They interrupt your sleep, need tons of attention and make messes every time you turn your back! Puppies are a handful and getting one is a HUGE commitment. But most people who have done it will tell you that raising a dog from puppyhood is also immensely rewarding.
If you’re ready to parent a puppy, here are some things to be ready for during the first week.
- Up until now, your puppy has been surrounded by his siblings and mother constantly. Now he is in a house full of strangers, with new people, sounds, sights, and smells, so he might be nervous. Help your puppy through this with plenty of love, play, and some safe and quiet spaces.
- Even though he’s used to eating in a crowd, your puppy will appreciate a quiet place to eat. He needs to feel secure about his food and having people hanging around his bowl might feel threatening. Have family members give him his space when it’s time to eat.
- In the beginning, feed your puppy the same food he ate in his previous home. If you plan on changing his diet, do it gradually to avoid stomach issues. Feeding high-quality dry food 2 or 3 times a day on a regular schedule will help get your puppy into a routine for elimination, which makes it much easier to housetrain, too.
- Don’t forget about your puppy’s sleep needs. A dog crate with a nice, soft blanket or bed is a great place to take a nap or to sleep at night. He might cry a bit during his first few nights since he’s used to being surrounded by siblings. He can’t smell his mom anymore but he’s getting used to you, so consider putting a T-shirt you’ve worn into his bed with him so he can snuggle up with this now-familiar scent.
- Plan to take your puppy for regular walks during the day. Exercise is good for him, and he’ll want to explore his new yard or neighborhood. And it’s never too soon to start training – simple tasks like learning to sit provide mental stimulation that puppies find enjoyable.
- In between meals, naps, and walks, give him lots of attention. You are his new family and pretty soon, your pup won’t miss his mother and siblings anymore! He’ll grow accustomed to the sight of his new house, the sound of your voice, and the smell of his favorite things.
Sure, a puppy is a huge commitment, but if you’re up for the challenge, you will be rewarded with a lifetime of unconditional love.