Getting a puppy is a huge commitment – puppies are babies, so they will interrupt your sleep, require tons of attention and care, and they’ll make big messes. But raising a dog from puppyhood can also be immensely rewarding.
If you are ready to be a parent to a puppy, here are some things to be ready for during the first week.
Remember that up until now, your puppy has been surrounded by his siblings and mother constantly. Now he is in a house full of strangers, with new people, sounds, sights, and smells – so he might be nervous. Don’t worry, you can help your puppy through this with plenty of love, play, and some safe and quiet spaces.
Even though he’s used to eating in a crowd, your puppy will appreciate a quiet place to eat. He needs to feel secure about his food and having people hanging around his bowl might feel threatening. So have family members give him his space when it’s time to eat.
At first, you’ll want to feed him the same food he ate in his previous home. If you’ll be changing his diet, do it gradually to avoid stomach issues. Feeding a high quality dry food 2 or 3 times a day on a regular schedule helps get the puppy into a routine for elimination, which makes it much easier to housetrain, too.
He’ll also need a place that’s all his own for rest time. A dog crate with a nice, soft blanket or bed is a great place to take a nap or to sleep at night. At night he might cry a bit since he’s used to being surrounded by siblings. He can’t smell his mom but he’s getting used to you, so consider putting a t-shirt you’ve worn into his bed with him so he can snuggle up with this now-familiar scent.
When he wakes up, take him for a walk. Exercise is good for him, and he’ll want to explore his new yard or neighborhood. And it’s never too soon to start training – simple tasks like learning to sit provide mental stimulation that puppies find enjoyable.
In between meals, naps, and walks, give him lots of attention. You are his new family and pretty soon, your pup won’t miss his mother and siblings anymore! He’ll grow accustomed to the sight of his new house, the sound of your loving voice, and the smell of his favorite things.
Sure, a puppy is a huge commitment, but if you’re up for the challenge, you will be rewarded with a lifetime of unconditional love.