Help Your New Puppy Feel at Home

Puppy under blanket in bed
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When you bring your puppy home from the breeder or shelter, ask if you can take some of his bedding with you to help him settle in.

Bringing a new puppy home is always exciting — but it can also be stressful for you and your puppy, especially in the early days. After all, you’re juggling sleep schedules and potty training, and your puppy is letting go of his familiar comforts and established relationships. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to help your puppy settle into his new space and new life.

Most puppies are highly adaptable and will adjust, in time, to a new home. You can make the process faster and smoother by creating a soothing environment for your puppy. There are two ways to do this: by establishing a comforting physical space for him and by being consistent in your interactions with him.

Setting Up His Space

Help to make your puppy comfortable by setting up a space where you can safely confine him; this will help with sleeping and potty training. Use a gate or fencing to close off a room or area of your home. Within this enclosed space, provide comforts like a crate, bedding, water and, if needed, piddle pads. You can also create a safe space for your puppy on the road: Take his crate or dog bed along on trips or outings to give him a familiar spot where he can relax and settle.

Familiar scents can be comforting to puppies. When you bring your puppy home from the breeder or shelter, ask if you can take some of his bedding with you to help him settle in. Once your puppy is adjusted to his new family, consider putting something with your scent on it, such as a worn T-shirt, in his bed at night for him to sleep with.

Pheromones can also help relieve your puppy's anxiety. Adaptil, a synthetic pheromone product, mimics the pheromone naturally released by the lactating mother dog. Adaptil has been shown to encourage sociability and play behavior in puppies and to help dogs adjust to changes, such as times of separation. Adaptil is available in various forms, from a collar worn by the dog to room diffusers or sprays, but you'll want to speak with your veterinarian before using any of the brand's products.

Finally, soothing sounds, like classical music, can also help your puppy relax. The CD series Through a Dog’s Ear has puppy-specific versions that help accustom a puppy to everyday sounds.

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