Skip to content

First Day With New Puppy Guide: 24 Hours & Beyond | Pupford

July 21st, 2023

Filed under New Puppies

Featured Image

It's finally here... your first day with a new puppy! He might be a puppy, or she might be an older rescue dog... either way, hooray!!

If you're like me, the two words you would probably use to describe your feelings are terrified and ecstatic.

In this article, we're going to break down how to set the right expectations, help your puppy acclimate, and of course, start bonding with your new puppy!

We're also going to include (at the end) two podcast interviews with certified dog trainers. The episodes dive into all things new puppies and how to approach those first 24 hours and initial days!

As a note... The things we'll talk about in this article are helpful, but not nearly as helpful as what you'll find in the 100% free New Dog Starter Course.

This video course, taught by Trevor Smith CPDT-KA, has guided videos covering home prep, the first 24 hours, and even a day-by-day schedule and breakdown for the first 5 days with your new puppy. Sign up for the free New Dog Starter Course here!

Let's get right to it. 👇

Related Reading: How to Introduce a New Puppy to Your Dog


man holding a new puppy | Pupford

Bringing your new puppy home can feel overwhelming, but with the right mindset, you can have a successful first 24 hours!

Here are some tips for successfully managing the first few days with a puppy:

  • Set realistic expectations
  • Prepare your home beforehand
  • How to navigate a new puppy with other dogs in the home
  • What to do in the first 24 hours
  • Setting ground rules
  • Focus on socialization and acclimation
  • Simple training ideas

Let's look at each tip in-depth below. 🙌

Related Reading: How Long Does it Take to Train a Puppy?


While you may have visions of raising a well-mannered pup (and you should), know that the first 24 hours and even a few days will be a little rough!

Keep your expectations of your puppy low, and your expectations of yourself very high. Your puppy is like a newborn, you shouldn't expect them to know how to "properly" behave!

Instead, focus on getting your pup used to you - your voice, talk to them a lot, touch them gently, and reward them with healthy treats for anything good.

Don’t expect too much from your pup. Avoid stress and fear. Keep things simple!

Know that there will be challenges, many of which can be reduced by properly preparing before your new puppy comes home. ⤵️

🐶 Don't miss out on the free & in-depth video course for your new puppy. Sign up for the New Dog Starter Course here! 🐶


a woman helping her new puppy acclimate | Pupford

First and foremost, safety hazards, like cords, can be dangerous. Take out cords, or put them in places that your pup can’t get to. Put little toys away (like legos), and generally pick up anything you don't want your puppy to chew on or destroy!

Think like a dog. What do you think your dog will be interested in? Keep things tidy and clean, inspect things, and think about what your new puppy could get into.

Think through where your pup’s toys, bed, crate, food, and water bowls will be. Have those spaces ready to go when your pup gets home!

Read a full article about puppy proofing your house here!

When in doubt, know that whatever your puppy has access to will likely get destroyed. 🙃

Related Reading: 31 Vital Things to Know Before Getting a Dog


Introducing a new puppy to your current dog safely is extremely important! While this topic requires a full read (see the link in the previous sentence), we'll offer some tips for this important introduction.

Here are the tips for introducing your new puppy to your current dog:

  • Make the introduction on neutral ground
  • Let your dogs interact while keeping a close eye on body language
  • Take them for a short walk together
  • Give your new dog a chance to explore their new home on their own
  • Set the environment up mindfully
  • Bring toys, treats, and chews into the mix carefully

Take things slow and know that relationships, even between dogs, take time and patience to nurture!

Related Reading: How to Train Multiple Dogs


a yellow lab puppy exploring his new home during the first 24 hours home | Pupford

In these crucial beginning hours together, keep things simple!

Walk your pup around your property, and make sure they go to the bathroom before going inside.

It can be a good idea to show them where their things are and generally just let them sniff around. It's a good idea to do this under immediate supervision and potentially even while on a leash.

You can also sit with your pup in a quiet area, where they will be spending time, and have some toys available so you can do some fun play!

One of the most important pieces of the first 24 hours with a new puppy is to let them out every 15-20 minutes to go potty. Establishing a consistent puppy potty schedule is key!

Other than that, you can treat it kind of like a “spa” day. Keep things relaxed and low-key. Your puppy is probably a bit nervous or scared of being away from their mom, so be patient and loving!

Try not to have a lot of people over or a huge gathering, just let them take in their new environments

Pro Tip: Take your puppy to the vet in the first 48 hours to help them get used to going to the vet.

🐶 Remember, get the full first 24-hour breakdown with your puppy, part of the New Dog Starter Course. Sign up for free here! 🐶


There are boundaries and structure to be followed - but make sure you do it in a kind and trusting way.

As a general rule of thumb, whatever your dog is doing now as a puppy (jumping on you, on furniture, etc.) will continue to happen. Imagine your 90 lb (or whatever size dog you will have) dog doing that… is that still okay with you?

Use management to make sure that your dog does not make mistakes - the more freedom you give a puppy, the more potential for problems (stealing socks & shoes, eating dangerous or toxic foods, etc) - those things can be avoided if you are strategic in planning. Block off areas, close doors, use baby gates, put your pup away while cooking, and just generally give less freedom than you'd think!

At the end of the day, it’s your dog, so you get to set your ground rules. You get to decide if your pup can go on furniture, etc. Just prevent anything that you don’t want happening, and stick to your rules.


holding a new puppy to bond during the first day home | Pupford

Really with every dog, it is good to start with setting up a structure and predictability because dogs like that.

So start with easy things like where you'll feed them, where they can sleep, and generally exploring their yard and home.

The early stage of puppy life is vital for socialization. Do as much as you can to help them pair all types of new and foreign sounds, objects, and people to positive associations.

Puppy socialization takes time, but can be started as soon as possible. Take the time to rub their paws and reward, practice playing potentially confusing sounds and reward, you get the idea!

Don't overwhelm your pup on day one, just give them time to acclimate and start to feel comfortable with you, their home, and being in a new place.

Related Reading: How to Desensitize a Dog to Fireworks


Let's be SUPER clear here, you don't need to worry about formal training the first 24 hours with your puppy. The only "training" on day 1 should be starting to work on potty training by taking your puppy out every 15-20 minutes.

After the first day or so of just letting your puppy acclimate, you can start to do some basic training. The first training is to work on basic focus behaviors, name recognition, and impulse control (like sitting for their food).

You can also being to help your puppy learn how to do crate training. This should be done slowly and patiently. Just let them freely explore the crate (or playpen area) and give rewards as they do!

You can also start really easy with them and begin teaching them their name. Say their name and when they look, mark and reward the behavior.

Remember, don't overwhelm your new puppy in the first 2-3 days. Just keep things simple!

🐶 Learn fun and easy training games for the first 5 days with your new puppy as part of the New Dog Starter Course. Sign up for free here!


a new puppy looking at his new owner the first day home | Pupford

Above all, focus on your relationship in those first few days and weeks! Do things to improve your bond like playtime, walks, mental exercise (Traci recommends Snuffle Mats), and other things to help your dog gain confidence and feel comfortable!

Remember, stay patient and understand that each dog learns at a different pace! As a recap, here are some things to focus on and keep in mind during your first day with your new puppy:

  • Set realistic expectations
  • Prepare your home beforehand
  • How to navigate a new puppy with other dogs in the home
  • What to do in the first 24 hours
  • Setting ground rules
  • Focus on socialization and acclimation
  • Simple training ideas

Remember, all things take time when it comes to puppies. So, be patient!

Related Reading: Puppy Fear Periods


A new puppy can feel overwhelming, check out 2 popular podcast episodes with certified trainers that go in-depth about your new puppy experience! 👇

Related Reading: How to Train a Rescue Dog

Audio Podcast of First Day With Puppy

Want to hear more podcasts like this? Please click here.

Video Podcast of First 24 Hours

Want to see more videos like this? Please click here.

New Dog Expectations & Game Plan Interview with Dog Trainer Erika Gonzalez

What did you do on your first day with your new puppy? Tell us in the comments below!

And don't forget to sign up for the in-depth, video course covering ALL things new puppies, the New Dog Starter Course. Get started now!

🐶 Don't miss out on the free & in-depth video course for your new puppy. Sign up for the New Dog Starter Course here! 🐶


Your Cart

Shipping & taxes calculated at checkout