Bringing home puppy - 3 things to make the transition easierby Martha Scully • June 21, 2011
Having a child is a life changing event for everyone, including your pets. Many pets are surrendered to shelters every year with the "we had a baby so we have no time for the pet" excuse. Being aware of the impacts on your pet and managing this event can often make the transition to parenthood easier for all involved, including your pet. Here are a few simple things you can do to ease this time.
First, ensure you have the same food that is currently being fed and feed on the same schedule. This is important to minimize potential stomach and digestive upsets during the initial transition. Changing food is stressful to pets, so save this transition until puppy is settled into your home. If you do not know the food puppy was eating and cannot get this information from the previous home, choose a good quality puppy food and follow the feeding instructions for weight and age.
Second, since pets are so scent oriented, it helps to have a blanket or stuffed toy that smells like puppy’s last home. Bring a clean blanket with you when you initially go to see the litter, if going through a breeder. This way if you make a selection from that litter you can leave the blanket with the breeder so it can be used by mom and the puppies until you bring it home again with your puppy. Having this mom-scented blanket to bring home with you will help puppy feel secure. If the day you bring puppy home is your first, bring the blanket with you then and let mom and the litter-mates touch and play with it as much as possible. Ask the breeder/owner to give mom a good rub including her belly. If the breeder allows, you can lay it in the litters’ regular sleeping and nursing area so it can pick up the scent of that space.
Third, and this is by far the most difficult one, have a sleeping space prepared for puppy and USE IT. It’s hard to resist the cries of your new puppy, but remember that once puppy has gotten used to sleeping somewhere, the habit will be set. So unless you plan to have puppy sleeping in your bed for the next 12 years, you should resist the urge to bring her there now. I highly recommend kennel training for puppies as it will simplify housebreaking and minimize puppy damage to your home and belongings. Having a small designated space for puppy to retreat when she is tired and needing a break will help her feel more confident and give you confidence knowing she is safe when you are not there to supervise. Of course if you are going to be away for hours at a time, then have a pet sitter or dog walker stop by to let puppy out for a few minutes for a bathroom and play break every 4 hours.
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