Congratulations, you have decided to add to your family with a new doggy companion! What an exciting time, and what a lot to plan for. Follow our insider expert tips to make certain your new puppy gets the best human family they deserve.

 If you haven’t yet chosen your puppy, make certain they are absolutely right for your life and that you are right for theirs. Their (and your) worst nightmare would be to be incompatible, causing behavioural problems in future. Choose carefully, slowly and read all the information you can about what sort of dog you should have. Absolutely do not choose on looks alone, or try to convince yourself that an active breed is right for you when you prefer to snuggle on the sofa at night.


See the mother of the pup (Even the father too), and meet their other siblings and wider family. A good breeder will ask you more questions than you ask them. Beware of puppy farmers and their agents who pretend that the pup was raised in a home but are simply being paid to sell the litters on. These people are very cunning, so again, do extra research.


When puppy comes home, prepare for a few restless nights and lots of adjustment. Your puppy has left behind a familiar place, probably litter mates being around, and their Mum for comfort, so avoid simply shutting the puppy away from you at night at first. You can ease them into their new place by keeping them in their sleep crate or bed near you at night (or go and sleep near them), gradually separating them from you over a period of a few days. This is a kind and gentle way for them to adjust and will not last forever once they become familiar with, and feel safe in, their new home and family.


Invest in a sleep crate to become your puppy’s bedroom. These can be safe havens for the pup, places to sleep when they are tired, or places to play when you can’t keep a close eye on them. Never simply shut in your pup and leave them, as they may panic and bark, trying to escape. Instead, buy a number of pup-safe chew toys inside which food can be placed. Your pet shop or Vet can advise you on the best type for your dog. Always leave a safe chew for your puppy to enjoy when you leave them, and practice this during the day whilst you are around. A lightweight sheet can cover the crate to block their view so that they settle more readily but once again, gently does it. Your puppy will appreciate a steady adjustment so that they learn to enjoy their new happy family.


Be prepared for plenty of crazy play and chewing, and travel around your home looking from a puppy’s eye view of all the possible things they may investigate using their mouths. For a while you will need to pick up toys, remote controls, and especially cables, so that their little sharp teeth don’t damage these.


Stay with your children whilst they interact with the puppy, and why not start teaching a ‘Sit’ as a ‘please’ for a small piece of puppy’s dinner? This type of ‘conversation’ is a brilliant start point for every puppy. And don’t forget to enrol them in an ABTC-registered Animal Trainer’s class ready for the next part of their education!

Karen Wild Dip App Psych, CCAB, MBPsS

ASAB Certificated Clinical Animal Behaviourist (CCAB)| Full Member of Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC) |Animal Behaviour and Training Council (ABTC) Registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist (ABTC-CAB) and Animal Training Instructor (ABTC-ATI)



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