McNeil Labradors

 Your Puppy’s Arrival 

Adopting a puppy sweeps us away with blind enthusiasm.  The thought of a new puppy brings excitement, and an incredible challenge that awaits us.   Developing a healthy relationship is especially important very early, and requires a lot of thought and dedication from you.  Assuming that this puppy will be a very important part of your life for the next 12-15 years, it makes sense that the first few days should be the foundation for the future.   

Plan your puppy’s pick up from the breeder, ride home, and introduction to his new life so that you’ll have ample time such as a weekend or vacation, available to begin his life with you properly.  

Plan to spend time with your puppy when you arrive at the breeder’s home.  Pay close attention to instructions from the breeder and ask questions.  It’s a good idea to write a list of questions beforehand.  If the breeder temperament tested the litter, ask how your puppy scored and ask the breeder for suggestions for handling this particular puppy to avoid errors during the first few weeks of your time with the puppy.  Make sure you get written information on vaccinations, worming, microchip, pedigree, AKC registration papers, feeding, grooming, and general care instructions and guarantee.  It is important to pay particular attention to feeding instructions as sudden changes in diet add to an already stressful situation, and can lead to loss of appetite and diarrhea.  Hopefully your breeder will have a “puppy package” or book that contains this information as well as information on training, recommended reading, and a copy of the Breed Standard.  Make sure you understand how to complete any paperwork (AKC Registration) that you will need to submit for your puppy’s registration. 

Ask someone to accompany you to the breeder’s home, and allow that person to drive you home while you hold your puppy in your lap or sitting next to you on a towel on the seat.  If you don’t have someone to go with you, use a crate.  The ride home should be as relaxed as possible. 

After the ride home, take your puppy to the yard where you want him to eliminate.  He’ll probably need a break after the ride home and the excitement of getting there.

Allow him several hours to settle down before offering him food.  Puppies typically need to eliminate first thing in the morning, after eating or drinking, waking up from a nap, after periods of play, and just before going to bed at night.  Take the puppy outside and wait 10-15 minutes if necessary for him to eliminate.  If he accomplishes his mission, give him a lot of praise.  If he’s not interested, take him back inside for a few minutes then try taking him out again.  This is getting off to a good start with your training, and will be helpful when you introduce him to the crate. 

Young puppies sleep a lot and should have several naps morning and afternoon.  Make sure that you provide a safe place, hopefully a crate, for the puppy when you can’t supervise his activity, however, don’t isolate him from activity. 

It isn’t uncommon for a new puppy not to eat for the first 24 hours.  A good indication that he’s adjusting to his new surroundings is eating. If however, he continues to refuse all food after 24 hours, a call to your breeder or veterinarian may be in order.  

The first night away from littermates can often be traumatic with incessant restlessness and whining.  Please do not isolate the puppy as this only makes it worse to teach him to be alone in the future.  The best method for preventing night trauma is to put the puppy in a crate and allow him to sleep in your bedroom.  If he starts to whine and becomes restless, a tap on the top of the crate with a gentle “No” or “Quiet” works well.  This works because the puppy wants the security of being with you. 

Hopefully, you’ve already scheduled a visit to the veterinarian for your puppy’s follow up vaccinations as prescribed by the breeder.  It is a good idea to schedule this visit as early in the day as possible to prevent sitting in the waiting area with your new puppy around sick dogs.  Also, take a towel with you to cover the exam table.  Tables don’t always get wiped off when people get real busy. 

Keep in mind that going to a new home will be an abrupt change, so don’t pack your puppy’s first few days with new experiences.  Keep the introduction to your household quiet and allow bonding time between you and your puppy to take place in a relaxed environment.  For the first few days, take time to ease the puppy into the new routine, and let him adjust to you, your family, and his new surroundings before introducing him the rest of the world.  

Remember, always know where the puppy is and what he’s doing.  The first few days are important because the puppy’s initial impressions can be long remembered.  It’s much easier to teach good habits than to change undesirable ones.  

McNeil Labradors
Statesville, NC 28677

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Last Updated:  January 29, 2008

© Copyright 2001 - 2008 by Margo Carter, McNeil Labradors, All Rights Reserved.
Page Created By:  Margo Carter, McNeil Labradors

  Thought For The Day:

"We give dogs time we can spare, space we can
spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's
the best deal man has ever made." - M. Facklam