A Pet Parent's Guide to Introducing a New Puppy to a Household

Introducing a new puppy to your family can be a fun and exciting experience, but it can also be overwhelming. The process should be smooth and slow for your new pet. They’ll need time to adjust, and you’ll want them to be as happy as possible. Every level of the adoption process has its own set of guidelines for how to handle common situations and help your new four-legged friend adjust to their new home.

Step One: Create the First Environment

When bringing your new puppy home, please keep it in a separate room with a bed, toys, food, water, and treats for the first day or two. The first thing your puppy will need to learn is that this room is its new home. They need to realize that everything they need, including you, is inside. This will help with the early training process and help your puppy understand the new boundaries of the house.

Step Two: Bring Them into the Main Living Area

Once your puppy has gotten comfortable in its room, it’s time to bring them into the main living area for a little bit to adjust. Introduce them to all the new smells and noises in your house, including people and pets. Your new family member will need to distinguish the different scents and sounds of other humans. Ensure the pets bond without upsetting the peace of your home and the new puppy. If you can, take them for short walks around the block. This is a great way to play and also helps with housetraining.

Step Three: Begin with Short Walks

As your puppy grows accustomed to the house, you’ll take them out longer and longer. Have a plan when you decide to take them anywhere, like where they’ll eat, go potty or play. Learning the environment upfront will help them adjust more easily. It will also help you feel more comfortable taking them farther out, like at the grocery store or the park. This is also a great way to keep them from getting house-soiling accidents, common with new puppies.

Step Four: Be Ready for Stomach Issues

If you have any concerns about your puppy and its health, call your vet. Sometimes, especially in larger breeds, the stress of the adjustment can cause stomach issues. Your puppy likely won’t show any signs of being sick if this is the case, but it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for any signs that they aren’t feeling well. If you notice them eating less or acting lethargic, check with a vet before continuing your crate training plan.

Step Five: Use the Crate as a Training Tool

A crate is a wonderful way to train dogs to learn more quickly and ensure they have the proper training. Dogs will naturally try to escape from the crate when you first introduce them, but with patience and the first use of treats, the ability to escape will decrease each time they’re locked in. As soon as they can hold it for 15 minutes, you can move them out of their crate and into a large dog bed that is their personal space.

As a new puppy parent, you’re probably curious about handling the first days and weeks of your puppy’s life. Introducing the puppy to your family, home, and routine is exciting. It can, however, be a bit overwhelming, so it’s important to take things one step at a time. Keep in mind that this process does not happen overnight. Patience is key.