Once you’ve made your choice, the next most exciting step is bringing your puppy home. Everyone is happy and animated – except the puppy. Well, not all of them. Some puppies are more tentative and withdrawn than others.
When you consider what the puppy is going through, it’s understandable that she would be nervous around these strangers on her first day home.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help ease your puppy’s introduction into her new family.
- Let her get accustomed to the surroundings first, especially her sleeping quarters.
- Minimize the number of people she meets in the first few days. A swarm of humans can be a scary situation for a puppy who has just left her parents and siblings.
- Make sure her bed is warm and away from drafts. A blanket over the crate is always a good idea as it acts like a cave or den where she can feel safe.
- Give her something cuddly to snuggle up to, a soft toy is better than hard ones.
- Turn on the radio to keep her company her first night alone.
- Provide a quiet, safe place to eat that is not in a high traffic area.
She is likely to feel nervous when she is away from you or her safe areas. This is especially true when she meets other people and pets. Her first instinct will be to cry and/or try to hide. You can help her here.
Allow her to nestle up to you when she shows fear. In her pack, she would have hidden under her mother’s body for protection. Squat down on the floor and let her back in to you.
The biggest thing to watch here is that you do not make her dependent on you in this way. She will grow to become timid and afraid if she is never allowed to venture out alone. Use this method only for the first few days until she gets a sense of her new surroundings and everything in it.
A puppy is naturally curious and will gradually make her way into the outside world. It is important that you allow her to do that. You do not want to end up with a fearful dog. Such a dog can become aggressive.
It’s much better if she learns to socialize with all types of people and animals. If you begin early, she will be less trouble when meeting other dogs on her walks.
Another thing to consider is training, which should begin right away. Start using training expressions from the moment she comes home. Stick to the basics: sit, come, here, no, outside. She’ll soon learn them and what they mean and this early introduction will give her a good start to her advanced training in a month or so.
It pays to be prepared so that bringing a puppy home is as smooth and pleasant an experience as it can be for you and the puppy.