Puppy survival guide - Day 1
January 31, 2020
Plan for day 1
We’ve already covered picking your puppy up - let’s call that day zero. Day 1 starts with the drive home. This is an important day where you set ground rules.
This day should be about getting your puppy used to their crate (den), pen area and the rooms they are allowed in. Let them investigate their toilet area outside (or wherever you’ve set up), encourage them to use the puppy pads or go to the outside toilet area (or whatever area you’ve set aside). The important task for day one is to have your puppy happy with her crate or sleeping area. If you want any sleep on night 1, you’ll need to make this a priority. If you plan on having your puppy sleep in their crate, you need to make her comfortable with going in and out and even sleeping in there during the day. We’ll explore this more later.
Tip: Divide her meals up into 4 and use one of them as treats for good behaviour throughout the day. You don’t want to over feed your puppy with treats, so this is a good idea to avoid too much mess.
Okay, we all love checklists, here’s a day 1 checklist to check out:
- On the journey home with your puppy, put her in the passenger foot-well. Have someone come with you to sit with the puppy. Make sure you line the foot-well with newspaper and towels. Wrap her in the blanket you should receive from the breeder with her mum’s scent on.
- Take your puppy’s crate in the car for the journey home - just in case you need it
- Take your puppy out to the toilet area as soon as you get home. Wait for her to do her business and reward her. Start as you mean to go on!
- On day 1 you’ll want to try her outside (or wherever her toilet area is) every 30 minutes. It will be an exciting day for her so this will help to reduce the number of accidents. This is a good idea for the first few days and then build up to longer periods. Remember, as a guide, a puppy can hold their bladder for 1 hour per month of age. For these early days there’s a saying… any doubt, take her out. Minimise the amount of accidents as much as possible. Remember to clean up accidents with an enzyme based cleaner such as Nature’s Miracle. If you don’t she’ll be able to smell her previous accident and assume that is where she is supposed to go.
- Take her out straight after any meals or drinks. You’ll want to keep this up for a while until you get used to how regular she is. When Betty was very young, it was like clockwork after a meal. This slowly changed as she grew older.
- Slowly introduce her to the areas she is allowed in around the house. Let her discover and investigate them on her own. You can encourage her if needed with some treats
- To get her familiar with her crate you could try feeding her in there. Leave treats in there and tempt her in with treats. You want her comfortable with this crate by bedtime if you want her to sleep in it without trouble! What ever you do, don’t try to force your puppy into their create or any area. Let them naturally investigate it in their own time. If you force them they could build up a fear and that’ll make things very difficult come bedtime!
- Remember to use consistent verbal cues like “want to go for a wee?” before taking her to her toilet area. These cues should have already been decided.
- Praise her lavishly when she goes in the designated spot.
- Let her follow you in and out of rooms she is allowed in. When she is coming towards you, you could start to introduce your cue for “come”. As she is walking towards you say “come”, when she reaches you praise her.
Introducing the crate to your puppy
Strategies for familiarising your puppy with her crate. There are tons of videos and content on this, so I won’t replicate the. I’ll just list the things we found worked best.
- Let her eat one of her dinners in the crate
- When she falls asleep, carefully move her into the crate. Leave the door open and let her wake up and come out when she wants.
- Use treats to coax her into the den.
- Toss a treat into the crate, then while she is in there, close over the crate door. Don’t latch it yet. If she comes to the door just open it and let her out
- Use the above strategies to build up her familiarity with the crate, then when she is in the crate try using the latch. Again if she wants to come out, just let her.
- You want to build this up until she is comfortable going in, having the door shut and the sound of the latch locking.
- Now. use a treat that will keep her occupied for a bit - such as a Kong stuffed with treats. Try to keep her in the crate for a few seconds, then let her out. Build this up until you can have her in there for a minute.
- If that all went well, try moving away from the crate while she is in there.
- Built this time up as long as you can without causing any anxiety.
- As bedtime approaches remove any food and stop giving treats
- Just before bed remove any water
- When bedtime finally comes around, quietly move the crate to where she will be sleeping. I’d suggest at the side of the bed for the first couple of nights. Don’t let her see you do this move, though.
- Make her crate cosy and put in the blanket you received from the breeder along with anything else you think will comfort her.
- Make sure she goes the toilet before bed, then let her fall asleep. This is you chance to move her into the crate. She should be used to waking up in the crate because this will have happened throughout the day.
- She will wake up in the crate, use this opportunity to take her to the toilet if it is close to the schedule. It’s important not to open the crate if she is making a commotion. Don’t reward this behaviour by opening the door! You can comfort her, though.
- You will want to open the crate door… don’t give in!
- Keep the toilet schedule throughout the night, remember no playing or fuss. Straight to the toilet area, do the business, give a verbal reward such as “Good Girl”, then straight to the crate.