The big day is finally here. Bringing home your puppy and new family member doesn’t get much more exciting…for everyone!
Preparing both your puppy and family will go a long way in making a fun and memorable experience for everyone. We’ve got suggestions to set you up for success and a lifetime of awesomeness with your new best friend.
- Expect the unexpected
Pets are unpredictable—especially puppies. And first-time pet owners should know this is a critical time in their development. Any bad or negative experiences can affect your puppy’s confidence, aggressiveness or fear for the rest of their life. Be prepared and have a plan so introductions are positive all the way around.
- Prepare for the introductions
Before you bring your puppy home, get everything ready. “Puppy proof” your home by literally getting down on their level. From plants to cords to rugs, if it’s within reach you can be sure it will go into their mouth. Get the supplies you need including treats and toys for each new person to engage the puppy with.
- Don’t overwhelm them
A positive arrival home should be your top priority as it’s a big day for your pup as well. Leaving mom and littermates for the first time is overwhelming enough, so don’t overdo it on the first day.
For your family, manage expectations about who, when and where everyone gets to meet your new addition. Don’t take the whole family to pick up the puppy, and let your pup settle in and settle down before meeting the entire household.
- Manage the process
Everyone needs to be relaxed and calm for introductions to go smoothly. Give your puppy plenty of playtime beforehand, and be sure they’ve been out to eliminate. Put them on a leash and if they aren’t used to a collar or leash yet, make extra time so your pup can focus on family.
- Know how to approach a dog
Give each person a treat and have them get down on their level, then let the puppy come to them. Don’t make any sudden movements or loud noises and let the puppy sniff and get comfortable, rewarding good behavior with the treat.
Let the puppy calm down so you don’t overwhelm your family members either, and use the leash to restrain them as needed. Be prepared for kisses, bites and/or scratches as they explore each new person. Allow everyone to pick up and hold the puppy if they are comfortable, with a toy to keep between you and the puppy’s mouth—teeth and nails can be razor sharp.
- Introducing children and pets
There’s nothing cuter than watching kids and puppies play together, but always supervise them. Teach children proper manners and work on safely and gently touching your pet. Young children should be allowed to hold them only while sitting down. If you have other pets, consider waiting to make introductions for the safety and comfort of both. A jealous or aggressive pet adds to the challenges of bringing home your pup, so go slow.
Related: Choosing a Name For Your New Puppy
Bringing home your puppy is a big day, and it’s one that you will never forget. Be sure to take lots of pictures and videos, because they grow up so quickly!