After you select the puppy of your dreams, you get to take him home without a manual to tell you how to succeed at raising him. The first night is always hard because the puppy will start to miss his Mom and other siblings. He may cry or whine throughout the night. One can hardly blame him for his actions.
The pup will need a soft, dry, and safe place to sleep. Perhaps throw in a cloth or toy that has his litter mates or Mom’s scent on it. If you run to him when he cries, you will be reinforcing the habit. Placing a sheet over the box or crate will get the pup used to going to sleep at that time.
Puppies are mischievous by nature, and like their feline companions, get into everything. Be sure hazardous items like marbles, wires, rocks, and any type of harmful plants are far out of the puppy’s way.
Enthusiastically praising a puppy when they do something right is very effective in reinforcing correct behaviour. When you have to say NO, you should show them the correct behaviour. For example, if your puppy is chewing up the newspaper, take it away and replace it with one of their toys. Praise the puppy for chewing their toy. Reprimands should be sharp and short. Hitting or spanking may create more problems down the road. The pup can become fearful, shy, or aggressive. Always reward for proper behaviours. Treats make a great reinforcer. So is a simple scratch between the ears and a hug. Ideally use your hand to praise; not to hit the dog.
Feed them a dry food especially made for puppies. Watch out for very high protein and extra vitamins as they may be harmful to your growing puppy. Feed them two or three times a day. Usually after fifteen minutes, the pup will have eaten all they want, so you can remove the dish. As they grow, after ten to twelve weeks of age, feed them once in the morning and once at night.
All of these basic tips should help your new puppy get through those first horrible weeks away from his family and help build a lifelong bond with you and the family.