Puppy comes Home

Puppy Comes Home


The decision to adopt a puppy is without a doubt a very exciting happening in most households.  Much time is usually spent deciding on the right dog, breed, size, male or female, colour and whether from a breeder or a rescue facility and more. The family then cannot wait for the great day to arrive. They often forget that it is very important to use the waiting period to prepare for the homecoming and to read about puppy care. Puppies are brought into our world and therefore it remains our responsibility to obtain the knowledge to make this transition smooth and successful.

It is advisable to visit the puppy during the interim period to learn as much as possible from the keeper or breeder. Information about the food, feeding routine, handling and what it has been taught will help the puppy to settle quicker in its new home. It is recommended to leave the puppy with its mother and siblings for as long as possible. Usually around eight or nine weeks of age is the ideal period because they learn a lot from their mother and by playing with other puppies.

Fetching puppy

Plan your journey so that you will have enough time to spend with the puppy and also arrive home with ample daylight and time for the pup to explore the new surroundings.

Ideally two people should go to collect the new family member and if you have another dog bring it along so that they can make the homeward trip together. Take along a towel or soft blanket to collect the mother’s scent and/ or that of the other puppies. This will form the base of puppy’s new sleeping place and have a familiar, calming influence.

Do not be in a hurry to leave, but spend time touching, carrying and playing with your new puppy in its familiar surroundings. It helps if the puppy is a little tired before you leave and it has done its toilet. Remember to collect its medical record book and ascertain when the next inoculation, de-worming etc. is due.

Once inside the car the second person must cradle the puppy on her lap on the towel and get the pup to settle down comfortably. It is very important to have the puppy relaxed or sleep on the journey and not to fall about in the back as the vehicle travels around bends. If it is a long trip and the puppy becomes restless, it may be a good idea to stop in a safe place and play a little outside before continuing.

Arriving home

Carry the puppy to the area where you would like him to eliminate. After the trip home there is a good chance that this may happen fairly soon. Make a big fuss when it happens and play happily with the puppy. House training is an outside activity and should start there on day one! Once the puppy has had a good chance to discover the extent of the yard it is time to meet other members of the family, one by one, outside the home. Each one must be told to stand still and allow the puppy to have a good smell before reaching out to touch him. This also applies to other dogs that must be supervised while allowing them to smell the puppy held safely in your arms.

Inside the house

Puppy must be invited to follow you into the house, directly to the room where he is going to be fed and sleep. This room is where his toys are kept where he can play and feel safe. It should also be where he spends his short-term and even long-term confinement when his owners are absent. Ideally it should have access to the outside. It is not a good idea to allow a new puppy to explore your home the first day or two. The pup must first get used to its living and feeding area and then can be invited to other rooms one at a time. If there are areas in the home that are out of bounds to the dogs then now is the time to teach it. All members of the family must be in agreement and enforce the house rules. A suitably sized cardboard box makes an ideal bed for a young puppy. Place the towel or blanket, with the mother’s scent, inside the box and the inside a crate if you are going to use one. Plenty of chew toys to amuse the puppy should be available in its room. When the puppy shows signs of sleepiness, place it in its bed and wait for it to fall asleep before quietly leaving the room. As soon as possible the puppy must learn to sleep alone. Remember to take the puppy outside as soon as it wakes up and also the moment it has finished eating. Sniffing the ground is a sure signal to pick the puppy up and run outside to its toilet area.

Doggy Toilets

Although owners want their puppies to eliminate outdoors there are places where they do not want it to happen. Consequently, a useful practice is to decide on one small area of the yard, possibly the furthest from the house, as the doggy toilet and to train the dog to use that area exclusively as the spot to eliminate. Every time the puppy eliminates outside it must be praised. But when it happens in or near his doggy toilet, the praise and reward must be special, “What a GOOD dog” and a pat as well as a treat can be given. If a puppy grows up eliminating in in the toilet area, it will tend to continue to do so as an adult.


Should it happen that the puppy has an accident indoors do not clean it up with the puppy watching. Pick up the poo and take it to the doggy toilet. Use gloves and a sponge to soak up a pee and again squeeze it out in the toilet area. Faeces should be picked up at least once a day.


Hand feeding should have preference over bowl feeding during the first week at least. Feeding by hand has a mothering effect on the pup and teaches it that good things come from you. Kong stuffing is highly recommended because meals can be prepared in advance and Kongs are made of high quality rubber that will withstand dog chewing and they are also dishwasher friendly. Puppies should be fed at least three times a day and new owners must learn to become “clock watchers” if they want a trouble-free puppy.

Feeding time should be training time. Let your puppy watch you prepare its food in the room and see that it comes from you. Make it sniff at the food then lift it up over the pups head to capture a “sit” before feeding.

Settling in

Do not take your puppy to show him off to your friends during the first few weeks. Rather invite them to come and see your puppy at home. Try to get puppy to meet men, women and children of all sizes. This is a very important exercise because a people friendly puppy is a pleasure to live with. Dogs that do not like people do not live long!

Also do not walk your puppy in places where adult dogs may have eliminated for fear of contracting the deadly Parvo virus.  Once the pup has had its second jabs it should have sufficient immunity against Parvo. Until then, carry your puppy past places where adult dogs may have soiled.

Let your puppy get used to the car a few times before your next visit to the vet. Puppies can so easily associate the car with visits to the vet and develop car nervousness or car sickness.

Puppy training and socialization classes should start at ten weeks of age.