Your Puppy's First Night: 5 Top Tips for Getting them Settled In
After an exciting day exploring their new home and getting to know the family, your puppy will be ready for a rest - as will you! Despite their playful and energetic nature, puppies need lots of sleep - some can snooze for up to 20 hours a day at first, but this reduces over time - so it’s important to remember to let them snooze throughout the day and not try keep them awake.
The first night can be challenging for your fluffy new family member. Remember, they’ve left behind all they’ve ever known and are now in a new home surrounded by lots of different sights and smells, all without the familiar comfort of their siblings or mother - so it’s no surprise they may feel a little anxious. Although they may find it difficult to settle at first, don’t worry, they’ll soon get used to their new surroundings. Here are some tips to help get them through their first few nights in their new home.
1. Choose the right space
Everyone has their own thoughts on where they want their dog to sleep. For some, it’s in the utility, under the stairs or the kitchen, for others it’s in their room. Whatever you decide, remember that dogs thrive off routine, and that it’s hard to un-train them after they develop a habit like sleeping on your bed!
Be sure to pick a spot that’s free from draughts, quiet and safe to put your crate or puppy pen. This designated-doggy space would ideally be on a wipeable surface to protect your carpets from any toilet training accidents and away from anything that could be used as a chew toy. Keep any small objects your pup could choke on, and anything potentially toxic like medicine and cleaning products, out of reach - puppies are incredibly curious and will put everything in their mouth they can find!
2. Create a safe and secure place to sleep
It’s important to designate your pup their own safe space from day one so they have a quiet place to go to relax or sleep in peace, escaping the hustle and bustle of a busy home. Make sure they’ve got a cosy bed to snuggle into, which you can make more comforting by adding a ‘puppy heat pad’ - try to avoid hot water bottles as they can be chewed. Try adding a plug-in night light so it’s not completely pitch black as they try to get to sleep, which can make your pup more anxious.
It’s also a good idea to get something that smells like the pup’s mother in there with them for the first few weeks as they adjust to life away from the familiarity of their four-legged family. A ticking clock can be useful to have in the room to reassure your puppy as it emulates the heartbeats of its fluffy siblings, but don’t put it anywhere they can get to it and chew it!
Whether you choose to crate train your pooch, or simply have an designated space for them, it’s important to keep them in a contained area at night during the first few weeks while they settle in - not only to keep them safe from wandering about at night unsupervised but also to keep any toilet training accidents to one spot - which leads us nicely on to...puppy proofing!
3. Puppy proofing
During the early stages of toilet-training, your pup may have little accidents throughout the day and night. As we mentioned earlier, your designated-doggy space should preferably have a wipeable floor so that cleaning up after any accidents is easy and stain-free. As they’re getting the hang of going outside to do their business, be sure to put down some puppy pads around them and under their bed at night time, newspaper works well too. This needs to be changed throughout the day, not only to keep it clean and smelling fresh but also so no one stamps it around the house! Despite being consistent with your toilet-training routine, accidents happen, but it’s important to not get mad at your puppy as they’re still learning and will get the hang of it with lots of positive reinforcement and structure.
4. Pre-bed time toilet trip
Although it’s likely your puppy will have an accident or two in the night, it doesn’t mean you can’t give it the best chance of making it through. A few hours before your pooch’s bedtime, be sure to have lots of fun play time with them to get them nice and tired, ready for a good night's sleep - do not let them nap close to bedtime or you’re setting you both up for a long night ahead!
Make sure you remove any food or water as it gets closer to bedtime and just before it’s time to go to lights out, take your pup outside to go to the toilet and wait until they’ve done their business - this can take time as the great outdoors is an exciting place to explore for your pup, but be patient and reward them so they learn it's good behaviour.
5. During the night
After you’ve tired your puppy out with lots of pre-bed play time, and they’ve been out to the toilet, it’s time for bed. Give them a little cuddle and place them in their crate or designated sleeping space without making a fuss, then leave the room. Avoid closing the door completely as your puppy may feel abandoned, instead, place a blanket over their crate or pull the door partly shut. You’ll no doubt hear them whine and cry, but setting the tone on the first night is really important so resist the temptation to go in and cuddle them as it will make the following nights even harder - it’ll really pull on your heart strings but stay strong! Don’t worry, your puppy is safe and warm, soon they’ll tire themselves out and go to sleep.
It’s likely your puppy will whine during the night as they may need the toilet. Without fussing over them, simply put them on a lead and take them outside so they get used to toilet training, then put them back into bed. As tempting as it might be to sit and cuddle or play with them, remember that you’re training your pup to know that night time is for sleeping, which they’ll get used to after a couple of weeks if you stick at it! Expect to get up two or three times per night during the first few weeks as your pooch gets used to going to the toilet outside, but as they get older they will be able to make it through without any bathroom breaks.
In the morning, your puppy will be full of excitement and energy for the new day ahead. Be sure to take them straight outside to the toilet, and reward them for doing their business, this helps them get to grips with their toilet-training routine and learn to wait to relieve themselves until morning.
Puppies have a lot of learning and growing to do, which is hungry work, so it’s important they’re fed a healthy, nutrient-rich diet. Try our Harringtons Puppy Complete, a complete pet food that can be fed to puppies from 3 weeks onwards. It’s been carefully formulated to provide wholesome nutrition for growing puppies and contains no artificial colours or flavours, no dairy, no soya and no added wheat. As well as being super tasty, and providing your pup with all the goodness they need, other benefits include:
A balanced ratio of Omega 6 & 3 oils for a glossy coat
- Seaweed — a natural source of vitamins, minerals & trace elements
- Turkey — a good source of protein for energy, growth and repair
- Vitamin E & Omega 3 to help support a healthy immune system
- Prebiotic FOS, to help maintain a healthy digestion.
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