Puppy advice: Five top tips from Dr Scott Miller

26th September 2023
Take a look at Dr Scott Miller's top tips on preparing for the arrival of your new puppy.
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So, you’ve committed to adding a new four-legged to your home. This brings a mixture of excitement, anticipation, joy. However, it is important to remember this can be quite a daunting experience for puppies, who in their first months, require a lot of care and attention. Luckily, expert veterinary surgeon, Dr Scott Miller, has shared five top tips to make the process of introducing a new puppy into your home a smooth transition.

From day one, puppy parenting needs to be begun in earnest, with toilet training and socialising a must while yourself learning the art of canine communication. Here are five top tips to help ensure that your hairy toddler settles in perfectly.

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1. Puppy proofing

Before setting off to collect your new canine companion, make sure you have thought through where your pup will be allowed to venture. From baby gates to sleeping crates, establishing some ground rules with family members and house mates will make for a much more harmonious and calmer introduction into your home.

With your adventurous yet hapless pup wanting to investigate their new surroundings from the get-go, get down to their level and check for any dangers such as electrical cables, pot plants and other chewable objects and put them out of harms reach. Rugs, carpets, coffee tables, electrical appliances, personal belongings and open fires are just the start of things that may cause injury to a playful puppy, and the potential harmful effects to your new investigative fluffball may lead to a premature and unnecessary trip to the V.E.T!


2. Travelling home

It's best to plan pick up for the afternoon or evening, when your new puppy is already feeling a little drowsy after a long day playing with their siblings. Request a blanket from the whelping box to help soothe your puppy with familiar smells of mum, placing them in a travel crate alongside pup and securely attached to a seatbelt to ensure a safe transit home.


3. Arriving home

Keep excitement to a minimum to avoid any fearful responses, playing with them for a short while and allowing for a chaperoned exploratory tour around their new home. With food offered similar to that fed by the breeder and then access to a puppy pad for toileting, an introduction to their sleeping crate or bed will hopefully be well received.

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4. Surviving the first night

I thoroughly advocate 'pup-ternity' leave, with a week of semi-sleepless nights and quality time with your new furry friend a wonderful investment in your shared future...and sanity. With dogs being creatures of habit, stick to the same bed time and routine, offering the mum-scented blanket and some toys to keep them occupied until sleep descends.

It is completely understandable for a puppy to be upset for the first few nights, after being separated from mum and siblings suddenly and now in a completely new environment a lot for your little pup to process. Sleeping near them for the first few nights and pre-emptive toilet wake ups can work wonders in avoiding your new puppy waking up and becoming increasingly upset, and like all great relationships, things take time to settle and routines to cement.

Hot water bottles to snuggle up to, soothing music and pheromone diffusers can help calm an anxious fur baby in the early days and nights, while managing your own expectations by knowing that puppies tend to only sleep a maximum of six hours at a time!

5. Introductions and plenty of play time

Over the coming days your puppy can then be slowly exposed to other housemates, with other dogs, cats and children all monitored very closely to keep interactions positive and calm.

Baby gates are a brilliant tool to keep some interactions at paws length, giving all others the run of the house while your new and likely mischievous fur baby is kept safely confined. Active play and training can begin immediately and is recommended before interactions with others, and of course don't leave it to long before you organise your pup's first check up with their local vet. Once fully vaccinated, your puppy can then begin to venture outdoors, experiencing the sights and sounds of other dogs, people, children, traffic and wildlife in a manner that is considered and careful.

Just remember, no interaction is better than a negative one, with vigilance and common-sense key to a chilled pup. Seek advice from your vet, local dog trainers, behaviourists and even fellow dog owners so that you continue to build on and cultivate with your new canine companion what can be one of the most meaningful relationships of your life.


For more expert tips, advice and anecdotes on raising your new canine companion, check out Puppy Parenting by Dr Scott Miller, Veterinary Surgeon, Broadcaster and Dog Dad.


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