Pet tips: help puppies adjust to a new house

Helping your puppy adjust to home and socializing him will create a happier, more well-behaved dog. Tips on controlling behavior and training an animal to the environment.


Just about everyone loves an adorable puppy.

What’s not to love, right? When you try to go to sleep, or you are woken in the middle of the night by the lonesome howls of that adorable creature, however, you may feel differently. Dogs are pack animals. They don’t like to be alone. If you’'ve ever been around litters of puppies, you’'ve probably seen how they pile on top of each other when it is time to sleep. They love the comfort and warmth of another body, and if they don’t have that, they will certainly be vocal about their insecurity and discomfort.

Keeping all of this in mind, you don’t need to expect your puppy to immediately adjust to his new surroundings. Yes, he’ll be thrilled when you pet and play with him, but that’s just it. He wants you! Of course, you can’t be with your new friend twenty-four hours a day, and this is why it is so important to help your puppy adjust to his new life.

The first several nights will be the toughest for you and for your puppy. You need to decide where you want your puppy to spend his nights. More than likely wherever he begins to sleep as a puppy is where he’ll continue to sleep as an adult dog. So, if you give in to his howls of protest and bring him into bed with you on the first couple of nights, he will quickly learn that if he makes enough noise, you’ll take him to bed with you.

Because dogs are pack animals, there is always a leader of the pack. That leader should be you if you want to train your dog to be a well-behaved animal. You need to begin with how you want your dog to fit into the household. If you don’t want your dog to sleep with you, but you don’t mind him being in your bedroom, probably the best idea is to bring a crate or box into the room and place it close to your bed. The puppy will be able to smell you and should be more comforted and hopefully settle down.

Once your dog has grown accustomed to sleeping in your room, you might try him in there without his crate. You can make or buy a dog pad or use an old blanket for his bed. You should have already had this in his crate or box, so once he learns that the pad or blanket is his, he should settle down willingly every night.

If you really don’t want your dog to sleep in your bedroom, but you do want to keep him in another part of the house, you need to be prepared for several nights of interrupted sleep. It is entirely possible that he will cry for several hours. You can confine him to a crate, box, or a room in your house that doesn’t have anything he can destroy. Some people take a stuffed animal with them when they purchase their puppy. They rub the animal against the mother, and later place that stuffed animal in with the puppy. Other people swear that placing a ticking clock in with the puppy will soothe him into thinking it is his mother’s heartbeat. You can also try putting one of your old, unwashed shirts in with the puppy. No matter what you try, though, the first few nights will be difficult for him.   

Eventually, he will learn that no matter how much he protests, you are not coming to get him. As he grows older, he will probably prefer that area of the house to sleep in even when he is not confined. Puppies love to chew. They teethe just like babies do, and they need things to chew on. Hopefully, it won’t be one of your new chairs or a table leg. You can’t stop puppies from chewing, but you can offer them many alternatives that they might prefer over your furniture or shoes. There are many puppy toys available, and your puppy will probably go through several before he is grown.

It is a good idea to socialize your puppy as much as possible. Take him with you as often and to as many places as you can. Expose him to new people. Of course, you will need to spend time training him to encourage good behavior, but the more time you spend with him, the better behaved he will be. Taking on a new puppy is a huge responsibility that will last for several years. With the responsibility, however, comes many rewards and a new and loyal friend.