First Night With a New Puppy

Bringing a puppy home for the first time is one of the most exciting times for any family. That being said, the art of raising a puppy is not a simple one! Getting a new puppy involves a great deal of preparation, time and effort to ensure that you are successful in actually settling a new puppy. 

Preparing for a puppy will involve modifying your home so that it is a safe space, as well as purchasing the necessary items needed when caring for a puppy. The act of even bringing home a new puppy can be an overwhelming experience, with new puppy care often presenting a myriad of immediate challenges. In fact, some would consider the first night with a new puppy to be the most demanding. 
Being ready for puppies and their first night home will help to make the experience more manageable, while supporting calm transitions and routines that you will want to set up for later. The first night with your new puppy may be daunting, but this is the opportunity for you to create a positive, affectionate connection that will stand you in good stead. To help you prepare, here are some key tips and suggestions.

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Understanding your dog: Insights from Kimberley Nicolle, Qualified Force-Free Dog Trainer

Useful tips on how to help your new puppy settle into their new home as quickly as possible.

Preparing for a Puppy

To prepare for the arrival of your new puppy, it can be helpful to create a new puppy shopping list to make sure that you have everything ready for that first night. There are several items that your puppy must have to ensure a happy, smooth transition into their new environment, including a comfortable bed, food and water, and appropriate toys for play. Be sure to remove any poisons or hazards that your puppy may find. You can also install baby gates to slowly introduce your new puppy to their surroundings, by keeping them limited to the safe areas of your home where they will be most comfortable. These can also protect your puppy from any hazards like stairs or steps until they are big enough to handle such challenges. 
Setting up a bed, crate or calm area for your first night with a new puppy is essential as they will need to learn where they can go to relax and feel secure in their new home. It will likely take them some time to get used to this space so it is important to spend time with them there in order to help them feel comfortable and build positive associations with the rest area. You can provide the puppy with interactive food toys in this space to promote licking and chewing which will help your puppy to feel calm and relaxed.  
It is also important that you are clear on your chosen boundaries before your new puppy arrives. For example, will they be allowed on the sofa? Where will they be sleeping? Are certain parts of the house out of bounds? Thinking about this before the first day and night with a new puppy will help you to maintain consistency, which is essential for training any dog. The environment should be set up in advance so that the puppy cannot access areas that you do not want them to. 
If your family already has a dog, then it is a good idea to prepare for introducing your puppy to the older dog. Be sure to consider your older dog’s temperament and needs. Your older dog will need a quiet place to retreat to when they wish to rest on their own. Resources such as meals, treats or enrichment toys should be given to your puppy and older dog separately to help prevent any resource guarding and potential damage to their budding relationship.

Puppy Toilet Training at Night

Young puppies simply do not have the bladder capacity they need to get through the entire night undisturbed. Being able to listen and respond to your puppy’s needs in this area is vital. On the first night with a new puppy, to help them prepare for their night-time routine, taking them outside to relieve themselves is a good place to start. This will help to reinforce the habit of going to the toilet before they get ready for sleep. Being consistent and following this up with an early morning opportunity for your puppy to relieve themselves will help cement this toilet training routine. Be sure to praise your puppy each time and follow this up with a treat to reinforce their toileting in the desired area. Above all, ensure that the first night with a new puppy is as positive an experience as possible. This will help with building a strong bond with your new puppy and help them to feel confident and secure.

Where Should My Puppy Sleep on the First Night?

On the first night with a new puppy, and even for the first few days or weeks for some puppies, your new puppy may have trouble falling asleep. They might feel vulnerable and unsure being in an  unfamiliar environment. Your little puppy has likely just been separated from their family for the first time after spending their whole life up to this point surrounded by their mother and siblings. Being removed from such an environment can be an overwhelming experience, so on the first night with a new puppy, it is vital to help them feel safe, secure, and nurtured so that they can make a smooth transition to your family. It is on the first night with a new puppy that they may feel most alone and uncertain, so this is when you should invest the time and effort to lay the groundwork for your relationship with them. If you would like your puppy to sleep in a crate, it is recommended to begin crate training your puppy from the first night. Setting up a crate in your bedroom is the best way for your puppy to know that you are near and to allow you to be close enough to respond to their needs. It is important not to shut your puppy in their crate until they are completely comfortable with being inside. The crate should be a calm and reinforcing place to be, not a source of stress. You can make the space more comfortable for them by including blankets to line the crate and safe, age-appropriate toys. The goal is to gradually increase the amount of time your puppy spends in their crate in order to work up to being able to shut the crate door.


  • Should a Puppy Sleep in a Crate the First Night?

    On the first night with a new puppy, it can be tricky working out what is the best thing to do to keep them comfortable and happy, while still meeting all their needs. When it comes to sleep and caring for your puppy, it is ideal to identify in advance where you would like your puppy to sleep long term and as an adult dog. Do you want them to sleep on the bed with you? Would you prefer that they sleep in a crate in your bedroom long term or only initially before transitioning the crate to another room? If you would like to use a crate it is ideal to set it up in the bedroom with you at least initially. This will help support a positive crate training experience and ensure that you are close enough to respond to their needs.

  • How to Comfort a Puppy on the First Night

    Making sure that your first night with a new puppy is a positive one is something that every new pet owner wants. To help your new pup feel comforted and cared for during the night, try lining their crate with blankets and drape another over the top so that they feel secure when they sleep. You may need to temporarily sit or lay by the crate and gently stroke your puppy to help support them to sleep.

  • Puppy Vomiting on the First Night

    There are many causes of vomiting in puppies, including dietary change, motion sickness, viral infections, or even an intestinal obstruction due to a foreign body. If you notice any vomiting on the first night with a new puppy, it is important to monitor them closely and seek veterinary advice if the vomiting continues or any other signs develop (e.g. lethargy, inappetence or diarrhoea).

  • New Puppy Crying

    On the first night with a new puppy, the puppy may cry and whine to communicate with their new family, just like human babies do. While this can be upsetting to listen to, it is generally normal behaviour and an indication that your puppy needs something. While you should never ignore a crying puppy, you can work towards helping your puppy learn to be more independent. Providing them with things to do on their own will support this process. Fun things to chew, eat and smell are all great enrichment ideas for this.



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