A Guide to Puppy Pick-Up Day

So you received the call that your puppy is ready for pick up, now what? If you are a new dog owner, like us, then this guide to puppy pick-up day will prove to be especially useful. We researched what to expect, what to bring and how to thoroughly prepare for the big day, so you don’t have to!

I lifted the information here from an article I wrote, “OUR FIRST DOG AND DOBERMAN, ATLAS, IS HOME AT LAST!“, to create this standalone guide. As first time dog owners ourselves, consequently, we had no idea what to expect on puppy pick-up day. This guide is a culmination of my research, speaking with our breeder and fellow Doberman enthusiasts on various platforms. I created this guide separately so folks who have arranged for their big day can quickly access the information.

The First of Several Doberman Puppy Guides

This guide to puppy pick-up day will be the first guide in our Doberman Puppy series. Subsequent Doberman puppy guides will include house breaking and training tips.

Set Up a Daily Routine and Stick to it On Day One

If you haven’t done so already, set up a daily routine and schedule, then stick to it on day one. Daily routine include meal times (3 meals a day for Doberman puppies between 8-16 weeks old), play times and bed time.

1-hour or Shorter Drive

Besides the remaining balance of your puppy, what you bring with you is contingent on the distance of your drive. At minimal, you’ll need some doggy bags, a bottle of water, treats, a blanket and a leash. If you need to crate your puppy on the return trip home, bring a crate with crate bed.

2-hours or Longer Drive

If your drive will be 2 hours or longer, then you’ll need to thoroughly plan the trip. This includes estimating stopping points for breaks, more on this below.

I recommend and packed the following items with us during our long trip.

We stashed our puppy pick-up supplies into an old travel diaper bag tote we’ve used for our son when he was an infant. Fortunately, we did not have to use the stain remover, odor control, paper towels or nitrile gloves.

Why it’s Imperative to Take Breaks During Long Drives

A friend and her husband weren’t so lucky during their puppy pick-up experience. Their puppy, a pomski, literally got car sick on their return trip to SoCal from Fresno. The result? The puppy vomited, urinated and defecated on her husband’s lap. They did not plan intermittent stops for their puppy to have bathroom breaks. They just assumed that their puppy could hold it on the return trip, a good 260 miles / 5 hour drive. Those cleaning supplies would’ve come in handy in their situation, and a clean change of clothes! Be prepared and be thorough is my point.

Map out estimated stopping points on your long drive back home from puppy pick-up day.
This may look like overkill, but it will help tremendously. Especially if the long drive back includes long patches of road with sparse stops (30+ miles between gas stations, rest stops).

Assuming your Doberman puppy is 8 weeks old on puppy pick-up day, plan a stop every 2½ to 3 hours on the road. Plan your rest points accordingly, factoring predictable traffic into the route to account for time. For example, a 25 mile patch on the 405-S freeway in Los Angeles county typically takes an hour to overcome, even on the weekends. Knowing this, we can estimate the next rest point for Atlas.

We stopped twice in the 6 hour drive back to Southern California from Northern California. The first stop was at 1:30 PM where Atlas had his lunch and water break. He did not need to relieve himself at the first stop. Atlas only had to urinate on the second stop at 3:53 PM.

When You Arrive Home

While it is tempting to play with your new furry family member and shower it with love, avoid doing so. Your puppy will be hungry, tired, and anxious or perhaps even scared. It will be alone for the first time, separated from his litter mates and breeder and in a strange new place. Your number one priority is to acclimate your puppy to your home as seamless as possible. Ensuring that your puppy feels comfortable, secure and safe in your presence is key to acclimating it to your home.

Give Your Puppy a Tour of Your Home

As soon as you arrive home, guide your puppy to its designated outdoor bathroom area so it can relieve itself. Do this even before you start unloading your car. Once it has relieved itself, let your puppy explore its new home. Introduce your new puppy to his crate.

If your puppy hasn’t eaten in over 4 hours, give it water and sufficient amount of food as recommended by your breeder. Your puppy may need to go outside again 30 minutes after having its meal and water, so be prepared. Once your puppy has had time to enjoy its first meal and gulp down water at its new home, allow it to settle down. It has been a chaotic day. Let it to explore your home and every room. Introduce it to all your family members, including other pets. Before you know it, your new Doberman puppy will recognize and accept its new home.

Quiet Time

Your puppy is tired and over stimulated from a long drive home, experiencing all the road bumps and noise, radio and other clatter along the way. When it is bed time, guide your puppy into its crate and call it a night! A crate cover may be necessary to help your puppy ease into its new crate.

Overnight Bathroom Break(s)

Understand that if your puppy is younger than 5 months old, it will most likely need an overnight bathroom break. That means you’ll need to set yourself a reminder to take your puppy outside. For us, Atlas will whine and whimper when he needs to relieve himself overnight. This started at 2:00 AM every night, then 3:00 AM and will gradually come later. We place Atlas’ crate near our bedroom, so we can hear him if he needs to take a premature overnight break.

Take At Least Three Days Off From Work

Plan to take at least three days off from work so you and your family can bond with your new Doberman puppy. A week off is even better if that is an option. You’ll need that day or two off because your puppy will experience separation anxiety on its second night. Depending on your puppy’s temperament, this can mean all night howling and whining and 3 hours of sleep on your part. So at the end, you won’t be able to function efficiently at work any ways.

I hope you find this guide to puppy pick-up day useful. If you have tips or recommendations, or ideas to improve this guide, please share your idea by commenting below!

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