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The travel home
The first day will often involve travelling home with your puppy. Make sure you are well prepared, no matter how long the journey.
Some puppies may experience motion sickness caused by stressed or imbalance during the journey. Try to keep stress levels to a minimum by bringing a blanket or soft toy which bears the scent of their previous home.
Ginger is also a good way to naturally help with nausea and settle the stomach. Keep some ginger dog treats handy for the car journey.
Once home, allow the puppy to toilet before entering the house. If your puppy toilets outside, give them lots of praise and a reward.
Continue to take your puppy out in frequent intervals especially after playing, sleeping, eating and drinking. Remember to praise and reward every single time they toilet outdoors.
Your puppy should be given 3-4 small meals per day. This helps with digestion and maintains energy levels.
Stick to the same type of food your puppy was weaned onto for the first few weeks.
Now is also a good time to become aware of what ingredients are in their food. This will help you for when or if you do decide to change their diet. Expensive doesn’t necessarily mean best. Look out for ingredients such as fresh meat or dried meat rather than meat derivatives or meat by-products.
Place their food down in a quiet area where they will be able to eat without distraction. Try not to leave food down all the time. This can cause your puppy to become fussy. Ensure all treats are given as part of their daily allowance.
Set up a crate for your puppy in the corner of your room.
Fill it with comfy bedding and leave the door open to allow your puppy to enter freely.
This will be their own calm, happy, relaxing place. Never use the crate as punishment.
You can begin training your puppy from the first day that you bring them home.
Clicker training is a good idea for puppies. A clicker can help your puppy gain a better understanding of what you want from them.
A clicker is a small device that you click when you see a behaviour that you want repeated. Once you have clicked, give a reward and repeat. This will encourage your puppy to repeat desired behaviours.
First vet trip
Never reserve car journeys just for vet trips. Vary your destinations so that your puppy cannot begin to predict where they are going.
Vet trips are a good way to get your puppy used to being handled. They are also great for socialisation. If possible, try to visit the vets for social trips as well as for health trips. Don’t wait until they need a procedure to take them to the vets for the first time.
Don’t allow your puppy to greet other dogs in the waiting room until you have asked the owners permission. Your puppy may be friendly, but their dog may be anxious, especially in the vets. Once you do allow a greeting, let them sniff for a few seconds and then turn them away. Don’t put too much pressure on their collar or harness, as your puppy can pick up on this pressure and convert it into stress. Be mindful that your puppy may not have had their vaccinations.
It is a good idea to teach them that being handled is a positive thing in between vet trips too. Practice by gently touching their paws, ears, tail etc and reward them for letting you do so.
Teaching feet targets will also make vet examinations easier.