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So, the time has come for your puppy or newly adopted friend to arrive at it’s forever home. An adopted dog will fit in with much ease just as a puppy will but there are two ways in which the first night you sleep together can go either one of two ways. Which ever way it goes and no matter if it is a puppy or an adolescent dog, the answer will remain the same. To ensure the easier of the two, there are a few things you can do to ensure a successful first night.

5 sleepy lab puppies.


So, you want to train your Labrador Retriever. First off, we have to pick up your new found friend. It is very rare that a breeder tends to live around the corner, or at least for me, this has been the story. So there are a few things you should be aware of and plan for. If you have decided to adopt a new friend, the story is usually much different as the shelter usually is within a short drive’s distance away. In either case, you will want to have a few things on hand in case any……messy events decide to drop in should we say.

  • collar & leash
  • plastic shopping bag
  • poop bags
  • disinfecting wipes / paper towels
  • bottle water
  • towels
  • pen
  • chew toy
  • plastic container
  • any outstanding balance
  • collapsible water dish
  • file folder (optional)
  • blankets
  • travel kennel (optional)

Before leaving the breeders/shelter, I like to have a file folder to store all my necessary paperwork such as shot papers, medical tests, parents bloodlines, sales receipt, adoption papers and any other pertinent papers. I also like to get a plastic container of food that the shelter or breeder is using so you can mix and slowly when the food off and introduce the food you have chosen. This will help avoid the ever unpleasant arrival of the runs or upset stomach. I also like to have a notebook and pen to take any notes of special instructions, tips or listings of recommended vets or groomers. It’s very easy to forget these things with the excitement of a new puppy running around. On the trip home I would avoid giving any food or water as this mixed with a bouncy car ride can equal a messy bark. I would only offer water in the case of a very long ride or if you Labrador friend does come ill. If it is a long ride home, a puppy may need a quick pee break. Find a quiet little grassy park and be sure to use the collar and leash and poop bags if necessary.


Once you arrive home, you should pick up your Labrador Retriever puppy and carry them to your backyard where you would like them to go toilet from now on. You want to carry them as if you put them down on a leash, if they have to go, they will do so right away but, by taking them to their toilet spot and keeping them in that area for some time or until they go, these are the beginning stages to training your Labrador Retriever where to toilet and house breaking your Labrador Retriever puppy. The same will go for an adopted Lab. After a good 10-15 being on the leash and kept in the toilet area that you have chosen, they will have either gone or the scent of this area is now set in their mind for when they have to go next time, they will sniff this area out. This will be a good time to run out some pent up energy after a long drive so practice walking on the leash in the backyard to help drain some energy before entering the house. In the case of an adopted dog, this would be a good time to go for a walk around the neighborhood. Let them become familiarized with their new community but be sure to keep it on the leash.


If you have another cat or dog in your home, it’s best at this time to use puppy or baby gates to keep them separated for the first little bit. Also, if you have children, be sure to talk with them and set some rules and boundaries until old Fluffy settles in, such as, no rough playing at first (this includes grabbing, hugging, dancing etc with the puppy or dog) No taking them into their bedroom to play as they won’t be watching for bathroom tell tales. Plus you want to supervise as puppy teeth are very sharp and puppies are used to playing with other puppies and may bite cause that’s how they play. If it’s an adopted dog, never to disturb them when eating, drinking or take away a toy. For the first day or two keep the children energy down inside the house. Dogs and puppies feed off our energy, so if you don’t want a puppy jumping on the coffee table, knocking over decorations, grabbing shoes or children toys, you need to minimize the energy in the house for a few days until they settle in. Outside in the backyard or at the park, run, scream, burn all the energy you want.
You will also want to keep an eye out for the bathroom tell tales like lowered head and sniffing while walking quickly, turning in circles etc. It will be a good habit to go on a set schedule like after eating and drinking and every 30-60minutes for the first day or two. It seems like a lot but this is how you will recognize the tell tales and help eliminate accidents in the house. When introducing them to other house pets, remove the children from the room. Children’s energy is high and unpredictable which both animals will feed off of. Create meetings fully supervised and have everyone at the same level so you sitting on the floor and keep meetings confined to a room. We will discuss this later on in greater detail.


Happy poop!

If you have a crate for your new Labrador Retriever and or puppy, it’s a good idea to have it set up in your room for the first few nights. If you’re lucky, after the days’ events, your puppy is dead to the world out cold, you can just place them in the crate with a chew toy and maybe even a few old towels for them to curl up in and close/lock the door. The adopted dog may take a little coaxing in. Place their favorite toy in and even a few treats and sit on the floor beside the crate. Try to let them go in on their own accord at first. Once in close and lock the crate door. Being from a shelter they should almost run straight in. I also find covering the crate with a towel or sheet once they are in will make them feel more at ease and fall asleep.
Now if you’re unlucky, they will start screaming loud enough, your neighbors may think you’re killing something. No matter what you do, the minute you’re out of sight, that wailing screeching will start again. It’s just like a real baby. There is a lot of advice as what to do in this situation and the most common one I come across in the towels in the bath tub. DO NOT DO THIS!! First off, a metal bath tub is nothing more than an amplifier speaker, secondly, no matter how much bedding you put in there, it’s still going to be cold. Just think about this for a second, where was your puppy sleeping the night before coming to your house? Most certainly not in a bath tun full or towels or at least you hope not. They were most likely all plopped together with their sisters and brothers all nice and warm, falling asleep to breathing and beating hearts, so this is what you want to replicate for your Labrador Retriever puppy. Lay a towel in bed between you and your spouse and cuddle them like a real baby, up against your chest so they can feel the breathing and hear your heart beating. Don’t pet it as you would like too as its brothers and sisters did not do that, it will just keep them up wanting to play. Give them a few minutes in the dark cuddling up against the chest and they will be out soon enough. Just be sure to do a washroom break before bed and if they wake up in the middle of the night and start moving around, good idea to grab them, take them out for a quick pee so that you don’t wake up to a surprise.


Ideally this sleeping with you should only be a last resort and only for a few brief nights, otherwise, you will be destined to a big 80 lbs blanket hog who loves to kick you while you sleep. If you remember from the bedding section, I talked about making the internal volume of the crate just big enough for your puppy, you will want to have done this already to possibly prevent waking up to a poop and pee covered puppy. Even if you get them to pass out in your bed, then try and move them to their crate so eventually, when you walk to bed, the puppy will shoot into the crate as it becomes their place of security. Be sure in the morning to pick them up and carry them straight out to go pee and again after the morning feeding. If you have any questions, concerns or you even just want to share a story, please leave a comment below and I will try to get back to you as soon as possible. Sweet dreams & goodnight.

Sleeping Lab puppy.

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Hey, thanks for this great post. I wish I had read it before bringing home our puppy. The first few nights did not go as well as we had hoped and we caved. Now we have an eighty five pound blanket and bed hog that kicks us all night! That said, we have got used to this but there are nights when I wish we had followed your system. Hopefully this post will help others avoid our own mistake. 🙂

    1. My last dog I had was a 115 lbs American Staffordshire Terrier cross and we got her at 5 weeks old as the mother had 16 puppies and stopped nursing at 5 weeks. Come bedtime this little fur ball would give Pavarotti a run for his money so I used to sleep in the crate with it just to keep it quiet through the night and I did this for a near 4 weeks, never the wife, always me and it was her puppy so is life of marriage. Regardless what “I” tried, this dog was destined to take over our queen size bed much like yours. So I cam up with a ingenious new plan of attack, I went out and bought a California King size bed. Thanks for the great comment, stay tuned for some really interesting posts to come including……

  2. I have a friend who’s buying a dog soon. I’m definitely sending him to your site! Great post.

  3. That’s awesome, thanks my friend! I am glad you enjoyed the read. Do you know what breed he has in mind?

  4. I was a bit worried by the title of your post but was relieved to see that the sleeping arrangements were not permanent.

    We did have to resort to having our first pair of pups in our bed because of the circumstances of their first weeks of life. They were attacked at 3 weeks old by another whelping bitch which led to the mother of the pups to reject them. Hence we had to take them earlier than is recommended. Their neck were covered in bite marks and because they were so vulnerable and didn’t have their mother, we kept them close until they were around 8 weeks then slowly introduced them to their own bed.

    There was an advantage to having these pups at such an early age. We never had to train them to do anything. They always did as they were told, once they understood what we wanted. They never ran off and stayed by our side when out walking. I think this was because we were imprinted on their memory as being their parent. Also house training was a doddle because we had to get up regularly and take them outside for fear of having a whoopsy in our bed. We had these two siblings for 17 years!

    I loved your post and hope many people have the benefit of reading it.

    1. First and foremost thank you for your amazing comment, i’s always a great feeling when another professional can relate to a certain circumstance that you also endured. My American-Staffordshire Terrier that we had at 5 weeks due to the mother rejecting the 16 tit tugging fuzzballs (very understandable) I think if you want to create a service dog or to have the level of obedience, you need to get them earlier than the 12 weeks that most breeders do. That imprinting does exactly that as that pup was the best dog I have EVER had the pleasure of working with. I had her trained with a bell at the door at 10 weeks. She was also trained completely on hand signals, no clicker or verbal cues were needed. With out that imprinting at such an early age, I do not think she could have become the great service dog that she did become. I would like to try a Labrador Retriever pup from an imprint age to see what the difference might be.
      Thanks again for the great comment, I am very happy you enjoyed the read and that I swayed your concerns later on in the post. I also love the new term I have to use, “whoopsy.” My terms are usually 3 letters shorter and often rhymed with “you little knit hags!” What breed were you bed companions, were they labs? I will say that my experience with the great breed of the Labrador Retriever in these early years have always ended in scenes much like the movie “Marley and Me” as I was fortunate to have both my labs be the highest level of energy that we could not drain. Both would not do tread mill walking but we had a pool that used Bromine as recommended by vets we contacted (we had the only dogs that swam laps I swear) both received a minimum of 3-30 minute walks (that’s certainly more than most dogs receive) we even would use the doggie knapsacks with a total of 8 lbs of weights and a water bottle in each side. We would burn off our energy and theirs but these crazy pair always had more in the gas tank if you excited them in anyway. Finally we tried a “dog whisperer” trick. We made a chicken smoothie and my spouse would walk up ahead a good distance leaving a light trail of these smoothies, finally to come upon 2 of the KONG mallard duck un-stuffed plush toys. This simple task we gave them 3-4 times a week stopped their rambunctiousness as they felt they were serving us or served a purpose by tracking and retrieving which is why they are such good gun dogs. Our guess is they must have come from a strong gun dog bloodline but the weird thing was, the 2 were not related. Hey, you can’t argue with what works! 

  5. I can never understand why staffies are the dogs ignored and bypassed by people looking to rehome. They are the most wonderful breed. Our dogs were little ones, miniature long haired dachshund x yorkie and shih tzu. By the way, are you from US or UK. We are worried by the relatively new disease ‘Alabama Rot’ which is spreading around the UK but originated in Alabama greyhounds. It’s quite rare but kills 90% of those infected. I have it posted on my website at the moment but not wishing to advertise that, perhaps you’d like to research it and put it on your site. Muddy and stagnant areas are thought to be the most vulnerable and perhaps gun dogs and working breeds could be more at risk.

    1. Oh, WowW!! That’s the first I have literally heard of it, THANK YOU from me, my followers and of course our four-legged friends, cats! Just joshing, the dogs of course as they will be the most greatly affected. I am going to whip a post tonight and do the research this afternoon. A little off topic but this is what the internet is so invaluable to today’s society, imagine how long it would have taken me to find out about “Alabama Rot”It could have been another 5-6 months before I heard anything. That’s just crazy to me.
      To answer your other question, I am not from the UK, nor am I from the US of A. I am from the most multicultural place in the world, Canada. I wonder if that is why I have not heard of it yet. Whatever the case, it has been an absolute joy wagging jaws with you. Be sure to stop by tomorrow and check out the post on “Alabama Rot”. Take care

  6. The initial puppy picture is so cute!

    Excellent post and direction for those looking for how to deal with a new furry friend.
    It can be hard to deal with a puppy and children in the house at the same time.

    I have a lab mix and when she was younger and I was single she used to sleep with me in my bed on the floor and she took up her half of the bed!

    Now I have her and a Chihuahua or my sausage and he sleeps with me, my husband and my son in our king size bed.
    I always said I’d never own a small dog like a Chihuahua but I got him as a puppy and trained him to be a dog i.e. to sit, stay, lay down and walk on a leash – he even goes hiking with us and keeps up. Now he is perfect with my son and he pummels and sits and smashes him and he just sits there and takes it or moves.

    I absolutely agree with everything you said in this post, especially about crate training.

    Thank you for the wonderful words!

    1. When I was young, I was attacked not bitten, ATTACKED by a Jack Russell Terrier. Ended up with 16 stitches because of it. The weird thing is, I have no fear of Jack Russell’s but small breeds I am terrified of, I did counseling, I faced my fears and spent time with them, now I wouldn’t say I fear them  but I am so apprehensive of them, don’t trust him. I am have trained many violent dogs over the years, Rottis, Napoleon Mastiffs, Sheppard’s and I have always had a soft spot for the bully breeds especially the “Pitbull types” just because of the horrible stigma they have gotten over the past 1-2 decades.

      I appreciate your story and kind words, I absolutely love how your trained a Chihuahua to be a big dog, can you do the rest of the word? I think another reason why I don’t like small dogs is their owners let them off leash, have zero control of them, they charge my dog, i actually had one draw blood on my dog but yet if it were the other way around, I would be then fighting for my dogs life yet this handler won’t learn their lesson, will keep disobeying the law and endangering other animals and children. The world needs more handlers like you that have control of their small breed dogs. Maybe some will read your comment and you will be the inspiration that the world needs. So Missey, I give you 2 paws up as a great dog owner and handler. Please be sure to watch for some future posts that will apply to both your furr-babies.

  7. Great Article!
    Most people should read this to help with new puppies. And… I like your treating puppies like babies – it’s so cute. In this moment I don’t have a puppy or a dog at home, but, thinking of adopting one.
    Thanks for posting.

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving your kind words. It’s truly amazing as for a lot of people who have dogs, they truly are their children and in most cases of this, are just as expensive. For me and my significant other, this was our case as our schedule did not allow for children so a puppy was a nice compromise for the time being. When you do get your new fur-baby, let me know and I will be glad to help you out any way I can. I will leave a great link for the AKC most popular breeds for the past 4 years and covers over 180 breeds, great for researching your new companion.Did you have a specific breed in mind?

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