Bringing home your puppy
The day you bring your puppy home is exciting for you, but it can be unsettling for them as they leave their mother and littermates. Here are some things you can do to manage this transition.
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 littermates.
If you bring them home too soon, they'll miss this important learning period, which could impact their future physical and emotional well-being. 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 socialization phase.
When is the best time to bring a puppy home?
It's important to bring your puppy home 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, bring them home in the morning so they can get used to their new surroundings before bedtime.
Are you ready to bring your puppy home?
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
Your puppy’s breeder or shelter will hold a lot of information you can use to help your puppy settle more quickly in your home and stay healthy. Remember to ask the following questions and any others relevant to your individual puppy.
- Is the puppy fully weaned?
- What food are they being fed and what's their feeding schedule?
- Have they begun potty 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 deworming treatments?
- Do they have a micro 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 picking up your puppy
Bringing a puppy home – how to handle the journey
Before leaving the breeder or shelter
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 outside. 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 around their neck.
Getting settled in the car
To encourage your puppy to get in the car, put a treat inside and give them something to chew during the journey. 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 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 outside and eat or drink.
When you arrive home
Remember to take your puppy outside first so they so they can start potty training. Stay calm and comforting as you take them inside.