5 Tips for a Great First Night With Your New Puppy

5 Tips for a Great First Night With Your New Puppy

Congratulations! It's finally time to bring your new puppy home! You've researched all the best breeds, picked out a name, and now you're ready for some quality bonding time with your new four-legged pal. The first night together is an important one for both of you. It will be filled with so many firsts: their first walk outside, their first meal in your home, and their very first pee or poo on a pad in the corner of the room (or possibly, somewhere else!).

This is an exciting time, but can also be very stressful. Especially if you're caught off guard. Here are 5 tips that we wish we'd known early on for setting yourself up for an amazing first night with your new puppy.

Make Sure You Have Everything You Need For Your Pup Before Coming Home

Let's face it - in order to properly care for your new pup, you'll need a bunch of stuff before bringing them home. But in the excitement of it all, it can be easy to overlook something important (especially if this is your first puppy). Here are a couple of things you're going to want to make sure you do before the first night:

1. Have A Crate Ready

One of the first things you need to figure out is "where is my puppy going to sleep at night". In most cases, the best option for a puppy is going to be a crate. Crates work so well because dogs are naturally denning animals. And sleeping in a crate at night will give them their own, comfortable spot to call their own.

Pro tip: Try to find a larger crate with a divider that can be used to make the sleeping area smaller. You don't want your puppy to have too much space inside, or else they might think one side of the crate is for sleeping, and one side is for going to the bathroom...

You'll also want to make sure your pup's crate is super cozy, so they're as comfortable as possible. You can buy plushy mats to line the bottom, and snuggly accident-proof blankets that both you and your pup will love.

2. Have A Collar And Leash On Hand To Take Them Outside

During your first night, you're going to need to take them out for a potty break very often. The last thing you want is to realize you don't have a collar or leash handy to do it, so make sure you get these in advance.

3. Get Food, Water Bowls, And Dog Treats

This one is self-explanatory - your new puppy needs to eat and drink! Make sure you check with your breeder or shelter to know what food your puppy has been eating already and do your best to stay consistent.

4. Get Some Fun (And Puppy-Safe) Toys

Nothing makes a new puppy feel at home faster than good old-fashioned play with their new owners. Before bringing your new pup home, take a trip to your local pet store and pick up some fun toys that they can chew on, tug with and enjoy.

You'll also want to avoid getting a toy or bone too big for your pup - it's easy enough (and tempting) when shopping in pet stores!

5. Ready The Pee Pads!

Even if you want to train your pup to go potty outside, you'll likely want some pee pads to keep in their sleeping and play area. These are a great way to keep your carpets clean during the pup's first weeks at home when your pup needs extra potty breaks.

If you're not sure what size pee pads might work best, many pet stores will have some available in different sizes or sell them by weight online so that it'll be easier - just make note of how much space they take up!

Limit Their Access And Exposure

Coming to a new home can be a very stressful experience for a puppy. They're already experiencing so many new things and a big transition to their new life with your family. So if possible, you want to introduce them to your home, new people, new dogs, and new routines slowly.

This will help prevent accidents, keep them from getting overwhelmed or anxious, and let you keep an eye on them so they don't get into mischief. Plus, it will help them be less anxious as they grow up and become an adult.

The Puppy Potty Schedule

To help get your new puppy adjusted to a new setting and routine, it is important for you to stick to a consistent potty schedule. While they're young, puppies can't hold their bladders for much more than 1 hour. So that means that you'll have to take them out at least every 1-2 hours.

(Yes, even at night).

You'll also want to get in the routine of taking them out for a bathroom break every time they make a "transition".

Did they just wake up? Take them out to the bathroom. Did they just eat or drink in the last 20 minutes? Take them out. Are you about to leave the house for a little bit? Take them out. You get it!

Transition time = potty break-time.

Pro Tip: The best way to make sure you stay on top of this is to set a timer. Make it a new process to reset it every time your little guy or gal goes potty, so you always know when you need to take them out next.

Make Sure Your Pup Feels Cozy And Secure In Their Sleeping Area

Chances are, your little guy or girl will be pretty anxious their first few nights. It's okay! But to care for them properly, it's our job to make sure they're as comfortable as possible while also establishing healthy sleeping habits (i.e, crate training).

One of the best ways to do this is to introduce your pup to the crate BEFORE bedtime. You want to make the crate a positive environment for the dog - think of it as a bedroom!

You can do this by giving your pup treats and playing with them in and near the crate. Give them plenty of time to get used to it, and make sure to give them lots of praise there too! After a while, your pup will associate the crate with good things.

Another thing you can do is place a soft blanket and some fun toys in their sleeping area that they can snuggle and play with. A cozy blanket will feel just like a warm body at night time.

Go In With The Right Expectations - It's Not Easy

Becoming puppy parents can be incredibly exciting, but it has its difficult moments. Your pup will probably whine. It might chew on things. It will almost certainly have some accidents. And the reality is, you might have a few sleepless nights.  

This can be frustrating for new owners who might not know how best to work with their pup in these moments - but it's an important part of being a responsible owner!

The key here? Patience!!! It takes time (sometimes weeks) before your pup will get the hang of things. So be patient with yourself and your pup, enjoy all those cute moments (you'll miss them when he/she becomes an adult) - and don't push it on their first night in a new place!

Your puppy's first night is something to be so excited about. You're about to get a wonderful new member of the pack! And if you take these six steps and prepare yourself and your home, both of you will have a much smoother experience.


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