Your new puppy is here! …And now what?

First, we’re wiping that worried look off your face. No worries, we’ve got your back. In this article, you’ll have everything you need for your puppy’s first week. It’ll be great, just watch your step for the next couple of days – accidental poops might be in your way.

We’ll go through the checklist you need before they arrive, how to bring your puppy home for the first time, how to help them get through their first night, and all things you should do in their first week. All of the things. 

You’re well on your way to a new, stress-free life with your fluffy companion. Well, stress free until they have a wee on your carpet. But you’ll manage. 

Your puppy’s first week

In this section, we’ll cover what you need to have ready before your puppy’s first week at home, how to spend the first day with your new puppy showing them the whole shabagng of all new things like the car, the family and their new crate, and how to help them spend a good first night over. 

yorkshire terrier sat on rug
Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash

Before they come home

Yes, you’ll need a lot of things before your puppy comes home. Get your wallet ready.

  • Crate: It’s not a prison if you don’t use it like one. Crates are included in lots of our best puppy tips for the first week – especially for toilet training. Ellie-Bo has quite good ones. 
  • Puppy playpen: Playpens help give your puppy a nice area to play and chill out in without getting into a pickle. Yaheetech has nice ones – they’re nice and sturdy.  But you can use baby playpens too!
  • Comfortable bedding: You want your baby to have a good night’s sleep, right? Vet bed will do the trick. They’re washable, soft and cozy. Here are some good ones that won’t make your money evaporate. 
  • Heat pad: Heat pads will keep your puppy warm and comforted because is immitates  the warm feeling they got from their mother and littermates (AW!). Snuggle safe is a great option – you can tell by the name.
  • Food and water bowls: Fresh water for your puppy please! These ones are the ones you want, they won’t get tipped up easily.
  • Enzyme Cleaner – For cleaning up wee and poo accidents. It’s fine, it’s part of the journey. Here’s a good example of an enzyme cleaner we like to use.  
  • Puppy Pads: Puppy pads are a good idea before your puppy is good to go outside. There is a wild variety of puppy pads out there in the market, so our latest review of Zigzag approved puppy pads should help you make up your mind.
  • Adjustable collar: No chokers please, let those stay in the 90s. A soft, light collar like this is great. 
  • ID Tags: Not being funny here – but the UK law demands all dogs wear an ID tag. Trust us, you wouldn’t want to get in trouble with them. Flexitags are great because you can get all the essential information engraved on them like your name, phone number and address. This one should be at the top of your list of things to get in your puppy’s first week.
  • Narrow training lead (2 meter long) – Nothing too heavy with thingys to adjust in length. Here’s a good one you can look at. 
  • Puppy Food: Quite an essential for your puppy’s first week. But before you go on a shopping spree, ask your breeder what they are feeding them and if they can give you a couple of days’ worth. When they make it home, mix some of their old food with the new one so their tummies don’t get too upset and poopy.
  • Chew toys: You’ll definitely need them way beyond the first week with your puppy. There are way too many of them to choose from but the Nylabone ranges for puppies are pretty special.
  • Puzzle toys:  They’re like dog sitters made out of rubber by making mealtimes much more fun and lengthy to avoid bloating, while giving you some peace and quiet. West Paw Toppl is great, it also helps your puppy learn to problem solve.
  • Commercial Training Treats: Again, we’ve done a great job at having way too many options to choose from. But one of our favourites, at least for your puppy’s first week, is the dehydrated meat treats. They’ll help keep your puppy focused like none other when training. Our puppy treat review article has the la creme de la creme of treats – choose any of those and you’ve made it.
  • Treat pouch: Gross, nobody likes sticky, meaty pockets. The Mikki treat pouch is a great budget-friendly and low-key option to avoid that!
puppy running on pavement
Photo by Andrew Schultz on Unsplash

Bringing the puppy home

The car ride home

Make the transition easier: It’s not that easy to leave mum for puppies, so we have to do our best to make their journey to their home sweet and comforting. You can ask the breeder for a blanket to impregnate the smell of their mother and siblings and use during your puppy’s first week to help them settle in!

Prepare for the journey home: Decide where your puppy is going to go in the car for the journey home. Take a warm blanket with you, and preferably have someone there to carry them on their lap. If you don’t have anyone to hold them, set a crate or carrier secured onto the passenger seat so you can be close to them. Let’s not go driving with them on your lap please.

Pee stops: Don’t want to start your puppy’s first week off with wee in the car! If you live far away from the breeder’s, make sure to stop every 30 minutes for a toilet break. Of course, having accidents is not a problem. It’s just part of the journey (literally). 

Prepare for smelly accidents:  If it’s a long journey back home, you definitely want to pack paper towels and line their crate with puppy pads. Have an enzyme cleaner ready with you in case they have an accident! 

  • By the way, lots of puppies often get upset tummies on their way home…it’s our way of nicely saying they get poopy or sick. To avoid cleaning up stinky things from in-between the cracks of your car, you can ask your breeder that morning. But they might just be sick anyway, just letting you know.

First few hours with the puppy at home

Take it slow! Let them explore: Your puppy’s first week or days can feel quite overwhelming – everything is so new to both of you! But it might be good to know that you don’t have to do it all at once. Everything will fall into place eventually…even if it feel like it’s just falling. 

Puppy toilet training beginnings

Going to the loo: Even before they get home, you should decide on where their toilet will be. Ideally, a small, enclosed outdoor area with grass or a soft surface is great. Right. So on your first day with your new puppy, make the introduction to the toilet the first thing you do as soon as you get home. After their journey home they’ll probably want to go, so place them on the ground in their allocated loo area– and wait. When they’re finished, praise them with a treat and a cuddle. Great! This was also the first step for toilet training. 

Be their toilet guide: In your puppy’s first week, you’ll be their toilet guide. Actually scratch that – it will be your new title for the coming months probably. Help your puppy know where they should go to the toilet by having a specific toilet area, and taking them there regularly.

Meeting the family 

Saying hello for the first time: Your puppy has all the time in the world to meet everyone you’re friends with but for the first week with your puppy, let’s stick to those living in your house. Allow your puppy to approach them when they are ready rather than jumping on them directly for a cuddle.

First night with the puppy

See? This is where the crate will come in handy. 

Place their crate next to your bed: Especially during your puppy’s first week, they’ll need some extra love at night. Having you close to them at bedtime will help them feel safe and cosy. Our guide for puppy crate training will be of great help.

Stay half awake: On the first day with your puppy, or should we say night, you might have to sleep with one eye open so you can listen for squeaks since this might mean they need the loo. If it’s the case, take them straight to their toilet area and back! But it might be that they just need you instead of the toilet…just lean over and talk to them gently to comfort them.

Things to do in the first week with the puppy

  • Begin socialising: Socialising your puppy doesn’t mean having them invite everybody in the neighbourhood over for a coffee, it simply means teaching your puppy how to think about the world and how to behave properly in it. Our article shows you the ropes and gives you a useful weekly puppy training schedule too. You can start off easy, getting them used to the opera sounds of the vacuum cleaner is a good start. 
  • Start training schedule: You can start training pretty much as you waltz through the door; ‘training’ meaning toilet training, socialisation, sleep training and crate training. Here’s an article that tells you more about what training to focus on for the first week with your puppy – it will make things a whole lot easier.
  • Trip to the vet: It’s probably a good idea to get them to meet their vet from the start. They’ll be meeting them quite often in their lives so it’s quite important they like each other… We want to keep drama away when there’s a need for a check up. 
small puppy in flower bush
Photo by David Clarke on Unsplash

Beyond puppy’s first week

So we know the first week with your puppy was already quite a lot. With all the schedules, checklists, early morning and late nights you must be exhausted. But we’re just getting started here, so we’re glad to see you’ve been doing so enthusiastically well so far. 

After the first week with your puppy, you’ll want to keep up the great, consistent routines you’ve created with training, playtimes, feeding and toilet trips – we’ve actually written an article about the Ideal Daily Puppy Routine if you’re wanting to get it even more narrowed down.

Has the first week flown by? You’ll be glad to hear there are many more to come. Your journey is just beginning so you can look forward to seeing your puppy take on the world like a piece of cake. Or a piece of kibble, more like. Here is an article with far more tips for new puppy owners – there just could never be enough, right?

Don’t forget that in Zigzag puppy training app live our incredible team of puppy training experts and behaviourists who are more than happy to help you through 24/7 chat through any hiccups you’re facing with your puppy.