The first few days

I can pretty much guarantee the first few days with your puppy will be noisy. Please be prepared and don’t be discouraged or think you are doing something wrong if it’s still going on days later. Each puppy is different and will adapt at a different rate.

He (or she) has just left the only home and family they have ever know in their short life, plus their littermates, and/or playmates, aunties, and other familiar canines. It is an adjustment and can be stressful.

But don’t worry, you and your puppy will survive!

The key is to be patient, to be consistent, to set boundaries and stick with them. Don’t give in to the puppy screams and cries. If you do, you have just set yourself back. Don’t let your puppy train you!

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have a containment area for your puppy. This will be his/her home within your home. There are not too many people who can watch a puppy 24/7, so your puppy will need a safe place to hang out when you can’t actively watch your puppy (a nine-week-old puppy that is loose in your house might squat to pee every twenty to thirty minutes), you’re busy, you have to go to work, or even leave the house for a couple hours.

I love using an Iris pen for this purpose. You can buy the Iris pen on Amazon, Chewy or various sites. Make sure you buy the taller pen (48″). Don’t be tempted to buy the cute shorter version for your tiny puppy. Puppies grow and some of these Cavapoos are part monkey and learn quickly how to get out. Creative adopters sometimes use a piece of lattice and zip ties to cover the top if needed.

The bigger pen usually comes with eight panels that are easily connected with a metal rod at each joint. I normally start a puppy in a six-paneled pen and save the extra panels to expand it later as the puppy grows. In the pen, I place a small crate with a bed or blanket, food and water dishes, a couple toys, and the all-important litter box.

Your puppy has been using a litter box since it was about four-weeks-old and knows what it is for. You can have the litter box available when you are not there to take your puppy outside to potty. And yes, you can still teach your puppy to go outside to potty and have the litter box around for those occasions when going outside is not an option.

So back to the first few days….

Having a new puppy at home to love, cuddle and play with is so much fun!

But make sure, even if you’re a family where someone is always home, to get your puppy used to their area from the very beginning. It is so much easier to set the standard from the beginning then to let your puppy do whatever it wants for the first few days and then try to introduce the containment area.

When you first put your puppy in that pen be very matter-of-fact. Don’t fuss over your puppy or make a big deal about it. Set puppy in the pen and go about your business. Most times, the puppy will immediately begin to “complain”.  It might be anywhere from a slight whimper to an all-out scream! This is the hard part (especially if you have young children at home), ignore the puppy.

Sometimes it helps to put a blanket over the front of the pen so the puppy can still hear you, but not see you. Playing soothing music can be calming or having a high value treat such as a bully stick or raw bone to gnaw on can be helpful. If your puppy quiets down even for a few seconds at first, praise him/her or use that time to take him/her outside for a potty break or even just a short cuddle.

But as soon as you walk away, the crying will start again. But be consistent, don’t give in to the cries, reward the periods of quiet. Of course, you will have time with your puppy playing and doing other things outside of his/her containment area, but make sure there is enough “pen time” at the start of this journey so your puppy learns to be content in “home-base”.

The first few days or even week will be noisy and chaotic, but if you stick to the plan it will get better!

Here are some videos I did of Ivy (formerly Thistle) after her littermates left. She was staying an extra week with us. These are from her first day “alone”.








And five days later her she is, not perfectly content yet as we still get a little whining sometimes but oh, so much better!


 

 

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4 Responses to The first few days

  1. Kara says:

    This is wonderful information! The youtube videos were really helpful too so I could see exactly the kind of set up we’ll need. Thank you so much for posting! 😀

    Like

  2. Diana Vigneau says:

    This is a great post which would be very useful to many puppy clients. Do you mind if I print it (without the pictures) to hand out to new puppy owners? 🐶

    Diana Vigneau, DVM 234 Barbourtown Rd Canton, CT 06019 860-539-0174

    4 Creek Lane Nantucket, MA 02554 508-228-1781

    >

    Like

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