New Puppy :
For an Easier Trip Home and First Night

Some ideas on simple things breeders can do to make the puppy's trip home and his first night in the new home easier for everyone.
My update notes, added 2007, are indented from the original text.

New Puppy : For an Easier Trip Home and First Night

by Pam Green, Pied de Boue Bouviers, © 1985

published in The Bouviers des Flandres Book 1985

BREEDERS, here are a few simple things you can do to make the puppy's journey to his new home and his first few nights easier for everyone.

A few days before the puppies are due to depart, go to the grocery store and get one cardboard fruit box for each puppy. These boxes already have air holes in them. Cut a dog doorway in one end of each box Now the boxes can fit together with the top half's doorway matching the bottom half's doorway, so the puppy can come and go at will; or they can be fitted together with the top s doorway matched to the closed end of the bottom, so that the box encloses the puppy. This box can be used as a carrying case on the car ride home. lt can be used for a few days crate training for the pup prior to shipping him (in a real airline crate) home by air. In his new home, the box can be used as a crate or as a bed.

(Note : a lot of breeders get all of their puppies used to eating and sleeping in genuine airline approved crates. If a puppy is being shipped by air, such a crate is absolutely essential. Even for car travel, a real crate is the safest means of containment. But for a calm puppy who is going home by car, the cardboard "fruit box" can do the job well enough and it is a zero cost item. I came up with this idea after my first puppy Keya rode home snuggled into my lap while I drove the truck. That was very cozy and enjoyable, but it would have been safer if I'd either had a friend to drive or to hold the puppy or if I'd had a containment box.)

A few days before the puppies are due to depart, gather up some soft rags of an absorbent material or better yet, some pieces of carpeting (sample swatches or else cut from discarded old carpeting). Place these in the puppies den box for several days. During this time the rags/carpeting will absorb the odors of all the puppies and of the dam. Send a piece of rag or carpet home with each puppy to be placed in his traveling container and in his bed. These smells of family will comfort the puppy during his first few days in his new home. As the smells of his old family gradually fade away, he will be attaching himself to the smells of his new family. Also the nest-smell on the rags will establish his new bed as being a nest, thus not to be peed and pooped upon.

(Note : avoid "indoor-outdoor" carpeting as it contains a chemical that reacts with urine to form a substance that can scald the puppy's skin.)

On the day of departure, catch up a bit of puppy poop and puppy pee from any member of the litter and store it in a small jar. Tell the new owner to immediately dump this outdoors in whatever spot the owner regards as most convenient to become the puppy's toilet area. The smell of his own or his littermate's leavings will entourage him to use that spot. And of course remind the new owner that the puppy's first visit to his toilet should precede his entry into his new home.

(Note : this may seem "icky" to some puppy buyers, but really is it not less "icky" than having an accident in the house ? If the puppy buyer has another dog already in the house, then the scent of that dog's urine and feces in the outdoor potty area may well be all the encouragement the puppy needs. The advice to take the pup outdoors before bringing him inside ought to be obvious, but some people are too tired or too excited to think of this for themselves. Of course the breeder should thoroughly instruct the buyer on everything they need to know about housebreaking.)

None of the above methods will cost you much in money or labor, yet they may be of value in easing the puppy's transition to his new home.

Puppy buyers, don't be shy about asking your breeder to do these simple favors for you. (Make the request about a week in advance.) Responsible breeders are always glad to do what they can for their puppy's' welfare.


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site author Pam Green copyright 2003
created 7/08/07 revised 7/08/07
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