The First 24 Hours: Bringing Your Puppy Home

puppy's first day home

Introduce Her to YOUR Surroundings.

Fewer things bring as much joy as the love of a new puppy. The challenge for you as a new pet owner (and responsible pet parent) is to develop a consistent pattern for your pup. This means establishing a routine right away…and staying consistent with that routine for at least 7 consecutive days. This is critical to proper development of your pup and will help establish the relationship between the two of you. Here are a few reminders as you welcome your little one into your new home.

Introducing Her to Her New Environment

Take your dog throughout your house to introduce her to your surroundings. It will all be new to her so this is the time to establish some boundaries. Don’t rush this. Let her get acclimated. Take the time to close closet doors, pick up small items off the floor, and make her feel welcome. Your new dog needs affection, rest and time to explore and adjust to her new home.Keep her on a leash and teach her that she is a guest in your home

This is a good time to use a tie down. The tie down is a short plastic coated wire cable with a snap on one end and a loop on the other. It should be about 18 inches in length so that your furry baby can remain in a confined area.
The tie down will help with housebreaking, calming her, preventing destructive tendencies and security. It may seem counterintuitive, but she will appreciate your signals for setting her boundaries and, in most cases, she will respond accordingly.

playtime for puppy

A typical day involves play!

From Morning to Evening: What Her Typical Day Looks Like

Your puppy will thrive on a routine and will be able to adapt more readily to her new environment when you keep that stable routine for her. The routine may look something like:

Wake Up – Play – Eat – A Walk – Sleep

It’s important to keep this daily sequence and to keep her on the same time schedule. Ideally, a puppy under 16 weeks should be fed three times a day. So if her wake up time is
6 a.m. her day might look like this:
6 a.m.           Wake up and let out to be relieved (she should be on her tie back)
6:10 a.m.     Play time. Puppies have a lot of energy and will usually wake up ready for a game of tug of war. It’s best to indulge her and allow her to work off that extra energy.
6:30 a.m.    Morning feeding, then again at noon, and then one final feeding at five or six p.m.A walk is recommended to help her expend her energy and prepare her settle in for the evening.
Once you determine her bedtime, stick to that schedule! Making sure she gets a good night’s rest is important to both of you!!! And everyone else in the household, for that matter!


Sleep Well, Little One

This will be a big challenge for the first few nights…there’s no easy way around it. There are instances for crating but I recommend this simple technique. Have a carpet remnant ready to use as a bed for your pup. Use the tie down to keep her on that remnant and let her know that this is her “BED”. As the lights go out, so must your dog!
Since she’s close to you, if she begins to bark or whine, you can more easily determine if she needs to relieve herself or she just needs you to scold her verbally . You can reinforce your verbal reprimands with a brisk shake of the dog by the scruff if the whining persists. This may seem harsh…but it is absolutely critical to establishing good boundaries and a healthy pet.

These are just three things to consider during the first few hours and days with your new furry family member. Be prepared to put in some work to create a positive first week at home. You’ll be glad that you invested the time and energy.

San-Diego-Dogman-BuddyAbout DogMan Mark Castillero…

DogMan Mark has trained over 9,000 dogs. He has been training dogs for over 40 years and is considered a leading expert in the field of dog training and animal behavior. Mark’s latest project is his new book, More Than a Dog Whisperer: Making it Big in the Dog Training Industry (slated to be published in early Fall this year). His goal is to help others achieve their dream of becoming dog trainers and his book will be chockfull of DogMan Mark Wisdom. To contact Mark, email him at or visit his website