Adopting a puppy: What to expect

Congratulations on adopting a new puppy! This is an exciting time for both you and your puppy. The first day after bringing your furry friend home can be exciting but also overwhelming, especially if this is your first time parenting a puppy. Here are some things to expect on day one: 

For tips on how to prepare before your furry friend arrives, read this blog! 

Bringing your puppy home 

Before entering your home, make sure your puppy has had time to explore the outside area on a leash. It’s also important you make sure your puppy has time to go to the bathroom.  
Keep your puppy leashed when introducing them to their new home environment, both inside and out. Allow them to explore one area at a time rather than giving them the full run of the home right away. When introducing them to the inside it can be a good idea to walk them directly to their space/bed and reward them, so they know it is their area. Then allow them to explore the house at their own pace.   

Introducing other family members 

If you have any other animals or children in your home, it is best to allow the puppy to explore new surroundings first before introducing them to others. 
Any introductions should be on a leash with positive reinforcement. Treats provided during this time can decrease anxiousness and create a successful first meet and greet! Socialization is important and encouraged during your puppy’s development.  
Read our blogs on Dog to Dog introductions and Dog to Cat introductions for more tips on furry friend introductions! 

Pet proofing 

Once your new puppy enters your home, their curiosity will kick in and they will want to start exploring. Pet proofing your home is recommended to keep your pet safe while they learn their new surroundings. You can pet proof your home using a baby gate to keep your puppy in a safe, supervised area. This way you’re making sure there is nothing around that a puppy can eat or get into. Some other steps to pet proof your home include keeping the garbage secured, plants out of reach, and cleaning products and medications put away. 
A crate or puppy-proofed room is recommended to keep your puppy from feeling overwhelmed when they are alone. This will also reduce any destructive puppy behaviours while they take time to learn appropriate in-home behaviours with you.  
Crate training can be done slowly over time. For the first few days of having your puppy home, start off with leaving them alone for small increments of time. Then slowly increase the length of time left alone as your puppy acclimates to their space. It is not recommended to leave your puppy alone with another pet during this transition period.  


Supervision is always recommended with a new puppy. Accidents may occur during house training, and it will take time to learn. Watch our video on house training tips. 
Take your puppy out for frequent bathroom breaks during the day and especially right after they eat or take a nap. This will decrease any accidents inside.  
If an accident does occur, take your puppy outside immediately and reward them when they do go outside. If needed, increase the amount of bathroom breaks until your puppy begins to demonstrate house training behaviours.  

Don’t forget your new puppy needs regular daily exercise, training, and enrichment for their development. Daily walks and training classes are recommended! 

For more tips on the first week home with your new puppy read this blog. 


The post Adopting a puppy: What to expect appeared first on Ontario SPCA and Humane Society.

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