Your puppy’s first night home with you is quite a change for her. She is probably used to being with her littermates and her mom. Be prepared for some apprehension from your puppy. Meanwhile, you can make the transition as smooth as possible.
A Puppy Area
When you bring your puppy home, let her explore her surroundings. Show her the area you have set up for her. Ideal areas could be the laundry room, kitchen, bathroom or hallway. The area should include a crate that allows the puppy to see out. Also include food and water bowls, a blanket and toys. This spot will ideally remain her area in the home. It’s less disruptive to have your puppy stay in the original spot than it would be to move her later. Bringing your puppy to bed with you is not a good idea. Your puppy might urinate on the bed. And if you later change your mind about sharing your bed with an adult dog, you will have a difficult time retraining her to sleep elsewhere.
Ask the breeder or the person you got the puppy from about the diet and feeding schedule, and emulate it. This avoids any stomach problems your puppy might get with a sudden diet change. The puppy already is experiencing change in her environment. Save the food change, if there will be one, for after she settles into a routine at your house, which is usually about a week.
It's puppy potty time before you go to bed. Go outside with your puppy and say, "Go potty." This is a useful phrase for your dog to know. Be prepared to also take out a puppy younger than 12 weeks at least once during the night. As your puppy grows, she can go longer periods without needing you to take her out. She should be able to stay in the crate all night by 3 months of age.
Dogs are used to sleeping in den like environments, so they should feel comfortable in a crate. The crate should be just large enough for the dog to stand and turn around and not much bigger. This means you might need to buy larger crates as the puppy grows or set up a divider in a large crate. Leave the door of the crate open and put some newspapers down nearby in case your puppy needs to urinate or defecate before you can get to her. You can also put up a puppy gate to confine her to the area. Play with your puppy to tire her out about an hour before bedtime. Let her quiet down for the next hour. Put on a nightlight, play soft music and put her in her crate.
If your puppy immediately starts crying, whining or howling for you when you return her to the crate, leave her alone. She will soon learn that crate time means bedtime. Do not get angry at the puppy. This behavior is normal. Show some patience and compassion. Your puppy is likely to cry during the first and probably next few nights.
Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since 1983. Her feature stories on area businesses, human interest and health and fitness appear in her local newspaper. She has also written and edited for a grassroots outreach effort and has been published in "Clean Eating" magazine and in "Dimensions" magazine, a CUNA Mutual publication. Agadoni has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University-Fullerton.