Bringing Home Your New Puppy

The fun of bringing a new puppy home and introducing him to his new family is a very special experience. He will, of course, become a well-mannered dog, staying quietly at our side, eager to follow our every command. Well, it is a long road from the cuddly puppy to the mature dog, but with some effort and understanding it can be traveled successfully. It all begins with day one in the new home.

The first few days a puppy is in his new home can be trying for both the puppy and the new owner because both are trying to adjust to a new situation. After all, the puppy finds he has been suddenly taken from his den and litter mates and is expected to immediately accept a new, foreign way of life. However, with patience and a sense of humor on the part of the new owner, the first few days can be accomplished with good feelings on both sides.

Breeders and behaviorists generally agree that seven weeks of age (forty-nine days) is the ideal age for a puppy to go to his new home, with six to eight weeks being the most desirable age range. The six- to eight-week old puppy still needs a lot of rest and will take morning and afternoon naps. For the first day or two, however, he might be very excited and spend much of the day in motion, checking out his new home. As long as he is not hurting himself or anything else in the environment, let him investigate wherever and whatever takes his fancy.

If the puppy is eight weeks old when he first comes home, be very patient with him. This is the fear period and sharp noises or harsh treatment will leave him with fear which may take months to overcome. Let him take his time getting acquainted with everything and do not take him to places where he will be subjected to loud and frightening sounds or activities. If possible, trips to the veterinarian should be arranged either before or after the eighth week.

If the puppy is ten to twelve weeks old when you first bring him home, he will be more rambunctious, especially if he is one of the larger breeds, and he will sleep considerably less during the day. However, he is at an age where you can get his attention quite easily and where he will want to please you and stay close to you.