Welcoming a new puppy or rescue dog into your home is such an exciting time!
But if you’re doing it for the first time, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed.
Here’s my top tips to get you through your first night in one piece:
1. Bringing them Home
I always aim to take the day off when I’m bringing a new puppy or dog home. That means I can introduce them to the new environment that they’ll be living in, along with meeting the rest of the family across the day rather than all at once.
I also want to begin bonding with my puppy so that they feel safe in their new home, so I’ll probably use some nice training treats/ a fun toy when spending time with them.
Where possible I try and collect my puppy early in the day in order that I can spend time getting to know them before we reach bedtime.
It also means they’re more likely to be tired out from a busy day full of new experiences.
2. Using a Crate
I’m a fan of crate training as it gives me the opportunity to pop a overtired puppy down for a sleep rather than have them start nipping and being over the top because they’ve lost all self control through being exhausted.
I like to use a crate which is big enough for them to turn around in and sit up comfortably in, without being so big that they can sleep in one end and use the other end as a toilet.
For good quality crates at reasonable prices visit: http://www.only-dog-cages.co.uk/
Puppies or new rescue dogs that you don’t know very much about yet, probably shouldn’t be given the most expensive, luxury dog bed that money can buy.
Because their teeth can be very good at destroying material in a very short space of time!
My suggestion is to have left a piece of Vet Bed or old towel with your breeder or rescue centre, so that it picks up the smell of familiar surroundings.
Then pop that in their crate along with some more Vet Bed or old towels – bedding that can be easily washed and won’t break the bank if it gets chewed.
A new puppy is going to be very lonely that first night it’s away from it’s mother and litter mates.
It will be very quiet and spacious for them in their new crate after having to share everything for 7-8 weeks or so!
Some good advice is to prepare a hot water bottle and a ticking clock to replicate the heat and sound of other puppies in the litter.
Even better, here’s a soft toy alternative which provides exactly that – here’s the link you need:
5. Creating a Calm & Comforting Environment
There are a couple of products on the market which I’ve found have worked well in providing a calm and comforting environment.
These two plugins act in much the same way air freshener products work, gently pumping out scents that provide stressed dogs some reassurance and help them calm down.
6. Where to Set Up the Crate
There is conflicting advice about how to handle the first night home.
Traditional advice is to leave puppies where you what them sleep as adult dogs, and let them get on with crying and wailing as they see fit.
The trouble with this is not only the effect on your nerves (and possibly your neighbours!) but also the distress that your puppy suffers too. Whilst that advice can and does work, having tried out a few different ways, here’s how I do it now.
Overnight I will crate my puppy, and for the first few days the crate will be set up on or right up alongside my bed. I usually use a table or chairs to prop it up so that my puppy is at eye-level with me when I go off to sleep.
They feel calmer because they can see and hear me which means they are more likely to settle down quickly, and this becomes their normal routine at bedtime.
In the crate I pop a soft toy/ blanket or similar that smells of mum & litter mates. I also spray some Pet Remedy (see below) on the bedding at least 30 minutes before we head to bed.
I’m led by puppy about when seems like a good time to head to bed, usually a bit later than normal – say 11.00pm onwards.
My pup’s usually lay as close as they can to me alongside the crate, and I don’t usually hear a peep out of them until they start to stir around 7.00am.
The video below are some thoughts of mine after the first night with Impact, my Working Cocker Spaniel puppy.
I gradually move the crate further away from the bed/ to the landing/ final place I wish my dog to sleep, over the course of a few days or weeks depending on my puppy.
Generally it doesn’t take very long, as this approach helps make for a calm and restful bedtime routine.
7. Evening Routine
My evening interactions with my dog are calm and chilled out – nothing too exciting or stimulating.
I stay out in the garden with them until they’ve gone to the toilet, and then bring them in to put them to bed.
If they should need the toilet throughout the night, the beauty of them being right by the bed is that I can get up and take them straight out, thus speeding up the house-training process.
Unlike during the daytime, I don’t make any fuss of them when I get up to take them out – it’s just out to toilet and back to bed.
Only Dog Cages Website: https://www.only-dog-cages.co.uk/
- Good quality crates at a reasonable price
- I love the Ellie-Bo Heavy Duty puppy pen – very versatile both as a pen and setting up as a divider too