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16 Apr Introducing your puppy into your home

The day has finally arrived, you are bringing your new puppy home!  It’s a really exciting time but it can be an anxious one for your puppy.  It is probably the first new environment that they have ever encountered, as well as being their first time away from their mother and siblings too.  But there are a number of things you can do to help make this transition easier and ensure that your home is safe and secure for your new bundle of fur.

Puppy-proofing your home

Puppies like to explore, and it is really important that you have taken some time to go through your home and safeguard any potential hazards.

  • Cover electrical sockets and tidy cables – you can keep power cords out of reach either by tucking them away or covering them with some chew proof PVC.
  • Secure cabinets and drawers – Your puppy will want to investigate everything.  If they can get inside, they will! So consider child proof latches and keep harmful foods and cleaning products out of their paws.
  • Put away your clutter – If something smells of you then your dog will naturally gravitate towards it, and they won’t differentiate between your shoes and their favourite chew toy.  Make sure to store bags out of reach, tidy items away daily and consider enclosed storage options for things like blankets and pillows.
  • Remove all small and sharp objects – as a puppy is discovering their new world they are going to do so by getting their teeth into anything and everything.  To prevent them swallowing something they shouldn’t, ensure that items like elastic bands, drawing pins, jewellery, coins or any other indigestible items are placed in containers and drawers.
  • Secure windows, balconies and stairs – puppies are prone to getting themselves into tricky situations, so to prevent them hurting themselves, ensure all windows are locked and consider baby gates so that they don’t have access to balconies or stairs.  It can also be a good idea to put up temporary blockades to stop your dog hiding where they shouldn’t.
  • Don’t forget the garden – if you have a garden then take some time to remove any harmful chemicals such as pesticides and store them in the shed or somewhere your puppy won’t have access.  Get rid of any plants that could be harmful to dogs, and don’t forget to check on any houseplants or flowers too.

Creating a safe space for your puppy

It’s a great idea to create a space in your home that is just for your puppy as it will help them feel secure.  Most puppies will like an enclosed space, like a crate, as it can be a great refuge if anything gets too stressful.  Make sure the space is warm, dry and cozy.  A top tip for helping your puppy settle in is to take home some dog bedding or a blanket from the breeder as it will help to comfort them in the early days.

If you have space it might be useful to create a puppy area.  An enclosed space containing their crate or bed, a potty area, play area and some water.   This kind of setup can help with house training and destructive chewing, and it keeps them safe whilst teaching them that being alone is nothing to worry about.  Then as your puppy matures you can slowly increase the size of the area, to help them transition to having access to the entire house unsupervised when they are an adult.

Introducing family and friends

Let’s face it, once you have brought your new puppy home you are going to want to share how cute they are with everyone you know.  But you need to make sure you introduce your puppy to new people slowly, as it can be really overwhelming and stressful for them.

First of all let the puppy meet everybody one by one.   Focus on bringing the new person into the room and sitting down, encourage them to wait for the puppy to come to them.  Use soothing voices and try and keep that excitement contained, the calmer you are the calmer your puppy will be.  Remember don’t be tempted to rush the process, keep an eye on your dog’s body language, and give them space for rest and sleep when they need it.

Introducing other pets

Dogs are loving and loyal creatures, so it won’t surprise you that they make friends easily and will be excited to get to know your other pets, even if your other pet is a cat!  Understandably you will want them all to get along, which can make the first introduction a bit intimidating.  But there are some simple things you can do to make it as stress free as possible.

  • Keep the setting for introduction neutral – try and find somewhere where there won’t be any territorial issues which could make the introduction trickier.
  • Keep your puppy on a loose lead – this way you can maintain control should things not go to plan.
  • Keep calm – use reassuring words and reward calm behaviour with gentle strokes or perhaps a small treat.  The calmer you are, the calmer they will be.
  • Keep introduction sessions short – it is important to recognise that it may take time for everyone to get used to each other.  Don’t be tempted to force the situation, they will benefit much more from short, frequent sessions than long drawn out ones.

So, get ready for tiny teeth marks on everything, missing shoes and a whole lot of fun, because you are about to bring home your new best friend!

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