Everything to do with a puppy deserves careful planning, and this starts even before you bring your puppy home.
Before you collect your puppy, think of something which may never previously have crossed your mind – are you going to use a dog crate?
Please give it very careful consideration. Dogs love dens, and a crate is their own special den. It is their “space”, and all animal behaviourists recommend crating dogs. Discuss this with your breeder, and you will find more of the advantages of a dog crate.
They are also brilliant for dog training and ensuring that your dog knows that there are boundaries.
If you do decide on using a crate, then buy it before you have possession of your puppy, and place it in your car on the way to collect from the breeder. By doing this, the puppy will immediately expect to be crated whilst in a car, and this has obvious safety benefits for the puppy and yourself.
Your puppy will probably slip around a bit in the crate as you take corners etc., but please do not worry – it will soon learn to balance.
Take a blanket (or better still a Vetbed) to place in the puppy’s crate, then, when you take the pup home, transfer the blanket to the puppy’s new bed – your puppy will feel at home.
Very soon you will find it more convenient to have a car blanket / Vetbed, and a home blanket / Vetbed.
Also, make sure you have waiting at home the food and water bowls, grooming equipment and plenty of toys – play is an essential part of growing up. (see separate section on this website)
The best place for your puppy’s bed is a draught-free corner of the kitchen. Kitchens tend to be warm and to have washable floors.
Remember the crate or bed is your puppy’s refuge – its den – so keep young children away from it, and never allow a tired puppy to be dragged out of bed to play – your puppy is not a toy!
To help in this, a puppy play pen is often recommended to protect your puppy from outside influences. This pen, along with a dog crate, is also an ideal way of helping to house train, but more of that later.
On the first few nights in your home, expect your puppy to squeak or whimper. If you pick it up at the first sign of whimpering, you will find it almost impossible to break what will become an attention seeking habit. Don’t give in!
Before you go to bed, play with your puppy to induce sleep, finishing with a gentle caress. After the first few nights, the pup should settle quite happily.
Teach your pet that the great outdoors is also a great toilet area. Take your pet out to spend a penny (and shower it with plenty of praise when it happens).
Indoors, put paper or (better still) puppy pads on the floor of your pen or crate for your puppy to use as a toilet. Praise and routine are the ways to quicker training.
If you do have problems with your puppy making noise, there is an alternative approach, but only if you don’t mind a dog in your bedroom. If you want to keep your bedroom a dog-free area, then don’t use this advice.
For the first few nights, keep your puppy in your bedroom, in a high-sided box or crate, or puppy pen, so there is no chance to get out. Any noise can be quietened by a few kind words or a reassuring pat. After a few nights the puppy will be used to being away from litter-mates and can be moved into the kitchen.
This method may also help the house training process as the puppy can be taken out if the need arises in the night, but please be aware that it may prove difficult to untrain your puppy from going into the bedroom.