Five Tips for a Happy Transition
If you're like me, you've done a lot of research to find a reputable standard poodle breeder.
With so much time, energy (and money) invested, a responsible poodle breeder will be as eager as you are for your puppy's successful transition to a new home.
In my experience, professional breeders have been happy to answer questions and provide support even after my new puppy came home.
If you're looking for a standard poodle breeder, I highly recommend Spirit Poodles in Northfield, MN.
1. Things I Need From My Puppy's Breeder
Most professional poodle breeders will probably offer these items even before you ask for them.
AKC Registration Form - Your breeder may choose to register your poodle puppy online for you.
Puppy Vaccination Record - You'll need this for your first vet exam (which you should schedule as soon as possible).
Puppy Food - You may have already done the research or talked to your vet and determined which high-quality dog food you'll be feeding your new puppy.
But you should continue to feed him the kibble he's currently eating during this transition period. Breeders are usually happy to send several days supply along with the puppy.
A Scent Article - This could be a toy the puppy enjoys or a small blanket. Anything from "home" with a familiar scent on it. This will serve as a "security blanket" during those first crucial 48 hours away from the sights, sounds, and scents of the familiar litter.
2. Introducing My New Puppy to the "Pack"
Introducing a new puppy to your "pack" is exciting, but also a little scary, even if your pack only consists of human beings.
If your pack includes another dog, we suggest introducing them to each other in a neutral zone. This will help eliminate a territorial response from existing dogs.
We don't recommend bringing your dog to the breeders' facility for the introduction. That's not neutral territory.
Some poodle breeders are understandably concerned about aggression between a protective dam and another dog they don't know.
Or they may be concerned about transmitting infections to their litter.
An alternative could be a quiet field near your home (and away from other animals). Put each dog on a separate lead for this introduction.
If you remain calm and relaxed during this first introduction, most dogs are very accepting of little puppies.
3. Introducing My New Puppy to His Forever Home
It's a frightening thing for an 8-week old puppy to be moved from everything familiar into this new environment. Your calm, gentle, reassuring manner will help a great deal.
Upon arriving home, your puppy will certainly need to do his business. This is a good time to introduce him to the yard.
Keep your resident dog on a lead until you're sure he's adjusting well to having a newcomer in his space.
In fact, you should monitor your dogs closely for the first several days.
As soon as your puppy has gone potty, encourage him with praise (good dog) and reward him with a treat. Then let him explore the yard a bit before going into the house.
During these first 48 hours, your puppy is trying to determine the pecking order of his new pack. He's concerned about who is going to keep him safe.
You can provide the leadership he needs with your reassuring tone and a peaceful, quiet atmosphere.
Once inside, it's very helpful to limit the area that your new puppy can explore (especially if he's not fully house-broken).
When I brought my new puppy home, we partitioned off the tiled areas of the kitchen and dining room. That provided plenty of room and made cleaning up accidents much easier. As long as you're in the same area of the house, he should be happy.
4. Benefits of Using a Kennel
Your new puppy will need a space that he can call his own, where he can retreat when he's tired or overwhelmed and just needs a quiet place to rest (puppies need a lot of sleep).
Personal Space - A kennel can serve as a nice "den" for your puppy. When I brought my new puppy home, I created a den atmosphere by placing a lightweight blanket over the top and sides of the kennel. Then I put Luke's scent article and cozy blanket inside to give it a familiar smell.
Safety - A kennel keeps your puppy safe during the times you aren't able to monitor him closely (such as when you must be away or during the night).
Potty Training - A kennel is very helpful with the potty training process. Most puppies will not want to potty in their sleeping area.
If they nap in a closed kennel, you can take them straight from the kennel to the outdoors when they wake up before they have a chance to piddle in the house.
5. My Puppy's First Night in His New Home
The first night will be the hardest for your new puppy. The activity that kept him distracted during the day has suddenly gone silent and all he hears are strange, unfamiliar sounds of the house and neighborhood.
He misses his mom and the security she provided!
Now you're that person. So we recommend you allow him to sleep near you the first night or two (don't forget that scent article).
And don't worry. You're not going to spoil him in one night. Or even two nights. This is only an adjustment period, and most puppies adjust to a new home very quickly.
If you really want to go the extra mile to help your new puppy, Smart Pet Love makes a Snuggle Puppy that comes with a simulated heartbeat and heating pad.
And the American Kennel Club provides lots of great information for new owners.
I hope this has helped you feel more comfortable with the process of bringing your new puppy home.
Best wishes to you and your new four-legged BFF!