The First 48 Hours with your Puppy

? {What to Expect & How to Prepare} ?

first 48 hours with your puppy

Bringing your new puppy home is an unbelievably exciting, life-changing moment in your life. If this is your first dog, even more so. The downside is that lots of owners find the first 48 hours pretty overwhelming! They always say the best way to reduce stress and worry is to beat the fear of the unknown.

This essential guide is here to help you navigate the do’s and dont’s of settling in. Get ahead of the game when you bring your new puppy home with my essential guide on how to handle the first 48 hours.

How To Prepare

First of all you’ll need to make sure you’ve got everything you’ll need to help your puppy settle in and start training. Here’s a list of essentials for your puppy’s arrival – I’ve added some links to some useful products to help you plan ahead. Don’t forget to set up your puppy’s sleeping and eating areas for their arrival. Initially, sleeping arrangements are best placed somewhere quiet with close access to the garden such as a kitchen or utility room.

Bedding

Your puppy’s first bed needs to be something machine washable and reasonable chew-proof. Vet blankets and a plastic basket are a great starting point for the first few months. You can move onto something squishier and more luxurious when they are beyond these phases.

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Food

Your breeder or rescue centre should recommend food for your puppy and ideally provide you with some to take home to slowly merge with your preferred brand. Don’t forget to purchase two bowls, for water and dinner. This classic design is washable, slip-resistant and hard-wearing.

Toys

Kongs are ideal – they are fun, chew-proof and can be stuffed with treats to encourage settling down in a crate or being left for short durations without crying. Buy a few items that are built to last – different textures are good for teething and encouraging chewing in the right places.

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ID Tags

It is a legal obligation to have your dog microchipped (your breed should have done this for you. It is also a legal requirement for your dog to wear an ID tag on their collar. It’s beneficial to have one for home and another for a friend or family member should the worst case-scenario of a lost-dog ever arise. Pick your up here.

Biodegradable Poo bags

It’s every owner’s responsibility to clear up after their pet. Now you can be eco-friendly and reduce your carbon footprint with these brilliant biodegradable poo bags!

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Crate

Crates and puppy pens are perfect for many things – teaching your puppy to settle, containing over-night house-training accidents and preparing them for staying at the vets should the need arise. Set this crate up near an exit to the garden – the first couple of night could be very messy and you’ll want to reduce this as much as possible.

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Turf

Garden turf to line the front half (entrance) of your puppy’s crate will absorb accidents in the night an teach your dog to “go” in the correct place – on grass. This will need to be changed regularly, however it’s an eco-friendly alternative that can be composted after use compared to single use plastics such as puppy pads. Turf also gets the message across far quicker than other methods as your pup will have overnight accidents in the right place. Newspaper can be used in lieu of turf, just remember to take soiled newspapers outside to encourage toileting in the correct areas. Dogs are creatures of habit. ?

Carpet Cleaning Spray

Your puppy is likely to have accidents indoors to being with, so keep cleaning spray at the ready to save your flooring from staining. Many products will remove the scent of urine completely, so your dog does not return to that area again.

Training equipment:

Choosing the right equipment will add to your training experience. Some of the best products on the market are listed below

  • collar and lead (avoid flexi-leads as they do not allow for proper control).
  • long line (for safe recall training outdoors).
  • biodegradable poo bags
  • treat bag or pouch (to aid your training at home and in public places).
  • treats (find something your dog really likes and is motivated to work for).

Dog Walkers & Dog Sitters

If you know you’ll need a walker or sitter to help care for your pet, now is the time to do your research. Thinking ahead at this stage is a great move, as summer spells can be very busy for pet professionals.

TOP TIP: You will most likely need two or three contacts to ensure there’s always someone available to care for your dog throughout the year. Shop around and see who will be the best fit for you. ?

puppy training

Day One

The Journey Home

Bring a blanket and pop your crate in the boot. It is now the law to ensure your pet is suitable restrained and not a distraction while driving. The likelihood is your puppy will be sick during the first few outing in the car. This is nothing to worry about and will soon pass. Try travelling one or two hours either side of eating to reduce car sickness.

When you get home, give your puppy a chance to do their business in the garden. Going inside will be exciting and accidents in the first couple of weeks are inevitable. You can reduce them by keeping track of your puppy’s toileting habits during the day.

Meeting your other Dogs

If you have other dogs at home, you may want try a careful introduction. Ensure your older dogs have been thoroughly exercised before pup comes home to help them relax.

  1. Stay calm and speak softly, encourage your children to do the same.
  2. Pop your puppy in their crate, then allow older dogs to enter the room. This allows the older dogs to meet their new sibling on and even playing-field without being harrassed.
  3. After some time, allow your puppy to come out and explore when everyone has had time to smell each other and the older dogs lose interest.
  4. Try not allow over-excitement or bullying from either party. Gentle play is a good start.
  5. Move this introduction outside for wee-wees and sniffs.

Meeting Cats

If you have cats at home, they will need to be given space too, so follow the crate method above.

  1. Pop your puppy in their crate.
  2. Allow your cat to wander in and meet their new friend.
  3. If your cat seems comfortable, allow your puppy out to meet their feline friend.
  4. Expect a bop on the nose.

Always ensure your cat can escape from the puppy if they choose to. Do not allow your puppy to be boisterous or try to chase your cat. Interrupt your puppy with a snappy “No!” or growly noise to interrupt the behaviour, should the need arise.

The most likely scenario is that your cat will sharply bop your puppy on the nose. The relationship is generally set from that point; cats are always in charge of dogs.

TOP TIP: puppies around 8-10 weeks old usually have not yet developed a hunting instinct. This is the perfect time to introduce them to livestock, cats, horses, birds, etc. This kind of socialisation will reduce the likelihood of chasing these animals in adulthood and helps improve recall. Try taking your puppy out in the car to calmly view ponies, sheep and livestock through the window.

Get a Head Start on House Training

It’s important to take your puppy outside to have an opportunity to do their business every hour. The is particularly important after they have been sleeping or eating.

  1. Take your pup outside.
  2. Put soiled newspaper on the grass or if you’re using turf, they should get the idea.
  3. Encourage your puppy with your command (“wee-wees!”)
  4. Give lots of praise and love as soon as your puppy does their business.

If your puppy has an accident indoors or wees when they’re excited, don’t be cross, just take them outside and say “wee-wees”, praise, repeat.

House training should only take a couple of weeks before accidents are minimal. Accidents should come to an end before they turn 8 months old.

Feeding

Another important lesson for your puppy is to ensure they wait patiently for their food. They’ll most likely be eating 3 meals a day until they’re around 6-7 months old, so you will have plenty of opportunities to learn together.

Teaching “sit” and “wait” for dinner time is a great tool and will be the start of your training relationship. This is a fantastic exercise for your children to take part in as it will show they too are an authority in the home, handing out praise and food in exchange for good behaviour.

TOP TIP: use “sit” and “wait” when walking through doors in your home. You walking through first will lay a foundation of understanding to follow you on walks and be respectful of your space. It’s also great practice for getting in and out of the car boot, walking through gateways and when you stop on walks to have a conversation with a friend or passer-by.

puppy classes

The First Night

Your puppy needs to sleep in a room that is separate from your bedroom. Ideally a kitchen, as this will be both warm and have a washable floor for potential accidents.

When it’s bedtime, stuff a toy with a little peanut butter and pop it in their crate with them.

The first night is a worry for all new dog owners. Only go back to them once if they cry.

When you go back to them, don’t say anything or fuss. Silently let them outside for “wee-wees” (if they do any business, give gentle praise, then back to bed without rousing too much excitement). Pop a treat in the crate with them as you leave. This reinforces you leaving with something positive.

After this, you must leave them til morning.

The most important lesson a puppy learns in the first 24 hours is to settle down without you being there. It gets them used to their routine, helps them learn to settle and in the long run and reduces the risk of separation anxiety issues. Bear the following in mind:

  • They will stop squeaking very soon.
  • The next night will be quieter, if not silent!
  • Do not feel guilty. All new dog owners have to get through the first night squeaks.

If you give in and take your puppy into your bedroom, they may not learn how to be away from you physically. This sadly can develop separation anxiety later in life which is often very difficult to live with and rehabilitate. Prevention is everything!

Comforting a pup when they make lots of noise can send across the wrong message “if you are very noisy, we will come back to you and reward you.” This is often how uncontrollable barking habits start.

Owners who only go back once for a wee opportunity often find their pup will learn that if there is a toilet emergency, they can call their owner.

Once the first night is done with you should find the next night is quiet. It’s well worth it.

HEALTH & SAFETY: take your puppy’s collar off at night so it cannot catch on anything.

Day Two

It is likely you will come downstairs to find a bit of a mess. This is normal and will soon resolve itself after a few days of consistent house-training. Positioning your crate near the door and washable bedding is very helpful. You’ll have to deal with this a couple of times, it will soon pass as puppy learns to go outside and falls into the rhythm of your routine.

  • take your puppy outside
  • be patient
  • plenty of praise and love
  • have a clean up (dog safe disinfectant is great).

Serve breakfast and then it will soon be time to go outside for more business.

Routine

Today you can start to set a normal routine. Keep your 50% kibble with you to lure and reward your puppy. This will begin to build a reliable recall response.

Focus on lots of breaks and visits to the garden:

  • Wake up
  • Toilet
  • Breakfast time
  • Toilet
  • Walkies
  • Nap time
  • Toilet
  • Lunch time
  • Toilet
  • Play
  • Toilet
  • Bedtime

This will help your puppy learn to be clean indoors and settle quickly without fuss. Give your puppy lots of breaks throughout the day to rest. Their bones grow very rapidly and will need sleep to aid recovery.

If you have another dog, your puppy will tune in to their behaviours and mimic them; for example toileting outside or walking nicely by your side. Reward both dogs for good behaviours and paying attention to you. They will be very eager to please.

puppy training

Binary Feedback

Your voice is a powerful tool and will be a huge part of your communication with you dog. Dogs and puppies need to know the expectations you have for them. The kindest, science-led method for training your puppy is to reward good behaviour as it happens, and to correct/redirect behaviours you do not want verbally. This way your puppy will learn very quickly and they will grow in confidence.

  • Good behaviour = happy voice + treat
  • Bad behaviour = stern voice (this is known as a correction) + redirect behaviour to something good eg: sit

Keep 50% of your puppy’s food in your training bag. Use this food as a lure at first to guide your puppy. Each time your puppy comes when you call their name, sits, waits, or any other good behaviour, give them a little piece of their food.

This way you will:

  1. replace their mother as the provider of food and affection
  2. you become a teacher and someone to pay attention to
  3. you will avoid over-feeding

Going Out

Help your puppy get used to being left for a very short while once a day in the first few weeks. Pop your puppy in their crate with a toy stuffed with Peamutt Butter. This will give your dog a positive association with you leaving and provides something interesting for them to do while you’re gone. Try 20 minutes each day and slowly progress to an hour over the coming weeks. Some owners like to watch their pet via dog camera to see how they’re getting on.

Puppy Behaviour

Remember your inary feedback.

  • Good behaviour = happy voice + treat
  • Bad behaviour = stern voice (this is known as a correction) + redirect behaviour to something good eg: sit

Discourage unwanted behaviours by letting out a sharp, serious noise of displeasure (Ah! Or shh! Or no!) This is called a correction. A correction catches your dog in the act and interrupts bad behaviours, allowing you to redirect them. This tells your puppy what you don’t want from them and provides a good choice.

Expect:

  • Chewing household items (counteract this by providing suitable chew toys).
  • Mouthing and nipping are common in the first few weeks. This is a hard and fast rule – no teeth on skin, full stop.
  • Barking for attention (this looks very cute but ideally should be discouraged – it’s far less cute when you can’t make it stop).
  • Jumping up (again, this looks adorable but is best discouraged – a good rule of thumb is to quietly praise your puppy when all four feet are on the floor). Jumping up as a greeting can be turned into conditioning your puppy to sit by your feet to say hello. This is a great habit to get into.

In terms of bite inhibition, teach your pup right away that nips are not for humans. This will keep you in good stead when your puppy meets small children and other dogs.

There are lots of different behaviours puppies will display as they learn. It’s important that you have already laid down some ground rules for behaviour before you get home with your little one to be reasonably consistent with

Dogs and Children

Naturally children find puppies very exciting, but of course dogs are animals ad owning one is a priviledge. Dogs aren’t toys, they have their limits. Here are some ways to help your children understand how to respect and care for their new buddy:

  1. Never wake a sleeping dog (startled dogs can be unpredictable).
  2. A dog’s bed is theirs to retire to when they’ve had enough, so no children in the dog’s crate.
  3. Be gentle and kind
  4. Reward good behaviours with food (eg: sit)
  5. Stop and wait if play gets too rough.

It’s important to remember that dogs are animals. As babies themselves, they have a lot to learn.

Dogs do not have an internal moral compass guiding their behaviour. They need to be taught how to behave appropriately, one step at a time. If your children know they are their puppy’s teacher and guide, they will understand the structure of the relationship and enjoy their new found responsibility immensely.

Now that you know what to expect and how to prepare for the first two days with your puppy, I hope you will feel relaxed and ready for the next chapter of your life. Dogs are truly amazing creatures with so much intelligence.

The next steps:

  • getting used to your routine
  • repetitions for commands
  • reducing the use of food rewards
  • secondary reinforcements for good behaviour
  • heel work and recall

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The First 48 Hours with your Puppy – What to Expect & How to Prepare
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