It's hard to resist that cute bundle of fur, full of puppy-breath and kisses, warm snuggles and wet noses. Now that you've brought him home, are you ready for the challenges that aren't quite so cute? If this is your first puppy, knowing what to expect his first week home can help make you -- and the puppy -- adapt more easily to the changes in the household.
OopsPuppies pee. Puppies poop. Taking the new baby outside immediately after eating or drinking will help with potty training, but there will be accidents. Watch him closely whenever he's out of the crate, especially if he sneaks off by himself. Soft rugs underfoot mimic grass, so he'll likely head for a somewhat private corner of your living room. Expect it to happen on your new rug and know ahead of time how to clean it. Don't wait until you catch him piddling to hit the Internet for expert advice on how to get the spot out.
Nighty NightYour new furry pal will frolic and play most of the day, with an occasional nap to replenish that puppy energy. He'll be interested in just about everything around him and as long as he's occupied with the family and exploring his new surroundings, he's not likely to be lonely. Once the lights go out and it's time for bed, that won't be the case.
Puppies are used to curling up with their littermates and after jostling for space amid a mass of warm bodies for the first weeks of his life, having to sleep alone will be pretty scary. Make sure he has a cozy bed in his crate, and tuck in a stuffed toy or two for a snuggle buddy. He will also miss his mama's presence and a ticking alarm clock covered with a sock or towel that mimics her heartbeat might help comfort him on his first few nights alone.
Skip the LullabyIf your puppy does whine when left alone, resist the urge to give in as you would when a human baby cries. Small puppies with equally small bladders might need to make a potty run sometime during the night, but after the business is taken care of, tuck him back into his bed and crawl back into yours.
If whining continues, as long as you're sure that he's not hurt, let him work it out for himself. He's not going to learn that night time is quiet time if you give in at the first whimper and rock him to sleep. The first few days will be toughest, but he'll adapt to the routine quick enough when he realizes you haven't truly left him. Do expect a few sleepless nights.
Anything Within Reach is Fair GameWhen not otherwise engaged in sleeping, eating or eliminating, puppies will be chewing. He won't know the difference between a doggie toy and your favorite slippers, so make sure everything that isn't puppy-proof is out of his reach. If he does latch onto something you'd rather not see destroyed, a quick tap on the nose with a stern NO should give him a clue. Be especially careful of electrical cords he may have access to.
Worth the Mayhem?
A new puppy in the house can be stressful and costly. Your rug might be ruined, your shoes left in tatters, and your beauty sleep lacking -- a small price to pay for the love of a dog forever.