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Bringing Your Puppy Home

Bringing your puppy home for the first time is an exciting step in your journey together.  Ensuring that you have prepared your home thoroughly and thought through how to manage the first few days, can help to make the transition as smooth and stress free as possible, both for you and your new addition.

Before you collect your puppy:

  • Check what the breeder will be giving you when you collect your puppy. Many breeders will give you a blanket or a toy which has been kept in the puppy pen.  Having an item which has a familiar scent, or smell of their mother, can help a puppy feel more secure when they come home to a new environment.
  • You should check whether the breeder will give you a small supply of puppy food, and what this will be. Even if you intend to change your puppy’s diet later, providing your puppy is healthy it is best to keep them on the food they are used to for at least a fortnight. Suddenly switching food can cause stress and an upset tummy. You must ensure your puppy has settled in well before implementing any change, which must be done very gradually.  Please speak to your veterinary surgeon if you are concerned by your dog’s diet, feeding or stools.

Preparing the home:

  • Think about where your puppy will spend most of his day. Is this area clear of anything you don’t want him to chew?  Can he have constant access to water in this place?  Will you be able to keep an eye on him throughout the day to aid toilet training?  Is there space for him to sleep and play?
  • Setting up strategically placed baby gates around the house can help to keep your puppy contained and away from areas which might not be puppy proof.
  • Crate training provides your puppy with a cosy space where he feels safe and can rest undisturbed. The crate must be big enough for him to freely stand up and turn around. Not all dogs will accept being shut in a crate straight away; you will need to spend time teaching your puppy to enjoy his time in the crate. Filling it with a cosy bed, keeping his toys and feeding him meals inside the crate can help this process.  If your puppy is happy to spend short periods of time in a crate/pen, it will aid the toilet training process, and ensure he can’t get up to mischief if you aren’t watching.
  • Think about where you will keep the crate/bed in the house. It must be easily accessible to your puppy. It’s a good idea to position it in a place where you spend a lot of time, but away from the traffic of a busy household.  That way when he spends time in the crate, he won’t be excluded but will have enough peace and quiet to relax and sleep.  You also want to ensure you have easy access to the garden from this location, to aid with toilet training.
  • Puppies need toys! It’s a good idea to have a range of toys made from different textures i.e. some soft toys, rope toys, rubber toys, chew toys etc. Your puppy must always have access to these toys to play with and chew on.  Ensure all toys are size appropriate for your breed of puppy, and don’t have any small pieces that can be chewed off and swallowed.
  • Consider purchasing a Snuggle Puppy, which helps your puppy for the first few nights when acclimatising to sleeping away from the litter. These include a heat pack and a pulsating ‘heart’ which mimics a heartbeat.
  • Many puppies settle better with the assistance of the Adaptil range of pheromone products. Have a look at their website ( for the complete range.

The journey home:

  • Ensure you have lots of towels as there’s chance your puppy will eliminate or vomit on the way home.
  • Your puppy may go in a carrier, but our preference is for him to sit on the passenger seat on someone’s lap, so they feel more secure. If you are concerned about safety, then they may sit in the carrier (which is secured by the seat belt) or next to a passenger on the back seat or be on a car harness.
  • If your puppy is travelling a fair distance you may need to stop for a toilet break. Don’t put your puppy on the ground but you may see if they will eliminate on a puppy pad in the boot of the car.

First few days home

  • Don’t expect too much from your puppy in the first few days. They will sleep an awful lot and the most important thing is to encourage them to feel settled and get them used to a routine.  Remember some puppies don’t even have any bladder awareness at eight weeks, so don’t get frustrated if you have accidents in the home for the first few days, this is perfectly normal.
  • Socialisation is vital but do make sure your puppy has plenty of quiet time and opportunity to rest and sleep in the first few days.
  • It is imperative your puppy experiences no stress in immediate days after coming home, so please shield from emotional harm, including very loud noises.

Daily routine:

  • Looking after a puppy can feel like a full-time job! You will need to make sure he gets plenty of stimulation, as well as opportunities to interact and play throughout the day.  He will also need a lot of sleep and it’s essential that he gets time out to rest.  This can be tricky if you have children, they will need to learn to give the puppy space when required.
  • If you go to work, consider whether your puppy will need someone to spend time with while you aren’t there. Whilst puppies do need to learn to be left home alone in your absence, the length of time will need to be introduced gradually. A puppy who is left home alone all day is likely to become bored and stressed. You will also need someone to let your puppy out in the garden for regular toilet breaks, until their bladder has developed, and they have become house trained.

Night-time routine:

  • The first few nights can be a big adjustment for your puppy. Consider where you want your puppy to sleep.  If it’s downstairs, you will need to consider sleeping downstairs near your puppy. While you should avoid having the puppy sleep on the bed with you, being close to their crate will be reassuring for the first few nights until they are settled into their new home.
  • Try to keep your puppy awake for an hour before bedtime, to make sure he is adequately tired.
  • Ensure he has been to the toilet as close to bedtime as possible. Some puppies may need to relieve themselves again in the night; you will need to be prepared to get up and let them out for a toilet break, until their bladder/bowels have developed enough to hold through the night.

Multi-pet households:

  • If you have other pets in the house, you will need to carefully consider how you introduce them to your new arrival, to make it a positive experience for all.
  • Existing pets may not always appreciate the arrival of a bouncy new puppy, so you must ensure they have a space to retreat and time away from the puppy if need be.
  • You must always be around to supervise their interactions until both the puppy and the existing pet are settled and calm in each other’s company.


Pet Necessities Professional Dog Training – Egham, Surrey. 07969 997 272.

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Top Tips for Having a Happy & Well-Behaved Dog

Here’s our top dog training tips:

    • Never shout at, hit, yank, push or pull your dog.
    • Training must be fun! If you are not enjoying it then neither is your dog … he should see it as a game.
    • Make sure you always have your dog’s attention before you ask for any command. If he is not looking at you then there is a high chance that he is not listening to you.
    • Vary the commands you are practising, never expect your dog to repeat the same exercise more than a few times in a row.
    • Use toys as well as food rewards in your training. Vary the toys, types of treats and the delivery of the reward during a training session … keep him guessing! Remember that once your dog has learnt a behaviour there is no need to reward every time; instead save your rewards for his best attempts. Grade your rewards so he gets the high-value titbits for putting in extra effort.
    • Practise your training out on a walk. You cannot expect your dog to perform perfectly in a public situation if you only practise in the security of your back garden. Also appreciate that dogs learn by situational learning, so your dog may see “sit” indoors as a completely different behaviour to “sit” in the park.
    • If you are not in the mood to train, don’t train! Your dog will pick up on your negative mood and won’t respond as you hope, causing a vicious circle and resulting in a frustrating training session.
    • Always end each training session on a positive note and before your dog gets tired and de-motivated.
    • Lower your expectations in environments with lots of distractions.
    • Remember that any attention your dog receives from you is reward; so, what you may see as a scolding, your dog may see as a game! Try to ignore unwanted behaviours and only give your dog attention when he is offering a behaviour you like.
    • Make sure your dog is receiving an adequate amount of mental and physical stimulation. Mental stimulation involves your dog using his brain, e.g. using food dispensing toys, playing, training, searching for food etc … the list is endless.
    • Practise, practise, practise! You cannot expect your dog to learn a behaviour after just a few repetitions, you must carry out a small amount of training each day for the rest of your dog’s life to keep the behaviours fluent.


Pet Necessities Professional Dog Training – Egham, Surrey. 07969 997 272.

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Handling Exercises for Puppies

Handling exercises for puppies

It is important to practise handling exercises with your puppy from day one.  Teaching your puppy to remain calm and confident whilst being handled, will ensure that as an adult dog he can cope with every day scenarios from being groomed to being examined by the vet.

Individual Puppy Training


The type of tools needed for grooming will depend on every individual pet, and the type of fur he has.  When teaching a puppy to accept being groomed, it is sensible to start with a soft brush, that won’t pull or tug his coat, to get him used to the sensation (a Zoom Groom is ideal).  Start by holding a treat in one hand under your puppy’s nose, whilst slowly and gently running the brush over him with the other hand.  It is important to verbally praise your puppy for remaining calm throughout the process.


To begin with, your puppy will need fairly frequent rewards to encourage him to remain patient and to learn to enjoy being groomed.  When your puppy is used to the process and is able to remain relaxed throughout, you can start to reduce the amount of food rewards he receives.  In time, you will be able to groom your puppy without food under his nose; although it is important to still reward him intermittently to reinforce appropriate behaviour.  Should your puppy begin to get wound up by the process, and start play biting for example, it may be necessary to go back a step, and increase the food rewards he receives for remaining calm.  This will help to keep him relaxed and without the opportunity to become frustrated and fidget.  Some puppies accept and enjoy being groomed very quickly, whilst others may take slightly longer, and may need higher value treats for this exercise.


Never tell your puppy off for becoming fidgety, but instead praise him when he is calm and relaxed. Grooming can be quite stressful for some dogs, so it is important to teach him to enjoy the process.  Always keep each grooming session short and end on a positive note (i.e. with him relaxed).

Puppy House Visits in Surrey, Middlesex and Berkshire


Throughout your puppy’s life, there will be many instances when he will need to be physically handled; for example, during trips to the vet, treating a cut paw, removing ticks, etc.  In order to ensure that such occasions are as least stressful and easy as possible for your dog to endure, it is important to teach him to accept being handled from as early as possible.


Start by holding a treat under your puppy’s nose to keep him occupied, whilst you run your other hand over his body.  Pick each foot up in turn, rewarding him after holding each paw for a second or two to start with.   Once you are able to pick each foot up without your puppy fidgeting, you can progress to examining your puppy’s paws and toes more thoroughly before each treat.  Whilst doing so, make sure you are verbally praising your puppy for remaining calm.  In the same way, you can practise examining his tail.  To examine his eyes, start by gently holding his head still for a second, before giving him a treat.  Once he has learnt to accept that, progress to gently examining his eyes, rewarding intermittently.  Similarly, you can inspect his ears and teeth in the same way.  Gently lift your puppy’s lips, praising him calmly as you do so, and give him a treat after a second or two.


In time you can increase the duration of the examination before rewarding him.  This is something your puppy will need to learn to accept and experience during his trips to the vet.  Therefore, it is important to practise such exercises to build his confidence, before expecting him to accept a stranger to do the same.


Teeth Cleaning:

Toothbrushes for dogs come in many different forms.  Some are similar to a human toothbrush, others are designed to sit over your finger like a glove, so using your finger to brush your dog’s teeth.  As always, it is important to teach your puppy to accept having his teeth brushed, rather than forcing him to endure it.


If you have practised handling your puppy as above, he should be confident having his teeth looked at before you start the cleaning process.  Start by allowing him to lick the toothpaste off the brush, so he learns that the toothbrush coming towards him is not a scary object.  Next, gently lift his lips, and brush the teeth at the front of his mouth for a second or two before stopping and giving him a treat.  Many puppies aren’t comfortable with the sensation of tooth brushing, so it’s important to keep the sessions short before rewarding.  This will teach him that if he remains calm and accepts his teeth being brushed, a positive reward will follow.


In time, you can increase the duration of the brushing before each reward, as well as progressing to brushing the molars at the back of his mouth too.  If your puppy becomes anxious or fidgety, go back a step.  Make the sessions shorter and more rewarding for him, before expecting him to cope with his all his teeth being brushed in one go.

Ear inspection and cleaning:

Whilst some breeds of dog are more predisposed to ear infection and dirty ears than others, it is important for all dogs to learn to accept having their ears examined and potentially cleaned.  Start by holding a treat under your puppy’s nose with one hand, whilst using your other hand to lift, stoke and touch your puppy’s ears.  If he accepts this without fuss, progress to examining his ears with both hands..  You should calmly praise him, and reward him with a treat at the end.


Once your puppy is able to remain relaxed throughout this process, you can begin to gently clean inside his ears with some wet cotton wool.  This will get him used to the sensation, before rewarding him.  As always, ensure your puppy is calm and relaxed before expecting too much from him.  If he struggles, go back a step, and make the process more rewarding for him.

Handling exercises for puppies


Once your dog is happy to be handled by yourself, consider asking other members of the family and friends to do the same exercises.  This should be closely supervised, but it should be done to ensure your dog is used to be handled by various people of different ages, genders, sizes, etc.


Please consider:

Some dogs are more accepting of handling if they are occupied with something.  A stuffed Kong or Snuffle Treat Mat work well to take your dog’s mind off of the process and give them a positive association to it.  Some dogs are more tolerant of grooming if they have a toy in their mouth rather than using a food reward.


Pet Necessities Professional Dog Training – Egham, Surrey.  07969 997 272.

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