How to Settle in a Puppy in a New Home


This post is going to discuss preparing your home and how to settle in a puppy in a new home.  It’s a completely different world for them when they come to your house.  You need to know what to do to make the puppy as happy as possible  in their new home.

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Set-up for Puppy (Day of or Day Before the puppy comes home)

Are you ready for your puppy?  There are a few things you need to do:

    • First off, you’ll need to determine a puppy safe zone in your home.  This space needs to be puppy proofed.  It’s a lot like baby proofing a room.  Review the room and make sure all small objects that could be eaten or swallowed are removed from the space.  Look for cords that the puppy could chew on and either remove the items with cords or make them inaccessible.
    • Set up your puppy’s bed. If you missed the post with all of items you should get, click here for a list of what you should have for your puppy.

    • You’ll need to decide where to put the food and water bowls.  Find a place that will remain the same so the puppy doesn’t get confused.  Always keep the water bowl filled.  If you have another dog, make sure the food bowls are not right next to each other.  It’s better if they aren’t in the same room.  This is to prevent resource guarding from starting.
    • You’ll want to contact the breeder about the food the puppy is eating.  Sometimes you may not like the food that the breeder feeds but you should get a small bag or a partial bag from the breeder so that the food is the same as what the puppy is used to eating.  If you want to change the food, do so gradually by doing a small portion at a time until you are feeding just the food you want your puppy to eat.  You’ll also want to get the feeding schedule from the breeder as well.  You want the puppy to stress as little as possible and staying on the same feeding schedule with the same food will not add more stress.

    • If you bought a few toys before your puppy comes home, find an area for those as well.  I like to use a milk crate on its side so the puppy can pull the toy they’d like. It’s important to make sure the puppy has a chew toy.  Other toys can be determined by the puppy’s behavior.
    • If you have a fenced yard, make sure there aren’t any gaps the puppy could squeeze through.  Also determine if there is anything in the yard that is bad for the puppy.  Examples include Lillies, Tulip Bulbs, and other plants.  You will need to fence that area of the yard so the puppy can’t get to them or move them out of your yard.

The Puppy Arrives – Introductions

Now that you’ve prepared, it’s time to bring home the puppy.  They may or may not like to ride in cars.  If they’ve never been in a car they could be terrified and stressed.  Try to keep them as comfortable as can be on the drive home.

Immediately when you get home, take the puppy to where you would like them to relieve themselves.  Over the next few days you’ll need to establish a routine for the puppy to go outside. Showing him this space right away will help avoid some confusion.

When you get home, there could be a lot of excitement about the puppy.  While everybody wants to hold the puppy, it is best if introductions are done slowly and individually.  This should reduce the stress the puppy would have had with everybody wanting to hold him at once.

The puppy is already nervous and stressed as they have probably only met a few people during thier lives. Adding multiple new people can add more stress.  Sometimes treats can help the puppy warm up to new people but you only want to give them as a reward and sparingly.

The Puppy Arrives – Introductions to Other Dogs

If you have another dog, you may have to take time introducing them to the new puppy.  To start introductions, you should allow the dog and puppy to see each other at a distance. If all goes well, you can begin bringing them closer.  If it didn’t go well, continue introductions at a distance.

Over multiple sessions, repeat the above at a closer distance until your dog is able to sniff around the puppy.  After this, you can see how they interact and decide if more on the leash introductions are needed.  This can go quickly for some dogs and puppies but not always.  There is a possibility of this process taking couple weeks.  It may be more than that before you are comfortable with the idea of leaving them together unsupervised.

First Night

You may or may not be surprised, but night one in a new house is hard for a new puppy. This is especially true if they’ve never been separated from their mom at night.

Chances are, no matter how comfortable you make the puppy feel, night one won’t be easy for you.  The first night typically involves a lot of crying.  The puppy should be in a crate and this is probably new to them as well.  So between losing their mother and all of their siblings, losing the only place they considered home, and all of the interactions that caused more stress, the puppy will probably cry through the first few nights and possibly longer.  Something like the Groove from Diggs can take their mind off of being alone.   More detail will be provided in another post.

Getting Settled

As your puppy learns their way around the areas that were defined before you brought them home, they will begin to have more confidence.   Always take your time and reassure the puppy that everything is still ok.

The puppy will need a lot of attention and playtime.  They need to interact with you and your family.  This is something you should do after the puppy has settled in some.  If it’s day 1, and they want to play with you, that’s great!  If they’re still not comfortable, limit the interaction until they choose to play.  Again, it is common for puppies to be reserved at first because they are so overwhelmed with everything that is new to them.


Day 1 is a really big day for both you and the puppy.  Things can be very overwhelming for your new puppy so you need to limit the stressors as much as possible.  Take it slow when introducing the family members and other dogs if needed.

Have you had experience with a timid puppy?  Or was your puppy confident from day 1?

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