This week I am babysitting a puppy for my brother in law. Not one of my French Brittany puppies, but he has a new puppy and was called unexpectedly out of town. Why did I step up to help with a puppy that wasn’t of my breeding when I have puppies here to take care of currently? Because this first week of a puppies life is so important. 

This week begins to establish most importantly house training, feeding schedules, training and playing schedules, socialization, bonding and so on. But I would argue the most important is housetraining because if it is started here, it is so much harder later. Also socialization because biologically this is the window in their brain where that is possible. 

Covid showed many people what we have said all along. If you miss the window to socialize a puppy, you can try behavior modification to teach them what to do in certain situations, but you can never go back and socialize a puppy who missed the opportunity. That door is closed. The result is an often fearful or timid dog that lacks confidence especially with new stimulus.

Bringing a puppy into your home is an exciting adventure filled with cuddles, playtime, and unforgettable moments. However, it’s also a crucial period for setting the foundation for a healthy, happy relationship between you and your new furry friend. To help you navigate these initial days, we’ve compiled an essential guide covering everything from preparing your home to establishing a training routine. Let’s embark on this journey together, ensuring your puppy’s first week at home is as joyful and stress-free as possible.

Preparing Your Home

First things first: puppy-proofing your home is paramount. Puppies are naturally curious and will explore their new environment by sniffing, licking, and chewing on anything they can find. Remove any hazardous items, secure electrical cords, and ensure small objects that could be swallowed are out of reach. Creating a safe, welcoming space will prevent accidents and help your puppy feel secure.

Consider setting up a designated area for your puppy, equipped with a comfortable bed, water bowl, and toys. This will be their safe haven where they can relax and retreat when overwhelmed or tired.

The Importance of Crate Training

Crate training is highly recommended by experts as it provides your puppy with a sense of security and aids in housebreaking. The crate should be viewed as a positive space, so never use it as punishment. Introduce your puppy to their crate gradually, starting with short periods and gradually increasing the time they spend inside. Ensure the crate is comfortable, with soft bedding and a few toys for entertainment.

Managing Playtimes and Rest

Puppies have boundless energy but also require plenty of rest. Establish a routine that balances playtime with nap times. Engaging in play helps with socialization and physical development, while scheduled rest ensures they don’t become overtired, which can lead to crankiness and behavioral issues.

Socialization: A Key to Well-Rounded Pups

Socialization is introducing your puppy to a variety of experiences, environments, people, and other animals in a controlled, positive manner. It’s crucial for their development and helps prevent fearfulness and aggression later in life. Begin by inviting friends over to gently interact with your puppy and consider enrolling in a puppy socialization class once they’re adequately vaccinated.

Housebreaking 101

Housebreaking, or potty training, should start immediately. Consistency is key. Take your puppy outside to the same spot regularly, especially after meals, playtimes, and naps. Praise and reward them immediately after they’ve done their business outside. Be patient and expect accidents; never punish your puppy as it could lead to anxiety and confusion.

Feeding Your Furry Friend

Consult with your vet about the best diet for your puppy. Stick to a feeding schedule, typically three to four times a day, and avoid overfeeding. A consistent diet not only aids in housebreaking but also supports healthy growth and development.

Product Recommendations

  • Crate: Choose a sturdy, size-appropriate crate that can grow with your puppy.
  • Chew Toys: Invest in durable chew toys to keep your puppy entertained and support healthy teeth development.
  • Training Treats: Small, low-calorie treats are perfect for training sessions.
  • Puppy Pads: Useful for early housebreaking, especially if you live in an apartment.
  • Grooming Supplies: A gentle puppy shampoo, brush, and nail clippers will keep your puppy looking and feeling great.

Concluding Thoughts

The first week with your new puppy is a critical time for bonding, training, and establishing routines. By following these guidelines and embracing the journey with patience and love, you’ll set the stage for a lifetime of happiness and companionship with your new best friend. Remember, every puppy is unique, so adapt these tips to suit your puppy’s specific needs and personality. Welcome to the wonderful world of dog ownership!