Top tips for transitioning your puppy into your home
We finally collected our Cavapoo puppy over the weekend and I am pleased to report that she has settled right in. Yes, there has been the odd puddle deposited on the floor and a little whine here and there when we walk away; but in general, the transition from her old home to her forever one has been pretty seamless.
Introducing your puppy into a new home can be overwhelming but planning and preparing in advance can make the process less stressful. From puppy proofing your home to their first night’s sleep, we will show you how to settle your Cavapoo settle into its new home.
How to prepare for your Cavapoo puppy’s arrival
A lack of organization can make your puppy’s early days seem stressful. So, set yourself up for puppy success by making sure you are well prepared beforehand.
Here are some simple things you can do in anticipation of their arrival: –
Puppy proof your house and garden
Make sure that your house and back yard are safe. Puppies are small and inquisitive so can quickly disappear off on their own little adventure.
Therefore, you should make sure that every area that is accessible to them is escape proof. You should also consider any items and objects that they might come into contact with that could potentially cause them harm. For example, our kids are Lego obsessed, but not only are these little bricks painful to step on (I should know!) but could be dangerous if swallowed by your puppy.
Other household items such as electrical flexes and blind cords are tempting for a teething Cavapoo and foods that are toxic to dogs such as chocolate should be placed up high and behind a closed door. You should also make sure that houseplants and garden flowers are covered as some of these can be poisonous if ingested. Read our blog on household items that are toxic to dogs, for more information!
Finally, never underestimate the courage of your small pup. For example, our Cavapoo, Rosie, may be small but she is mighty and can leap up a flight of stairs in the blink of an eye.
Do your chores beforehand
This may sound a little silly, but in the days leading up to collecting your Cavapoo, why not ensure that the washing is hung out, the dishes are done, and the house is relatively tidy. This way, come the big day, you’ll have plenty of free time to focus on having fun with your pup.
Have everything ready
There is nothing worse than scrambling around trying to find a poo bag, lead or treat and being caught short. Prior to your puppy’s arrival, make sure that their bed or crate is already set up for them and that the food bowls and relevant accessories are out of the wrappers and in an easy to reach place. This way you can be ready for any eventuality.
Arrange to collect your pup early
The moment I was told that we could collect Rosie I was in the car and on my way, and although she was the last of the litter to leave, she was still home with us by lunchtime. It is far better to pick up your new puppy from the breeder as early in the day as you can, so that they get time to familiarize themselves with their new environment before nightfall.
Settling your Cavapoo into their new home
One of the kindest things you can do for your dog, in order to ensure any further confusion, is to have consistent rules and start working towards them as soon as you get them home.
Here are some helpful hints to get you started: –
Start puppy toilet training straight away
Toilet training should start the instant you get your puppy home. Do not take them into the house until you have shown them their potty spot.
Infact, Rosie was the perfect travelling companion but could not wait to relieve herself the minute we stepped out of the vehicle. Plenty of fuss and approval soon told her she had chosen the perfect place to go outdoors. This is far better than rushing to get them indoors only for them to piddle on the posh floor.
Let your dog explore at their own pace
Puppies are nosey by nature but rather than dragging them around the house and showing them where they can and can’t go, you should start off slowly with a room at a time.
This way, your puppy can navigate their way around your house, picking up smells and sounds and figuring out which places are safe for them to retreat too. This should all be done under strict supervision – even if you have puppy-proofed your house – as accidents do happen!
Make sure your Cavapoo has plenty of food and drink
Make sure that there is always fresh water for your puppy to rehydrate and keep it in the same area throughout the day.
This way your puppy will learn where to go to replenish. You should also try and establish a mealtime routine, rather than leaving food out all day so that they can graze pick times that suit you. To begin with, you may choose to follow the breeders set times, but if you would prefer to change it, do it slowly. The same applies for transitioning over onto different foods.
Comfort and Reassurance them constantly
Put yourself in your puppy’s paws. Only a few hours ago they were safely ensconced in the company of their mum and their fellow brothers and sisters and now they are in an alien home with strangers staring at them.
Your puppy will be looking to you now for reassurance that everything is going to be ok. Therefore, make sure that you follow their lead. Give them plenty of cuddles when they give out a cry, play with them when they are being mischievous and provide them with company when they fear being alone. A calm, happy and reassuring environment will soon help them to settle.
Help your Cavapoo experience new things
Introduce your pup to new experiences such as the vacuum cleaner, hairdryer, washing machine and car in a normal and relaxed manner.
If you can, let them out in the garden regularly so that they can become familiar with outdoor noises too such as motorcycles, birds and cars whizzing by. It also allows them to become accustomed to different weather conditions.
Bear in mind, however, that an unvaccinated pup should not be put down where other animals frequent, as they have little or no immunity against common diseases. Make the first 3 months one that is full of exploration and acceptance as you will have their total focus because once that front door opens, a whole new world awaits.
Introduce them to children calmly
It’s easier said than done with a house full of over excited children but try and control their enthusiasm so that your puppy does not feel overwhelmed or crowded.
Make sure that all new members of the family crouch down to Cavapoo level to introduce themselves, so that your dog does not feel threatened. A treat or two will be much appreciated and a pat, stroke and cuddle are great ways for children and dogs to get to know one another. Just make sure that this blossoming relationship is well supervised at all times.
Gradually let them meet existing pets
The same caution should be used when introducing a new arrival to any existing pets. The first meeting should be done from a distance and carefully observed. Both new and existing pets should receive the same amount of attention so that nobody feels left out or ‘top dog’.
Try and be relaxed as puppies pick up on any form of emotion but be cautious at the same time. You may find that it takes a while for two pets to acknowledge one another, let alone feel at ease or best buds so making sure everyone has their own safe space will help to prevent conflict.
Your Puppy’s first night
Make your puppy’s first night a positive experience but stay firm with the routine that you want to establish. If you want your dog to sleep in a crate, then this should be implemented from night one. For full details on how to crate train your dog, see our informative guide on crate training your Cavapoo.
It won’t be easy and there may well be plenty of whimpering and whining but this is completely normal. Dogs are pack animals and enjoy the company of others – especially in the evenings – so convincing them to settle to sleep on their own may take plenty of perseverance and reassurance on your part.
Best practice for getting your dog to sleep through the night
We would recommend making sure that your puppy has a full tummy and an empty bladder before you place them in their bed. Hide some treats as a reward for them and use a code word (we chose “sleepy time” as it is one we have always used with our babies) to signify that it is bed time. And remember that as puppies also sleep during the day, you should constantly repeat the code word, so that your pup learns to associate it with going to bed.
On the first night it will take all your might to walk away and ignore them the minute they start to whimper, but this is exactly what you should do. If the cries persist for longer than 10 minutes, we recommend going back in so they can see that you have not left them for good, repeat the bedtime word and sit in silence for 5 minutes with your back to the crate. Repeat this process and after a few attempts your dog will soon learn that you are there to support them if they need it, but that they will not gain your attention and will soon grow bored and fall asleep.
Your puppy will probably need to go to the toilet in the night as they do not like to defecate in their own beds. It might even be worth setting your alarm for the early hours to take them outside to their designated spot to relieve themselves.
There will be many demanding times beyond the initial few days. However, getting the first 24 hours right is vital for setting the tone and making sure you have a solid foundation to build upon. We found that our pup woke up in the early hours for the few couple of nights but gradually started to sleep for longer. Week 1 is now done and for the last two nights she has slept right through.
Preparation and routine are the main two factors to helping your puppy feel at home. Do not feel disheartened if things do not fall into place instantly, as it generally takes about three-four weeks for a puppy to start to feel relaxed enough to show their true personality.