Puppy Care & Initial Routine Tips

You’re super excited about your puppy’s arrival you’ve been nesting and getting your home ready, the day is almost here!

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In this article, I will be sharing some very important care and training tips to help you prepare as you are bringing your first puppy home.

Puppy Care – Coming Home

I am going to begin with the car ride home. So you’re picking your puppy up from the breeder’s or a shelter and you need to get your puppy home safely.

Most of the dog owners think that bringing their puppy home on their lap is the best option but this is not true. 

Puppy Care - Crate

Puppies should ride in their crate on the way to home. This is the best place to keep them safe and sound. The pet crate also prevents them from getting car sick which happens to most of the puppies under 1 year of age.

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You will observe that your pup’s equilibrium isn’t fully developed till they are about a year. The car ride can make pup’s lazy and dizzy. Also, keeping them in the crate is like putting a baby in a car seat.

Don’t give your dog this same unsafe access. I also use the crate because this will be the first time away from their litter mates and mother.

We want to use the car ride effect of comforting them to sleep for our advantage. This makes the first 24 hours go a whole lot smoother if they can fall asleep in their crate on the ride home.

If you experience crying in the crate you can pat the puppy to soothe your pup’s

Puppy Care – Arriving Home

Now when you arrive home you will be excited and apprehensive.

  • What do you do with a new puppy?
  • Do you show them your whole house?
  • Do you give them access to the carpeted rooms?
  • Do you allow them to roam freely?

No! You never will.

When you arrive home, and before you head in the house, I want you to take your pup to the poop spot. This will be a spot you’ve established as the place you want your pup to go poop each time you take them outside.

This helps them stay more focused outside as well since there will be a lot of distractions that will get them off track. Once your pup has gone for poop you can head inside, but you’ll only allow access to one room at the initial stage.

I use a baby gate to close off access to other rooms. If you give your pup too much space, they will likely have an accident. Besides, they aren’t trustworthy just yet.

A trustworthy puppy has earned access to other rooms by proving they haven’t chewed anything in the first room you gave him access to. And they have stopped having accidents for at least a few weeks in this room. I usually start with the kitchen or the dining room. This is also the place you can set up a puppy pen and a crate.

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The pen is for playtime and the crate is for naps and bedtime. You have to keep 1 crate on the main floor for easy access especially in the middle of the night when pup will need to go for poop outside. You’ll get to know how frequently your little pup will need to go outside.

Puppy Care – Going Out

When you take your pup out in the middle of the night you have to limit the number of lights you turn on so you don’t overstimulate your puppy in the middle of the night. After they go for poop, quietly return them to their crate and go back to bed yourself. I still give puppies a little tiny treat when they go poop outside in the middle of the night. I want you to stay consistent with the training process.

When your puppy arrives he will be a bit overwhelmed, so don’t be astonished if they don’t want to eat their food, take treats, play and run around.

It’s common for pups 10 weeks and under to sleep upwards of 18 hours per day. Let him sleep as much as he wants to.

Puppy Care – Training

The first day and into the 1st week really are all about establishing good routines and starting the training games. These are games that I’ll talk about inside 30 days to Puppy Perfection

Games that help with leash and collar skills, impulse control, working on obedience cues like

  • Sit
  • Down
  • Stay
  • Leave it
  • Come

commands. Honestly the first week or so will be about leash skills, crate training, and poop training.

Keep in mind your puppy will have no understanding of commands such as leave it, no bite, get down, or come here. These are the most common cues; new puppy owners say to their new pups but to be honest it all sounds like a horn to them.

Puppy Care – Problems

I think the areas where new puppy owners struggle the most are Poop Training, Crate Training, and Biting. Biting is one of those behaviors everyone wishes to stop but you can expect it to stick around for a while. Your puppy has a natural urge to bite and chew and it gets stronger during the teething stage which usually stays in around 12 weeks and goes until about 6 months.

Most of the new born puppies around 8-10 weeks do a little nipping and biting but not nearly as much as a teething puppy does. I want you to be prepared when this behavior starts or gets worse as there isn’t one magic thing to make it stop.

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A puppy that is overtired and overstimulated will need a nap or they too will nip and bite more. Your new puppy will require mental and physical exercise on a daily basis. We have to tire out their brain and body appropriately based on their age so they can relax and focus better.

Remember, that your new puppy will not have very good control over their impulses. This is a skill we need to teach them, for example, your puppy will chase after you and nip or jump on you when they are excited. If you give them attention when they jump, you will be reinforcing this behavior and the behavior will become stronger and stronger.

Puppy Care – Keeping Them Safe

Let’s talk about the puppy pen for a minute. At some point you are either going to do some household chores or your puppy is going to get too nippy or wants to bite but they might not be ready for a nap then you have to use an indoor puppy pen. This will be the play space your puppy can hang out in while you’re busy or you need a little time away from your land shark. This is also a great place to keep them safe and learn to be away from you for short spans of time.

Puppy Care - Distancing

Keep in mind that your puppy will naturally cry for you and wait for you to return. This is a natural behavior they will do when they want their mother to return and feed them. We need to teach our puppies that this behavior doesn’t work anymore. Our puppies should learn to be away from us for periods of time otherwise they will develop separation anxiety later in life.

Puppy Care - Fear of Separation

True separation anxiety usually includes trying to escape from the crate, excessively licking or chewing themselves, harming themselves or destroying your home in your absence. Most new puppy owners think their puppy is experiencing separation anxiety when they bark and cry but according to my experience this is not a separation anxiety.

They need to learn you won’t return every time they bark and cry. This is why it’s so important to start immediately working on crate training and spending some time away from your puppy. Otherwise, they will become very dependent on you and continuously get stressed out in your absence.

The last thing I want to talk about is introducing your new puppy to either a resident dog or kids.

Puppy Care – Introduction to Fellow Dogs

It’s important that if you have another dog in the home that you do a slow introduction when they puppy arrives home.

Do not expect them to become best friends instantly, it may take several weeks for your older dog to get used to the puppy. It is important to make sure both dogs are well exercised before meeting as this takes some of the tension and pressure off when they have already released some energy. When you allow the dogs to play or interact together, be sure to do this in small spans of time, 10 minutes is the ideal time at the initial stage. This way they will never get overwhelmed and reactive. Giving the dogs breaks is important.

Puppy Care – Introducing Puppy to Kids

Now if you are introducing your new puppy to the kids. Make sure to tell the kids before time what to do and where to be when puppy comes home.

We don’t have to scare the puppy with high pitched squeals, screams or racing and running around. Kids should be sitting calmly in a chair or on a stool.

We like to have the kids up off the floor so puppy doesn’t pounce all over them and start nipping. The lower to the floor they are, the more excited a puppy becomes and this can lead to over stimulation, nipping, and biting.

Let the kids know they have to move through the house calmly and quietly. As fast movements and higher-pitched talking and noises actually draw puppy in and the nipping starts.

Puppies can get very confused with kids as their body posture often gives conflicting messages. Arms and hands flailing, lowered body posture such as leaning over, pulling hands away when puppy attempts to lick or nip can all confuse a puppy.

Perceptions of Kids Over Puppies

Kids often ask the puppy to perform commands that they just don’t know and they tend to accidentally reinforce the wrong behaviors. Like I mentioned earlier if a puppy jumps and gets attention, even if it’s a kid pushing a puppy off, this can be seen as reinforcement to a puppy. Training the puppy and teaching the kids goes hand in hand. Both kids and puppies do not know what to do or what not to do until they are both taught these skills.

What Do I Own?

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Meet Jenny! My One & a half year old female Labrador. I have her from her 9th day when she wasn’t even able to open her eyes properly. The kennel owner separated the puppies from the mother due to a disease and fed the pups with artificial milk. She wasn’t able to drink and I fed her milk with my fingertips. Days passed and she started gaining weight and getting healthier. Then I used feeders to feed her.

During her first 3 months she got a disease called Gastroenteritis and luckily she fought the disease and got healthier than ever before.

Believe me, she was extremely naughty in her first 4 months. All the stuff toys I bought for her were destroyed in a night. I got bitten as well but no worries, as she was just a puppy with tiny tooth. I started training her all the basic commands when she was 2 months old. She got sharper and sharper with the passage of time and now she is able to perform each any every command. She is a mother of 4 adorable puppies as well.


I hope this article helps you and your puppy start out on the right path, bringing a new puppy home can be super exciting and a little nerve wracking at the same time.

You can expect setbacks and successes often within the first year of your puppy’s life. There’s a lot a puppy needs to learn and a new puppy owner too.

In the comments section, tell me when your new puppy is due to arrive home or if you have your puppy already how long have they been with you?


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