Bringing Your New Puppy Home

When parents find out they are going to have a child they make all sorts of
preparations. A room is set aside and possibly the walls are covered with an
appropriate wallpaper or paint, a supply of formula fills the pantry, baby bottles
and diapers are purchased in huge quantities, toys and pacifiers are picked out,
the baby's doctor is selected, etc. You need to make the same preparations for
the puppy, and think about the equipment you will need, the car ride home, and
the puppy's activities, feeding, and health care check-up.

Equipment

Your puppy is going to need a room or at least a place he can call his own, and a
cage or crate will fill this bill. You are better off getting one that is big enough
for him to use as an adult. The pup will need food and water bowls, toys to chew
on and play with, a collar and leash, a bag of a good quality dry puppy food, and
plenty of newspapers or training pads. The bills are starting to add up!

The car ride home

The big day arrives, and it is off to pick up the puppy. Many people worry that
this is a traumatic event for the puppy, but it probably is not as bad as you
might think. Coming home will start out with a car ride from the shelter or
breeder’s home. Try to keep this from being a terrifying experience for the pup.
The main problem dogs have with car rides usually is not what we humans refer
to as motion sickness, but simple anxiety about the vibrations, sounds, and to a
lesser degree, the movement. Many dogs that have developed problems with car
rides get nervous or even nauseous before the engine is even started. It is
important that this first trip not be a bad experience that regresses into a
repetitious behavioral pattern.

Before you leave the kennel, try to get the pup to go to the bathroom so there
are no floods or surprises stimulated by all the excitement or the ride. On this
first trip home, we break a cardinal rule about traveling with pets. We do not
put them in a crate for traveling. Remember, they are small and easy to hold.
Rather, we have someone other than the driver hold the puppy in a blanket or
towel and talk or in some way try to distract him from the ride. If you have a
long way to go and need to stop for the puppy to relieve himself, do not use a
highway rest stop. At his young age, the puppy has very little, if any, protection
from common dog diseases, and these areas can easily be contaminated with the
organisms causing these conditions. We never recommend these facilities for pets
of any age, but if you must use them, wait until your puppy has completed his
vaccination series.

Being with people the first day home

Leaving her mother and littermates will probably bring about some form of
separation anxiety. However, this can be greatly diminished if you plan your
schedules so that you are with the puppy constantly for the first 3 to 4 days.
Some authors suggest leaving the puppy alone and give her time to herself to
adjust to the new surroundings. We disagree. In our homes, we plan for this
introductory period by keeping the puppy involved with plenty of attention from
children and other family members through every one of her waking moments.
When we are not with the puppy, she is eating, sleeping, or going to the
bathroom. You will be amazed how time spent in this manner will speed up the
housebreaking process. If the children are young or are not familiar with how to
handle puppies, you should spend some time with them during these first few days
explaining common sense rules on how to play with the pup.

Feeding the puppy

What, when, and how to feed puppies becomes a major issue on the first day.
Many new owners worry that without his mother’s milk, their pup is going to have
a hard time adjusting to his new home. It is a good idea to continue feeding the
same type and brand of food for at least a few days. Most people are soon
surprised how well puppies make it through this transition because they do not
understand how far along dogs are in their development at 8 weeks of age.