What to expect on your first day with a new puppy...
Step 1: Stay home for the first day or two while your puppy gets used to you, his new family, and his new environment.
Step 2: Only fools—and puppies—rush in! Keep your puppy confined to a small area at first. New people, smells, and places may cause him to get confused and overexcited. Let him explore his new environment one room at a time.
Step 3: Decide where you’d like your puppy to use the bathroom. This may be in a certain spot outdoors or on a puppy pad. No matter what, be consistent! Guide him there on a leash to start and use a command, like “potty!” Be sure to reward him when he eliminates, and eventually he’ll go there on his own.
Step 4: Introduce him to the people and other pets that will be in his life slowly. Keep the interaction calm and positive, especially where small children are concerned. Don’t let them pick up the puppy, but rather encourage them to hold them in their laps so the puppy doesn’t get scared or injured.
Step 5: Let him get used to his new family and environment before overwhelming him with friends and neighbors
Step 6: Save the dog park for another day! Your new puppy likely hasn’t received all of his vaccinations yet, and he shouldn’t interact with strange dogs until he does.
Step 7: Set boundaries! Make sure you have rules in place before your dog comes home and begin enforcing them on day 1. For example, don’t allow your new puppy to sleep in bed with you on the first day if you don’t want him there permanently. Doing so will only cause confusion and make it harder to enforce a different rule later on. If your puppy seems upset, try placing a crate next to the bed and reaching in to comfort him instead.
Step 8: Make a vet appointment! Your veterinarian will want to meet your pup right away to ensure he’s healthy and discuss how you can help him stay that way.
It’s the day you’ve been waiting for! Your new puppy is home. What do you do now? Where do you start? Follow these guidelines to ensure you create the kind of bond that lasts a lifetime: