You have taken the decision to bring a puppy into your home, found the perfect pooch that you fell in love with immediately and have puppy proofed each room from top to bottom. The only thing left is to collect your beautiful pup from the breeder and introduce him or her to the rest of the family.
This should be an exciting and happy day for you all, but there are certain rules that you should follow in order to make it a stress free occasion.
Introducing the puppy to it's new home
Bring the new puppy into the home on a lead to begin with, it will feel safer and will acclimatise better if it walks into the house itself rather than be carried.
Walk the puppy from room to room, letting it have a brief sniff around. There will be more time to explore later.
Come down to their level to show them their bed and refer to it as 'dog's name's bed,' so that they can begin to recognise it as theirs. Do the same with their food and water bowl.
Show them where they can find new toys to play with or if they arrived with toys, make sure they see them.
Take them into the garden and again use associating words, this time for the toilet.
Walk the puppy back into the house and if they don't appear too nervous, take off the lead and let them explore on their own.
Introducing a puppy to other dogs in the home
If you have another dog, consider letting it meet the new puppy on neutral ground, such as the park or a field.
Let them sniff each other, but don't force them to play together. This will happen naturally, but perhaps not straight away.
Don't let them fight, the older dog should not be allowed to bully the puppy.
Have treats on hand to reward good behaviour, or to distract them if they are getting too rowdy.
If they seem settled with each other, walk back to the house together and go inside. Keep the puppy on the lead to begin with and let them off when they seem at ease with each other.
Don't leave them alone straight away. They will need time to adjust to their new companion, but eventually they are likely to be inseparable.
When it comes to how to introduce a cat to a dog who has moved into the home, you will need to let the cat make the first move in it's own time. Perhaps create a dog free area in the house, so that your cat always has somewhere to escape to. Puppies and cats are more likely to bond, as the young dog won't know to behave any differently.
Introducing a new dog to children in the home
Explain to young children beforehand that they have to be quiet and gentle. Their natural reaction will be to play with the new family member, but they must let the puppy come to them when it is ready and know not to chase it around the house.
Give guidance on how to touch the puppy, explain that the ears and tail are very sensitive and that they should never be pulled upon.
Puppies look cute and cuddly, but tell your children that only adults are allowed to pick them up, just until they have settled in. This will help to avoid bad habits and children getting overexcited.
For the first few weeks try to supervise the time that your children and puppy spend together. This is just to ensure that your children know how to behave with the puppy and have someone to ask if they are unsure, but also to make sure that the puppy is consistently calm and will not become rattled around your little ones.
After a little while, try to involve your children in feeding, walking and bath times. This will help them to get to know each other, but is also a useful lesson in responsibility and how to care for others.
It won't be long before your puppy has settled in to it's new life with your family. Remember that they may miss their mum, siblings and old surroundings for a little while, so be patient if they seem shy to begin with. When they seem secure in the home and with children, try to socialise them with other dogs and people outside of the family unit. This will help them to be comfortable in most situations for the future, as it may be harder for them to adjust to new experiences as they grown older.