The ideal time to bring home a new puppy is when the house is quiet. Discourage friends from stopping by and don't allow overnight guests. First, establish a daily routine and follow these steps:
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Special Puppy Concerns
Don't treat a puppy as young as 6 to 12 weeks like an adult dog. Treat him the same way you would an infant�with patience, constant supervision and a gentle touch. The way you interact with your puppy at this age is critical to his socialization. Use these tips:
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- Don't bring home a puppy while you're on vacation. You want to be able to spend a lot of time with him so you can acclimate him to your normal, daily routine.
- Supervise your puppy at all times and interact with him regularly.
- Be alert for signs (sniffing and circling) that he has to go to the bathroom and take him outside immediately.
- A young puppy has no bladder control and will need to urinate immediately after eating, drinking, sleeping or playing. At night, he will need to relieve himself at least every three hours.
- Don't punish an accident. Never push his nose in the waste or scold him. He won't understand, and may learn to go to the bathroom when you're out of sight.
- Praise your puppy every time he goes to the bathroom outside.
- Feed your puppy a formula designed for puppies. Like a baby, he needs nutritious, highly digestible food.
Children and Pets
Ideally, your kids should help you choose your puppy. When you bring him home, don't let them play with him constantly. Puppies need a lot of rest, just like a growing child. Limit puppy-children play sessions to 15- to 30-minute periods, 2 � 3 times a day.
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- Young children may be tempted to shout at a puppy if they think he's doing something wrong. Be sure kids understand that puppies and dogs can be easily upset and startled by loud noises.
- No teasing. Keeping a toy just out of reach will reinforce bad habits such as jumping up and excessive barking.
- Wagging tails and play biting can be too rough for young children. Supervise interaction and separate them if the play is too rough.
- Teach kids to care for a dog by showing them how to feed and groom him.
Meeting Resident Pets
- Keep resident pets separated from your new puppy for a few days.
- After your new puppy is used to his new den area, put an expandable pet gate in the doorway or put your puppy in his crate.
- Give your resident pet access to the area. Let pets smell and touch each other through the crate or pet gate. Do this several times over the next few days.
- Give the resident pet access to the den area with your new puppy out of his crate. Supervise their meeting and go back to through-the-gate/crate meetings if trouble arises.
Step 1: Before bringing him in the house, take him to the designated potty area in your yard and spend a few minutes there. If he goes, praise him. Be sure to take him to this spot each time he potties.
Step 2: Take him to the room with his crate. This restricted area will serve as his new "den" for several days. Put bedding and chew toys in the crate, leave the door open and line the area outside of the crate with newspaper in case of an accident. Let him investigate the crate and the room. If he chews or urinates on his bedding, permanently remove it from the crate.
Step 3: Observe and interact with your puppy while he's getting used to his new den. This will help forge a sense of �pack� and establish you as the pack leader.