Getting Settled In - Your Puppy's First Week Home

For those who have just brought your new puppy home, this lecture is for you! Puppies need some time to get settled into their new homes, get acquainted with human and pet family members, and become accustomed to their new routine.

I find that often, we are really eager to get our puppies started on socialization - and forget that everything in their life is already really new to them during this stage. Before you start taking your puppy out and about, we want to make sure that he or she is comfortable in their new home first! Puppies are hard wired to have a 'home base' and going from one home to the next—cold turkey—isn't really something we can avoid, but we can make it a bit easier by giving the puppy some time to adjust, and develop their new comfort zone in their new home base, before expecting them to deal with more and more new things.

Consider the puppy's first week with your family as 'orientation' week. During this week, the priority is to help the puppy get settled in and become accustomed to their new world, family and routines. This week does not require any road trips or excessive adventuring (perhaps you'll need a trip to the vet for a required checkup, shots or meet and necessary trips like this shouldn't be avoided—but you can definitely avoid extra or frivolous adventuring during this time).

What we want to establish during this orientation week are things like: Who are the puppies' family members? Who will do the puppy feeding and what time do meals occur? When is it time for bed and time to wake up? Where will puppy sleep and where will they be during the day? Who are the other pet members of the family and which ones can the puppy interact with, and which might need some separation for now? Which doors lead to the outdoors for potty business? How often does puppy need to potty? What are some of the regular sounds and smells in the neighborhood?

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