General advice about caring for your new puppy or dog

As a new puppy or dog owner, you will be aware of the responsibilities that come with dog owning and caring for your dog. However, you will also benefit from the incredibly rewarding and pleasurable experience of dog ownership.

In time, with the correct training and care, your puppy or dog will hopefully become a well-adjusted adult who is a pleasure to own and a credit to you and the dog society at large.

This section includes information for when you first bring your puppy or dog home and provides support and tips on socialisation environment, feeding, walking and much more.

Collecting your new puppy from the breeder

Remember to take:

  • comfortable dog carrier.
  • cosy blanket.
  • water and food for longer journeys.

When you collect your new puppy it will probably be nervous being taken away from its litter and environment for the first time. Here are some tips on how to make your new puppy as relaxed as possible:

  • Try to minimise exposure to loud noises.
  • Settle your puppy in a carrier.
  • Don't let children or adults handle the puppy too much if it's nervous.
  • Keep your puppy well ventilated.
  • If the puppy shows signs of distress sit quietly and comfort it.
  • Make sure you give your puppy comfort breaks and take spare bedding - puppies are inclined to wee when nervous or excited!
  • Ensure you follow socialisation guidance from the breeder and continue this training for at least a further eight weeks.  Use the Puppy Socialisation Plan for guidance through this period.

Finally, remember to buy your dog identification tag, more information about the Control of Dogs Order 1992 is available here.

Compulsory Microchipping 

It is now mandatory throughout the United Kingdom for all dog owners to have their dogs microchipped and recorded with a government compliant microchip database such as Petlog. Find out more about Compulsory Microchipping

Here's some additional advice from our partners in pet nutrition - Eukanuba

Early development

Your puppy is likely to be 8 weeks old when you first meet him. With the help of his mother and breeder, he will already have taken some important steps to becoming a well-balanced and socialised dog.

  • The neonatal period (Birth-2 weeks old)

In the first days of his life, your puppy relied entirely on his mother to feed him and keep him warm. However, your breeder will have handled him gently, introducing him to human contact.

  • The transitional period (2-3 weeks old)

The sensory capabilities and motor skills develop quickly as physical changes enable your puppy to see, smell, hear, taste and touch his new world for the first time. By the end of this period he will have learned to walk. Your breeder will have ensured the secured living area was large enough to remove himself from the sleeping area to urinate and defecate.

  • The awareness period (3-4 weeks)

He will have started to learn how to eat without suckling and it is possible that his mother may have started to discourage feeding from her. At this sensitive time, your breeder may have started to introduce him to solid feeding.

  • Initial socialization (4-8 weeks)

The greater the variety of positive experiences your puppy has before the age of 8 weeks old, the more prepared he will be to cope with the day-to-day experiences in life. Your breeder knows this and will have handled him frequently. To prepare him for life without his mother, your puppy will have been weaned from suckling her to eating solid food and he will now be self-sufficient in feeding and drinking.

New Owner - Puppy Socialisation (8-16 weeks)

Your breeder should pass to you an information sheet on all the socialisation activities they have completed with your puppy and advice on the actions you need to continue with. The Kennel Club and the Dogs Trust has produce an online plan to help you complete comprehensive socialisation which will be the foundation of your puppy's future wellbeing:

Sleeping and eating arrangements

Create designated sleeping and eating to help him acclimatize to his new home. Always ensure he has fresh water available.

Choose wisely where your new puppy will sleep. It is important that he can see family life and is not in a draft with suitable dog bedding to sleep in. You must also choose a place for him to eat with enough room for food. Always ensure fresh water is available for him.

Choosing a name for your puppy

A short, two-syllable name will avoid confusion with single-syllable commands.

  • Names should be short. A two-syllable name is best because it is brief and will not be confused with one-syllable commands such as "no" or "sit".
  • Be consistent. All family members should use the same name for the puppy


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