Puppy's First Day : Puppy's First Night
Updated: Aug 9
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This is the first time your puppy has been separated from their mother and the rest of their litter, and your home is a strange new environment for them. This is a really memorable time for you so take it slowly and do everything you can to help your puppy acclimatise to their new home.
Obviously, everyone within the family will be excited to welcome your new addition, especially younger children, but try not to overly fuss. The more sedate and relaxed the introduction to your home, the less anxious your puppy will be.
Here's our simple guide to help you master your first day and night with your puppy.
Table of Contents
1. Puppy Toileting
When you first get home and BEFORE you bring your new pup into your house, take them to their ‘toilet spot’ outdoors. This helps to get toilet training started straight away and your life together doesn’t begin with cleaning up a puddle on the floor!
Take your puppy outside at regular times (initially you'll need to go outside every half hour) to show where it’s acceptable to use the bathroom and be patient this will take time.
Consider a dog doorbell. They are proven to help toilet train your puppy.
There are three main designs - a traditional hanging bell, a push button and a digital push button.
All three options are reviewed in-depth in our article on How to Toilet Train a Puppy along with additional guidance on how to use them successfully. The cheapest of the three options is the hanging doorbell.
2. Puppy Exploration
Now it's time to introduce them to your house. Let your puppy explore their bed area first and get comfortable before introducing other areas of your home. Getting a puppy doesn't mean they need access to the whole of your house.
Allow them to explore these new surroundings at their own pace and restrict to 1 or 2 rooms within the house to begin with. Giving access to the whole house on their first day may be confusing and scary for a young puppy.
A simple way to restrict puppy access to the rest of your house is installing a stair gate or room divider.
This not only keeps puppy safe but protects the rest of your house from toilet accidents and chewing disasters (think sofas, rugs and skirting boards!)
Standalone room dividers are available but the cheapest and probably safest option is a standard stair gate.
This pressure fit safety gate by Lindam is available with extenders to fit openings from 76cm - 117cm. It can be fitted quickly and easily and for under £40 is excellent value.
PRO TIP If you've bought lots of gorgeous puppy toys, consider keeping them in a basket out of reach. Puppies are particularly attracted to new toys, so one simple solution is to rotate the toys on the pretext they are fresh and interesting.
Trust me, it saves you money and enables you to attract their attention when necessary.
3. Puppy Dinner Time
It’s also important to check with your breeder what food they have chosen to feed your puppy. It’s best to maintain a consistent diet in the first couple of weeks or months to avoid tummy upsets – moving to a new home is adjustment enough without changing their food as well.
Once your puppy has settled into your home and their routine, then consider changing foods if you feel your puppy would benefit. Just remember to change the food gradually.
If you're considering changing foods at some point, our Nutrition Section has a wealth of information and reviews on healthy, nutritious dog foods including dry, raw, tailored and grain free.
About three hours before bedtime, give your puppy one last meal of the day and plenty of water to drink.
Many pups don't eat much from a bowl for the first couple of days. Try not to worry too much.
You could try hand-feeding to encourage your pup to eat whilst building a bond at the same time. Hand feeding helps establish trust between the two of you and shows your puppy that you have lots of tasty treats to offer.
4. Last Task before Puppy's first night
Start winding down the fun about an hour before you want your puppy to settle for their first night with you and take puppy to the toilet about 10-15 minutes before you head to bed. Then, when relaxed, calmly put your puppy in the sleeping area or crate, and walk away.
A crate can provide a sense of security for your puppy. Try to think of them less like a cage and more like a den where they can feel safe. You can buy a whole range of accessories for dog crates including beautiful beds, mats and crate covers to create a gorgeous dog den.
Ellie-Bo offer a wide range of crate sizes and have taken out the guesswork by teaming up their dog crates with the perfect sized dog bed.
We explore the best crates on the UK market along with some gorgeous and great value accessories.
5. Snuggle Down (first night with puppy) 💤
Puppy's first night at home can be really hard, but try to ignore any barking and whimpering, unless you think your puppy needs the toilet.
A toy or item of clothing that smells familiar may help them settle, or try leaving the radio on quietly in the background along with a night light. Spotify have a selection of playlists designed specifically to calm and relax your dog both during the day and through the night.
These heartbeat toys are extremely popular with new puppy parents. The idea is that the built-in heartbeat device mimics the mother's heartbeat to keep your puppy calm and help relieve any separation anxiety.
The toy is made from soft, plush fabric so your new puppy can snuggle up and the heartbeat device can be removed.
PRO TIP Many dog lovers believe that it's far easier to set up a puppy crate in your bedroom and allow the puppy to sleep in it for the first few days. If you chose this method, try not to touch or cuddle your puppy if they wake during the night.
When the penny finally drops that they won't be picked up or petted when they whimper, puppy will soon begin to sleep through without waking up. Once settled you can move the crate out of your bedroom to where you would ideally like your puppy to sleep.
Whichever method you chose be prepared to get up very early the next day to give your puppy a toilet break before their first breakfast in their new home.
And lastly and most importantly, remember to take lots of gorgeous puppy photos 📸
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Puppy's First Day : Puppy's First Night