You've brought your new puppy home and you couldn't be more excited. Soon it'll be time to help settle your puppy for the night. What do you do? Are trainers still recommending hot water bottles and one of your old t-shirts for the puppy to sleep with? Read on for professional training tips on how to have a successful first night with your new pup.
When I welcome a new puppy into my home, I have a regular routine I use for the first week or so.
Puppies, like all animals, want to feel comfortable and safe, and they like to know what is coming next. The first night, I put the pup's crate or bed in my bedroom, right next to my bed, so that he can hear me breathing and knows where I am. This way I can also reach to pet him if he starts to whimper or cry. A puppy who feels secure is more likely to settle down to sleep for the night.
I also put a few puppy-safe toys in there for him to play with. If you have other pets in the house, you may want to keep them separated from the puppy for the first few days. I keep my puppy away from my other dogs for the first several days, outside of friendly greetings through the crate or when crossing paths. This often means I'm carrying my pup out by himself to potty!
The first night home, I make sure my puppy finishes his last meal around 5 p.m. This gives him ample opportunity to poop before bedtime. I never restrict my puppy's access to water, and neither should you! Veterinarians discourage withholding water overnight, in contrast to some old puppy house training advice you might still come across.
If your puppy is confined to a crate at night and is likely to spill his water, a couple of ice cubes and a little water in a dish or small bucket water will provide enough water to last him the night.
Another thing I like to do on my puppy's first night home is set myself a wake-up alarm for 3-4 hours past the puppy's bedtime outing. I anticipate when the puppy might need to go out and set the alarm slightly earlier. This way, I am training the puppy to wait for me to get up and take him out, rather than to cry and wake me up every night. I repeat the alarm for several nights, gradually setting it later and later until the puppy is successfully making it through the night without a potty trip outdoors.
So there you have it - some tips to help make your puppy's first night a success! By following these simple guidelines, you'll be on your way to establishing good sleeping habits for your new furry family member. Bon voyage, little one!