As the "parent" of a new puppy or new adult dog, it's important for you to help him get used to his new surroundings. Think of him more as an infant than a pet - he'll need plenty of patience, supervision and love. Here’s how you can help him adjust:
- Bring your new puppy home when it's quiet and you don’t have company. Also, choose a time when your routine is normal. In his first week at home, you are beginning to teach your puppy who his new family is, teaching him to learn to trust them, and begin to want to be with you. This should be his settling-in week.
- Show your new puppy the area of your backyard/garden that will be his bathroom before bringing him inside; take him there whenever he goes outside.
- Initially, you will have to build your routine around your puppy's needs, and these are reliably predictable when they are very young. Puppies need to urinate immediately after waking up, so you need to be there to take your puppy straight into the garden without any delay.
- Give your new puppy his own room where you can keep his crate, complete with bedding and chew toys (leave the crate's door open). He'll feel safe in his "den." Put down newspaper for accidents.
- Supervise your new puppy at all times, and play with him several times a day. You'll help establish yourself as the pack leader.
- Give him bathroom breaks every few hours and right after eating, drinking, sleeping and playing (watch for signals like sniffing and circling). Never punish your new puppy dog for accidents; instead, praise him when he goes in his outdoor spot. Repeat specific cue words like 'wee wees' and 'poo poos' while the puppy is actually urinating or defecating so that he associates the word with these actions. Note; avoid using other cue words that you use to praise him for other non-toilet activities, such as “good boy”, as he may associate this word with needing to urinate or defecate.
You should have no trouble at all encouraging your children to play with your new puppy. Still, you'll want to supervise his first interactions with your kids and set playtime limits of 15 to 20 minutes, two or three times a day. There are still more ground rules to explain:
- Children need to be taught that the puppy is not a toy or doll, and should not be disturbed when resting or sleeping.
- No rough teasing or playing. Tail-pulling and teasing can lead to bad habits like jumping up or even biting.
- Be gentle. Tell kids never to shout at the new puppy, even if he does something wrong. Explain that dogs can be startled by loud noises.