The Worst Times For Bringing A New Puppy Home

Today I have had a mad day.  This is the first time I have been able to sit down at my computer.  I’m even sitting here still in my coat, so I wanted to talk about the worst times for bringing a new puppy home.

So while the dog mince thaws out in the microwave here are some quick thoughts.

Today I have had a painter and decorator in the house, and an electrician knocking holes in my walls.  I have been subject to a full day of scraping, sanding, drilling, chiselling, plastering, painting, wiring, requests for opinions and making numerous cups of tea.  The whole house is covered in dust and the electrics have been off for most of that time.

The dogs have coped very well over the last 10 months with an army of people in and out of the house while it is being renovated.  However it struck me today that having a new puppy in the middle of this mayhem would not have been a good idea.

Yet people do it.  They bring a puppy into their house when it is at its most disrupted, then wonder why the puppy doesn’t settle down properly.  Puppies need order, structure, routine and relative calm to learn the house rules.  Bringing them into a house when you’re not having ‘normal’ days is a a bad idea.  So here are some of the worst times for bringing a new puppy home:

  • Christmasthis is the number 1 no-no in my book. It’s hectic, stressful and noisy in most households.  This is not a good environment for a new puppy who is bewildered by being ripped away from its brothers, sisters and mother.  Plus puppy farms (puppy mills) breed their largest numbers for Christmas so your chances of getting a badly bred puppy are much greater.
  • Birthdays, anniversaries, christenings or the day of any major family party
  • Religious or public holidays and festivals (especially when there are fireworks)
  • When moving house
  • When starting a new job
  • As an attempt to prevent a partner craving children or grieving for lost children ( because it usually fails)
  • During extensive building or renovation work
  • Just after having a baby or adopting children
  • On a working day evening, then going out to work the day after and leaving your puppy for 8-10 hours on its own

Basically, you need to bring a new puppy home in a period where life will be stable and relatively calm.  Puppies need time to settle and learn the house rules.  They need to have order and structure, and to know what’s ok and what’s not ok.  You have to spend a lot of time teaching them and training them in how to behave.

They won’t get that if you’re running round like a mad person unable to give your puppy the time it needs.

Bringing a puppy into a stressed out, busy or chaotic household can lead to behavioural problems. You’ll probably get more house soiling than you would have done anyway, whining, fretting, chewing, nervousness and more.  Plus a small puppy can easily get seriously injured if it gets under someone’s foot.

It’s not just about choosing to bring a puppy home when things are going to be relatively stable at home.  You also need to commit to spending a minimum of 3-4 days at home with your puppy before you go back to work.  Ideally you should spend at least a whole week at home.   And when you go back to work, to make sure your puppy has either someone at home from the family most of the day (wife/partner) or gets qualified doggy day care.

I was at home most of the time through the whole of Arwen’s growing up.  However when I had Kylah I could not be, so I made sure she had a dog sitter.  But in both cases I brought them into my home when home was in a normal state.

It’s tempting to bring a new puppy home for Christmas, or a birthday, anniversary or some other special occasion.  You want everyone to share the joy and that’s totally understandable.  However your puppy (and you) will be much better off if you avoid all busy or special occasions.

That’s because if you spend more time with your puppy calmly and quietly, the quicker and easier they will become part of your family.  Avoid the worst times for bringing a new puppy home and everyone will be happier and far less stressed.


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