise the puppy when it completes its business. It is useful if you use a word for the puppy to associate with such as ‘toilet’ or ‘be quick’, when doing its business. Allow the puppy to continue to run around afterwards for a few minutes before you take it indoors or it may learn that relieving itself is a signal to go back inside and delay the process next time so it can stay out longer!

·         Take the puppy indoors and offer it some water and provide a meal, if it is due for a feed. After feeding take the puppy to the designated toilet area again, and then settle it into its designated sleeping area for a nap.

·         Once the puppy has had a rest, take it to its designated toileting area again. Then it is time to introduce the puppy to other family members.


Children and Pets

·         Ideally, your children should help you choose your new puppy. When you bring the puppy home, don't let the children play with it constantly. Puppies in particular, need a lot of rest just like a growing child.

·         Limit puppy-children play sessions to 15-30 minute periods 2-3 times a day.

·         Wagging tails and play biting can be too rough for some young children. Supervise interaction and separate them if the play is too rough.

·         Young children may be tempted to shout at a puppy if they think the puppy is doing something wrong. Be sure that they understand that puppies and dogs can be easily upset and startled by loud noises.

·         No teasing.  Keeping a toy just out of reach will reinforce bad habits such as jumping up and excessive barking.

·         Teach children to care for a dog by showing them how to feed and groom the puppy


The First Night

Puppies have different personalities and react differently to their first night away from their mother and litter mates. Many puppies will accept their new routine of sleeping in their crate from the first night on. Other puppies may find being alone in a strange house, very upsetting. I have provided some ideas on how to settle your puppy:

·         Take the puppy outside to relieve itself, and then settle it in its crate. To make it extra cosy, place a blanket or a towel over the top of the crate so it is covered over three of the sides, leaving the front uncovered.

·         Place a hot-water bottle filled with warm (not hot) water in its bedding, and cover it well with a towel. A ticking clock in the room may also soothe it, being similar to the sound of a heartbeat.

·         Place your puppy's crate just outside your bedroom door, and make it as comfy as possible with some warm bedding. Close the door of the crate, and then settle into bed yourself. The pup may whine, but it is likely to settle down if it knows you are close by.

·         Resist the temptation to go to the puppy, or take it out of the crate and tuck it into bed with you. The puppy may sleep soundly with you in your bed, but it'll also come to expect first-class treatment every night. When it becomes a fully-grown adult, will you still want to have the dog sleeping in your bed?

·         If your puppy wakes during the night, it is likely to need to relieve itself. Puppies' bladders are small and need emptying frequently. Take it to its toileting area, and do the same thing first thing in the morning.

·         Helping your puppy to avoid accidents will aid its housetraining, and, as it grows, it will be able to hold on for longer - so night-time toilet visits will not last forever.


Other Considerations

·         Treat a young puppy (1-4months) as you would a small infant child, with patience, a gentle hand and constant supervision. The way you interact with your puppy at this young age is an important part of its socialisation.

·         Be alert for signs (sniffing and circling) that indicate that the puppy has to go to the toilet, and then take the puppy to its toileting area immediately.

·         A young puppy has little bladder control and will need to toilet immediately after eating, drinking, sleeping or playing. At night, the puppy will need to relieve itself at least every three hours.

·         Don't punish the puppy after an accident, as this is part of its normal function. Never push its nose in the waste or scold it. The puppy will not understand, and may learn to go to the toilet when you are out of sight.

·         Praise your puppy every time it goes to the toilet in your designated area.

·         Feed your puppy dog food formulated and designed for puppies.  Puppies have different nutritional needs to adult dogs. It is important that a puppy is fed appropriately to support growth and bone structure.