Welcoming Your New Puppy Home
Welcoming your new puppy home is an exciting event. It can also be a stressful event, but you can make it less so by following a few tips. If possible, bring the new puppy home at the beginning of a weekend or vacation so you don't have to dash off to work the next day. You should plan to puppy-proof your home before bringing in your new pup, so that he has a safe place to call home.
As tempting as it is to invite all your friends to meet the new family member, now is not the time to confuse him further. It's the time for him to realize who is in his new family and to start bonding with you. There will be plenty of time for him to meet everyone later.
If you have other pets, introduce them gradually. The best way to introduce dogs is away from your home, so the original dog won't feel territorial. If the new puppy knows how to walk on a leash, walking them side by side is a good way to let them get to know one another. Bring lots of treats for the older dog, and be liberal with them in exchange for his good behavior. Always favor the older dog over the new puppy, and don't let the puppy jump all over him unless the older dog likes it. Once inside, it may be a good idea to keep them separated unless you're supervising. Even tolerant older dogs can tire of a puppy's exuberance. When this happens, the older dog will probably growl and even snap, scaring but not biting the puppy. This is normal adult dog behavior that tells the puppy enough is enough. It's not OK, however, for your older dog to go after your puppy aggressively without provocation. Placing the puppy in an exercise pen is an ideal way to acclimate them to each other and give the older dog a break while keeping the puppy safe.
The best way to introduce your dog to a cat is to make sure the cat can get up out and of the way. Hold the puppy on a leash so he can't chase the cat. Don't let the puppy corner or pester the cat, because the cat could scratch him severely. Again, feeding them close to one another, but with the puppy in an exercise pen, is a good way to get them used to each other.
Give the puppy a chance to relieve himself in the area you’ve decided will be his potty area. Then let him explore in the yard or house, always supervised, of course. Prepare his meal and let him eat it in a secure place such as his crate or sleeping area. Then take him outside to eliminate again. When he starts to tire, put him in his sleeping quarters.
Your puppy's first night away from his old family is going to be confusing and, very likely, frightening. Do not make him sleep all by himself in another room. Even if you don’t intend for him to stay in your bedroom in the future, make an exception so he has some company at first. If that's not an option, camp out next to him in his sleeping quarters for the night. If possible, have him sleep in a crate next to your bed rather than having him sleep directly on the bed. A very small puppy could fall off the bed, or you could roll over on him and crush him, so a crate protects him. You can place the crate on the bed if he's uneasy on the floor. The crate should have plenty of soft bedding in it, as well as a stuffed toy he can use as a surrogate littermate.
If your puppy is too uneasy to fall asleep all alone, let him fall asleep next to you outside the crate. When he’s snoozing soundly, pick him up and place him in the crate. He may awaken momentarily but will fall back asleep. Chances are he will wake up crying several times the first few nights. Traditional dog-rearing advice warned owners not to give in to the dog’s crying. But ignoring him when he most needs reassurance only teaches him that he can’t depend on you for help. Some dog behaviorists now believe such a situation may actually contribute to separation anxiety in adulthood. They instead recommend comforting the puppy if he cries so he learns he has some control over his environment. That doesn’t mean you spend the rest of your life rushing in at the slightest cry, but it does mean you acknowledge his distress and attend to his basic needs, such as comforting him or taking him to relieve himself. Then you put him back in his bed.
Expect to get up once or possibly twice in the night to let him relieve himself. Also expect to get up very early. You'll want to get up early anyway---you've got the whole day to spend with your new family member!