You've just brought home your new puppy. Where do you start? For the next few days, your life will revolve around puppy's needs and schedule, so begin that first minute by getting him into a regular routine.

As you develop your daily care schedule, remember that young puppies can't control their bladders well and need to be let out about every three to four hours. Normally, they'll also need to relieve themselves following playtime and after drinking or eating.

If the breeder fed and exercised him at certain times, try to implement the same schedule in your home. If changes need to be made, do so gradually to help puppy adapt.

 First day
As soon as puppy arrives, show him where his "potty area" will be and allow him time to relieve himself and stretch his legs. Next, bring him inside to his crate for some quiet time. While he's in his crate, puppy can look around and start to check out his surroundings. Do not overwhelm puppy immediately with too many new people, pets or strange situations. Talk to puppy and try to soothe any fears he may have.

After a brief nap, let puppy out for a potty break and some supervised playtime and petting. If it's time, feed the puppy, take him out again, then let him go back into his crate. As the day passes, introduce puppy gradually to his new home and family.

Stick to a familiar routine. Show him he is welcome and puppy will begin to settle happily into your household.
 First night
Some puppies may cry throughout the night because they miss their old home and litter mates. It's best to keep puppy's crate next to your bed for the first week or two. Put a safe chew toy and a familiar smelling towel or blanket from puppy's first home into his crate. If possible, hang your arm over the bed so that puppy can lick your fingers or smell your scent until he falls asleep.

In cases where puppy has to sleep in a room away from you, a night light and a ticking clock or soft music may help him to sleep better.

Most puppies will need to be taken outside during the night and again early in the morning to relieve themselves.
 First day home alone
When you return to work and puppy has to spend his first day alone, there are some steps to help make it easier for him.

Before you leave, put puppy out for his potty break. Feed him in his crate while you're getting ready. Let him out again to relieve himself, then allow some play or exercise time. Return him to his crate with some safe toys before leaving. Give the puppy a bowl of ice to lap instead of water, since you won't be there to let him out.

Leave on a radio for pup while you're gone. If you have an answering machine, call and talk to the puppy during the day.

Someone will need to come home for lunch and let the puppy out for a potty break. If a family member can't do the job, ask a neighbour or relative, or hire a pet sitter.

When you return home, greet your puppy and resume his normal schedule. Spend some time -- playing, teaching him and being together -- and enjoy each other's company.
Puppy First Days
Puppy Dental Pain
When Dog Eats Bad Things
Puppy & Dog Vaccination
Choosing the Right Puppy Dog
Training a Puppy
Puppy Growth & Development
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