THE FIRST TIME YOU SLEEP TOGETHER
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.
PICKING UP YOUR LABRADOR RETRIEVER PUPPY / DOG
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
- chew toy
- plastic container
- any outstanding balance
- collapsible water dish
- file folder (optional)
- 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.
ARRIVING AT THE FOREVER HOME
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.
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.
SLEEP IN YOUR OWN BED!!!
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.