Your puppy checklist
The day you collect your puppy is so exciting, but it can be unsettling for them as they leave their mother and litter mates. Here are some things to remember to make sure you’re ready to take care of them.
What’s the right age to bring your puppy home?
The best age to bring a puppy home is between 8 and 10 weeks old. By then, they should be weaned and have learned early canine social skills by being with their mother and litter mates.
If you collect them too soon, they’ll miss this important learning period, which could impact their future physical and emotional wellbeing. But if you separate them from their mother and litter mates much later than 10 weeks, you will have missed out on a large portion of their socialisation phase.
When is the best time to bring a puppy home?
It's important to collect your puppy when you have a few days free to be at home and take care of them. It’s also best if the house is quiet with very few visitors during the early days so your puppy can settle in without too much going on. If you can, collect them in the morning so they can get used to their new surroundings before bedtime.
Are you ready to collect your puppy?
Make sure you’re well prepared, and you'll help your puppy settle happily and safely into their new home and family. Not quite ready? Find out more about how to prepare for your puppy's arrival.
Questions to ask your puppy’s breeder
- Is the puppy fully weaned?
- What food are they being fed and what’s their feeding schedule?
- Have they begun toilet training, and to what level?
- What are their current daytime and night time routines?
- Have they been checked by a vet?
- Have they had any health issues?
- Have they had any vaccinations and, if so, when is the next injection due?
- When have they been given worming treatments?
- Do they have an identification chip?
- What social experiences have they had so far?
- What are their parents’ temperaments and personalities like and are health certificates available for them?
What to take when collecting your puppy
Bringing a puppy home – how to handle the journey
Before leaving the breeder
Check you’ve got all the paperwork and asked all your questions, and make sure your puppy hasn’t just been fed to avoid any sickness on the journey. It’s also a good idea to take them for a walk to tire them and let them go to the toilet. When you put your puppy’s new collar on, make sure it can’t slip over their head; you should only be able to fit two fingers inside when it’s round their neck.
Getting settled in the car
To encourage your puppy to get in the car, put a treat in there and give them something to chew during the journey. If you have someone with you, they can sit in the back with your puppy on their knee, on the seat or on the floor. If you’re on your own, your puppy will need to travel in a crate. A towel or toy that smells like the mother is an excellent way to settle your puppy at this time.
During the journey
Your puppy is may bark or cry, even if you've done everything to make them comfortable, so reassure them calmly. If it’s a long journey, make stops to let them go to the toilet and eat or drink.
When you arrive home
Remember to take your puppy to the garden first so they can go to the toilet. And stay calm and comforting as you take them inside.
How to handle the early days with your puppy
Your puppy's first few days and weeks with you have a huge influence on how well they settle into their new home and their future development and happiness.