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A Puppy’s Homecoming

How old should a puppy be when he/she comes home?

If you purchase a puppy between the ages of 8 weeks and 12 weeks there are some of things that you should be aware of.

1. A very young puppy, 8 to 12 weeks of age, is high maintenance. They do not have bladder and bowel control yet. To expect for a puppy this age to hold his/her bladder and bowel overnight is expecting too much. Be prepared to be picking up and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning up after your new puppy. My best advice for taking care of a puppy of this age is to get an “exercise” pen from your local pet supply and keep the puppy in that with newspaper down in an area of the pen. The puppy should know to go on the paper.
Buy some latex gloves at the drug store, you’re going to need them. Oh and maybe a new mop too.

2. Be prepared to get up in the night to let your puppy out should he/she be in a crate and start to cry. You must get up to let the puppy out as you do not want them to get the idea it’s all right to soil his/her crate. So plan on some interrupted sleep for a while. Puppy should be put to bed around 10:30pm and will need to get up around 6:30am, with a couple of trips out in between.

3. The very young puppy should not be left alone for any duration of time. Puppies this age generally have no common sense. They can find all kinds of things to get into mischief with. They are also very sensitive and if anything upsets them they can easily become ill due to stress. It’s important that your puppy be with someone at all times during this time of his/her life.

4. Your puppy is too young to go anywhere with you. He/she must be kept in your immediate surroundings. Never take a puppy this age on walks around the neighborhood. Their immune systems are not yet strong and if they catch something it can be a very heartbreaking and expensive experience. Stay home.

5. Do not have visitors coming and going. This can stress a young puppy out and cause illness.

6. If you have visitors make sure they step on a towel that has been soaked in bleach before entering your house or they remove their shoes. Germs and viruses can be carried in on shoes. You should also disinfect shoes before entering if you’ve been out and about. Always ask if your friends have been to area of heavy pet traffic before coming over. If they say “yes” then have them come back at another time when they have not been to a heavily trafficked area.

7. Stay away from your veterinarian’s office! Lot’s of bad stuff to pick up there. Give last vaccinations at home yourself!

8. Start teaching your new puppy to walk on a leash right away if he/she was not old enough to be taught by the breeder before going home. You’ll have to do this on your own because your puppy is still too young for obedience school and shouldn’t be around other dogs yet.

9. Do not let your puppy run around your house. This is truly asking for trouble. Your puppy is an infant. Make sure you understand this and treat him/her as that.

10. You will need to get your puppy used to being on the grooming table at this time. This will set the puppy up for a no stress experience when going to the groomer throughout the puppy’s life. Set the puppy on a non slip table once every 4 or 5 days. Make sure to never walk away or let go of the puppy for even a moment while on the table. They roll off easily and can be hurt badly if they fall. Brush your puppy, get the puppy used to having his/her toenails worked on, you can use a file for this. Make sure to keep the puppies ears free of hair. This means plucking out the hair in the ear canal. Make sure that the ear does not get irritated because of the tender skin of such a young puppy. If so then you will have to medicate ears accordingly so as to not have the puppy develop a painful problem. Do not take your puppy to a groomer at this age, the puppy’s too young to be around that many other dogs.

If this doesn’t sound like a barrel of laughs to you then we would suggest you wait until the puppy is over 12 weeks of age before taking him/her home. That way a good Breeder will have gone through all this for you and the breeder, being more experienced, will have spared the puppy the stress and strain you may have felt because breeders do this kind of thing all the time and are used to not getting any sleep, constantly being interrupted, being home bound and on……   Your puppy will be grooved in on the basics and life together, for you and your puppy will start off a with a much simpler routine.