puppy's first night at home

How to Survive Your Puppy’s First Night at Home

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A good while ago, I brought my new puppy home. It was very exciting and I was so nervous if she would like her new place. But it is always more exciting for the pup. Imagine being with your littermates and parents for 8 weeks and then simply get taken away by strangers and being separated for the first time.

This is one of the most stressful moments in a dog’s life and we want your puppy’s first night to be as pleasant for everyone as possible.

The First Few Moments

Be sure that before you bring your puppy home for the first night, you have puppy-proofed your house prior to this. This means no cords hanging around, no expensive things that he could chew on, no small objects laying on the ground, etc.

When your puppy arrives, close the doors to as many rooms as possible or keep him from entering different areas by using baby gates. Start with a small space for him to investigate. This whole situation is overwhelming in itself, so you don’t have to overstrain him with a huge house or apartment. Give him plenty of time, talk to him throughout the process and NEVER leave him unsupervised.

Taking Your Puppy Outside

The next step should be taking your puppy outside to relieve himself. That’s when you should determine a spot where your puppy will pee every day from now on.

Introduce a command for peeing outside! I cannot tell you how valuable this tip was. It not only saves you time (because someday your puppy will pee immediately on command) but it also helps the puppy quickly identify where his pee spot is located and it will speed up the potty training process. You can also use a command for pooping outside.

How to do it: Quickly walk to the spot outside on a leash and wait for your puppy to relieve himself. When he starts peeing, repeat your chosen command until he is finished and then shower him with lots and lots of praise.

Potty training can be very frustrating. I can tell from my own experience. You have to take your puppy out every 10- 30 minutes. Now if you have my puppy, it eventually can happen that you wait outside in the cold morning for 2 hours and she magically doesn’t have to pee. Then you put her inside and she will immediately relieve herself right in the doorway.

My advice would be to get your puppy outside wait for him to pee and poop. If he doesn’t relieve himself than simply go inside after 10 minutes and try again in a couple of minutes. That way your puppy will learn that you don’t wait for him the whole day.

Approach your puppy with understanding and don’t get mad when things like this happen. We got Amalia in mid-winter and young dogs just hate relieving themselves in snow or rain.

Recommended Reading: How to Housetrain Your Puppy

Puppy’s First Night

I always advise everyone to get a crate for their dog. I wrote a whole blog post on this topic which you can check out here: 4 Steps to Crate Train Your Puppy. I bought the  AmazonBasics Single Door & Double Door Folding Metal Dog Crate and can highly recommend it.

If you have set up everything correctly for the night, be sure to consider these steps:

  1. Keep your puppy busy in the evening so he will be dead tired by bedtime.
  2. Withhold food and water for a few hours before bedtime therefore your puppy is less likely to pee himself.
  3. Get him outside just before you put him into the crate. Let him poop and pee (although my puppy never pooped in the evening, you still have to give him the chance).
  4. Be sure to place the crate close to your bed so you can hear your puppy at any time.
  5. Place everything you need for taking your puppy outside close to your bed. Nothing is worse than searching for socks in the middle of the night.
  6. Expect to get like no sleep at all (I felt plain dead for weeks).

Crying and Whining in the Crate

Now there is a very crucial point in crate training, especially in the first few nights. Prepare yourself that your puppy will be crying at night (a lot!) and it can get very loud.

You might think that your puppy is whining for no reason but there is a difference between crying because he needs to go outside and whining for attention. Yes, puppies cry for attention. They are separate from their family for the first time ever and everything is new to them. Do not get mad at your dog for doing so.

It might be enough for your puppy to be occupied in the crate to prevent the whining. For my dog, I bought a puppy Kong and the Puppy Chew Teething Rope Toys Set. Stay away from any small, swallowable objects and always supervise your puppy.

If you are sure that your puppy has just relieved himself and everything else is okay then your pup might be crying for attention. I know that it is very heartbreaking to hear but if you give in and let your puppy have your attention, he will learn “Oh, when I cry mummy will wake up and come to me.”

Recommended Reading: 4 Steps to Crate Train Your Puppy

How to Make a Puppy Stop Crying at Night

This is called learned crying and it will start at night one. Learned crying is very hard to get rid of once it has been rewarded. The best way would be to ignore any noises until he settles down and then you would praise him for that. If you live in an apartment, like me, you simply cannot afford a puppy waking everybody in the middle of the night and I just wanted to sleep.

I made the mistake to take her out of the crate and bring her to the couch because that was the ONLY place she would settle down. Don’t make this mistake you will regret it. It took me a very long time to get rid of her behavior and I knew it was my fault.

The best thing I could find on the internet was a video on Youtube. I can ensure you that nothing could help her crying at night and I got like three hours of sleep max but this video was gold. I will link it for you below. It is so simple and looks weird but believe me, so effective.

It usually took me one hour every time to get her to sleep again and this technique has helped me so much. The key is to be consistent and patient and not give in to your puppy’s crying although it sometimes sounds terrifying.

Should I Let My Puppy Sleep with Me?

This is a great question many new owners ask themselves during the first few nights. They think that a little physical contact might help with the crying and separation anxiety.

I can only advise you to resist the urge to cuddle up with your new friend in bed for several reasons. The first being, that we want to establish the crate as your dog’s safe place. Although you may imagine your bed to be the coziest spot on earth, the huge space and missing walls surrounding the area seem very daunting to your dog.

Puppies love enclosed spaces that have just enough room for them to turn around in and get comfortable. Most beds have three open sides that your dog can easily fall over and even injure himself. You would also have to be very careful to not roll over your puppy while sleeping.

If your puppy isn’t confined at night, he will eventually get up, walk around unsupervised and maybe find a good spot to pee in. The crate also defines how your puppy will start his day. Will he wake up and be able to run through the house or will he have to wait calmly inside his crate until let out?

First 48 Hours With a New Puppy

The first 48 hours with your puppy are a crucial time period. If you stick to the tips mentioned above, you will be set up for a great future. Continue on implementing a strict routine including potty breaks, meal times and exercise.

This routine schedule could look something like this:

The closer you stick to this routine, the quicker your puppy will adjust to your daily life.

Spend a lot of time with your puppy and bond during little play and training sessions. Bonding is incredibly important and will define your future relationship. Learning how to bond with your dog the right way will build a strong emotional connection.

Puppy Tips for the First Week

The first topic you will be confronted with is socialization. The socialization period is the most important stage in your dog’s life and mainly happens from 3-16 weeks of age.

If you want to learn more about socialization, make sure to read my puppy socialization guide that will teach you everything you need to know. Now is also the time to schedule the first appointment with your vet for a health check and vaccination.

Continue on the potty training and really stick to your schedule. No matter how frustrating the accidents inside can be, stay consistent and calm with the training.

Visit puppy training classes if you don’t have any prior experience. Although training classes are necessary, play sessions definitely are. Your puppy will learn the most about bite inhibition and proper play by interacting with dogs his age.

Biting, chewing and nipping are big concerns for many new dog owners. During the teething period, your puppy will need something to chew own that soothes his pain. Meanwhile, you will start with bite inhibition training to teach your puppy that he is not allowed to bite on skin or clothes.

During the first week, you can begin with short training sessions, teaching your puppy the basic commands. He is already able to learn sit, down, stay, leave it, come and release. For specific training steps, read more here: 6 Basic Dog Training Obedience Commands.

Good luck to all of you new puppy parents! How was your first night with your pup? Let me know and leave any questions or suggestions in the comments down below.

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10 Comments

  1. This is gold!! We just rescued our 6th month old pup and the cage technique has helped so much! At 1:00 am, I used it and didn’t hear another peep!! Thank you!!

    • It’s so great isn’t it? I was blown away when I first used it and I am glad that it helped you too! Thanks for your comment.

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