Your puppy’s first night is an important learning experience for both of you; your puppy is still getting used to you and their new home, just as you’re getting used to the presence of a new family member.
On your puppy’s first night, it’s important to make them feel calm and safe because they’re likely to experience feelings of displacement – but don’t panic, this is completely normal. Here are some top tips to help make the night pass as comfortably and peacefully as possible for your newest family member.
In the last hour or so before bedtime, it’s helpful to make sure you don’t get your puppy too over-excited. If they’re playful and active when it’s time for them to sleep, getting them settled will be a lot more difficult.
There are varying opinions about the ‘right’ way to handle your puppy’s first night with you, but the most important thing is to make them feel safe. Most dogs associate proximity to their family members with safety and protection. Even if you’d rather your dog doesn’t sleep in your room in the long run, for their first few nights while they settle in it’s a good way to start forming that all-important puppy/owner bond.
Putting your puppy’s crate or bed in your room, at least for the first few nights, usually helps them feel more secure – especially if they can see and smell you. This is because it allows them to get used to your presence and scent and associate it with security. However, having them in your bed with you is strongly discouraged as they could fall out and hurt themselves or, not to put too fine a point on it, you could accidentally squash them.
There are a few other small but effective things you can do to make your puppy’s first night a little easier:
– If you left a blanket with your puppy while they were still living with the breeder, putting this in their bed will help them feel more secure when they might be missing their litter mates – the blanket will not only have traces of your scent, but also the scent from their previous home – helping your puppy to settle in to their new surroundings.
– Putting a chew toy in or near your puppy’s bed is another good idea, as chewing is a natural way for puppies to calm themselves. Having said that, for your sake it’s probably a good idea to make sure it’s not a loud or squeaky toy!
– Buying a plug-in diffuser is something many new dog owners do, with the most common product being ‘Adaptil’ – the calming pheromone it releases is designed to help your dog cope with changes such as a new environment. Be sure to follow the instructions provided to ensure accurate use for optimal benefit.
It’s very likely that your puppy will cry, whimper and/or bark over the course of their first night with you. The important thing to remember is that this is totally normal behaviour. They’re just missing their mother and feeling a bit displaced. As long as you take the right steps to make your puppy feel as safe and secure as possible, they will soon start to feel at home.
If you’re interested in reading further information on this subject, check out our Puppy Sleeping Tips article.