How to Help a Puppy Feel Safe

by Ann Compton
    Puppies will miss their litter mates for a few days.

    Puppies will miss their litter mates for a few days.

    Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images

    When you pick up your new puppy, she's just been separated from her mother and siblings. She will be confused and lonely and won't understand why she's alone. It will take her a few days to realize that you are her new family. Make her feel safe and comfortable by doing a few simple things to ease the transition from the puppy litter to your home.

    Snuggle Time

    Your puppy has been accustomed to sleeping and snuggling with the warm bodies of her mother and litter mates. She will learn quickly that you are her security. Spend as much time with her as possible the first few days after she comes home. Let her cuddle with you in between play time and trips outside to potty. She will feel your warmth and heartbeat. It will remind her of her litter and help her feel safe.

    Give Puppy a Den

    Provide a crate for your puppy to be her den. It should be large enough for her to stand up and turn around. Anything larger won't give her the feeling of security she needs. Line it with a soft, washable blanket, and place a towel or cloth inside the crate with the scent of her litter mates when she first comes home. After a week or so, replace it with something that has your scent. Put a soft, puppy-safe toy inside. Avoid leaving anything in the crate that could choke the puppy when you're not with her. Bones or toys made of pieces that can break off should not be left in the crate.

    Bedtime for Baby

    Choose a spot in your bedroom for the puppy to sleep and move her crate there each night at bedtime. Being close to you and hearing you move and breathe will make her feel safe overnight, while giving her the security of sleeping in her own den. Once she's house-trained, provide a dog bed for her so she has her own spot in your room. Don't let the puppy sleep on the bed with you unless you plan to let her do it permanently.

    Play Area

    Use gates or an exercise pen to close off a section of the room where your puppy will spend most of her time, preferably one without carpeting until your puppy is house-trained. Put some old blankets or towels on the floor and provide a few toys and chews for the puppy. Don't make the space too large, but leave enough room for her to romp around. Having her own place to play will help your puppy feel secure.

    When Puppies Cry

    Expect some whining the first night or two when you bring your puppy home. She's just been separated from her litter mates and her mother. Some puppies will go right to sleep, but others will cry when you put them in the crate. Leave a night light on in the room and a clock ticking near the crate to help her feel safe. If the puppy isn't in your room, leave a radio playing softly. Cover three sides of the crate with a light blanket. This will give your puppy an added feeling of security.

    Photo Credits

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    About the Author

    With more than 25 years in journalism, Ann Compton has written for national newspapers, magazines and websites. She has covered the equestrian events in five Olympics as well as the Westminster Dog Show and specializes in animal topics. She breeds, trains and shows Shetland Sheepdogs.

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