The first few days that you have your new puppy, they will likely be suffering from separation anxiety. If you have a full bred puppy, you typically take your puppy home around the eight week mark and this can be tough for an insecure puppy with an as yet undeveloped brain. All they know is that the mother and the litter means security.
The Separation Process
If you buy your puppy from a good breeder, they are not going to simply rip your puppy away from their mother as soon as possible. This would be detrimental to the puppy as well as the dam.
Depending on your breeder and the breed, the process of weaning your puppy usually begins at the 6 to 8 week mark. This is when it is acceptable to start adding supplemental meals.
During the weaning process, your breeder will gradually start replacing feedings from the mother with kibble. They will gradually replace more and more feedings until your puppy is exclusively kibble diet. This slow process will allow the puppy and their digestive system to get accustomed to solid food. It will also allow the mother or dam to safely “dry out”.
A proper weaning in necessary for your puppy for many reasons. It will allow them to adapt to their new home easier and it will endure that they get enough nutrition from their mother before switching to kibble. Just like with human babies, the mothers breast milk will provide the puppy with certain immunizes and it will help them grow properly.
Bringing Your Puppy Home
The first few days will likely be a tough time for your puppy, They are leaving the safety and security of their mother and litter mates, You will need to do your part to ease the transition.
Preparation is key to success.
First and foremost, you need to have a safe area ready to go. If you intend on crate training, it should be set up and ready. Be sure to include a warm pet bed and/or blankets.
You should also have all of your treats, toys and food. Ask the breeder what kind of kibble they are currently feeding their dog and by the same brand. You can switch it later if you like, but for now, the last thing you want is a confused puppy with an upset stomach.
Finally, have a family meeting and discuss what is expected. If you have small children, they will likely want to play with the puppy immediately. Let them know that this is likely not going to happen right away as the puppy will need a few days to adjust.
Bringing Your Puppy Home
When you go to pick up your puppy, bring a friend. This will be the most traumatic moment that they have ever experienced, being taken from their litter by a stranger. You should have somebody there who can hold the puppy and comfort them. If you are getting a small dog like a Maltese puppy, this could mean a secure lap ride home. Larger dogs like Great Danes might be more secure in a crate.
When you arrive at home, keep the noise level down. You need to limit the stress. Take them to their bed so that they can feel security and let your puppy venture out as he or she feels comfortable. The only forced activity should be taking your dog outside for bathroom time. Potty training should start immediately.
The first night, your puppy will need comforting so that they know they are not abandoned. A crate or pen next to your bed is a good idea. Stay close and wake up a few times at night to take them to the bathroom.
After the first night, if you do everything well, your puppy should wake up a bit more eager to explore their environment. Still, be sure to take it slow and let them go at their own pace.