Bringing Home a New Puppy from Sunshine Acres

Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting adventure and the beginning of a wonderful journey with your new Best Furry Friend (BFF). At Sunshine Acres, we want to make sure that your transition to puppy ownership is as stress-free as possible for you and your puppy, so we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you prepare for your puppy’s arrival and adjustment to its new home.


Scheduling Arrangements

As you await the going-home date, it’s crucial to make the necessary arrangements to welcome your new companion. The earliest going-home date starts when the puppies are 8.5 weeks old. If you need to pick up your puppy on another date besides the earliest going-home date, let us know and we will do our best to accommodate you. We are open by appointment every day of the week except for Sunday. Schedule your puppy’s homecoming date at a time when you will be able to stay at home for a couple of days. A puppy will quickly bond with your family and adjust to its new routine as you spend time together. 

If you are picking up your puppy from Sunshine Acres, contact us to schedule your appointment. Please share a time range of an hour or two when you wish to arrive, and we will share the available appointment times in that range for you to select from. When your puppy’s going home appointment day and time arrives, we will have your puppy ready for traveling when you arrive. We are in the Eastern time zone (Indianapolis time) but only live a few miles away from where it switches to Central time, which can be confusing if one is unaware of which time zone we are in.

If your puppy is being delivered by air, we will schedule the flight arrangements and nanny delivery service if applicable, and let you know when and where you need to go to receive your puppy. You can learn more about our delivery or shipping options on our Frequently Asked Questions page

After arrangements are made, the next step is to wait patiently as your puppy is growing quickly and preparing for the exciting day of joining your family. As you wait for your puppy’s going home date to arrive, this is the perfect time to gather the puppy supplies, schedule your puppy’s first appointment at your vet, and consider the obedience training options available in your area.

Puppy-Proofing Your Home

Puppies are naturally inquisitive, exploring every nook and cranny. However, their curiosity can lead them to serious illness or injury, so it’s important to make your home safe. Make sure your puppy can not access electrical wires around the house. Close household chemicals behind doors and put away any medications. Be especially careful with antifreeze, poisonous plants, xylitol (an artificial sweetener found in sugar-free gum and candies that is toxic in very small quantities), chocolate and other toxic human foods. Take the time now to research what plants in your home and yard could be harmful to your puppy, and make sure your puppy’s home environment is a safe one. There are many helpful resources online, such as this one from the American Kennel Club, for puppy-proofing your home.


The Trip Home

For the trip home from Sunshine Acres, you may hold your puppy on your lap or bring along its travel crate if you are coming alone. Also, bring along clean-up supplies in case your puppy gets motion sickness on the way home, as this is common in young puppies. Other helpful items to have are a collar, leash, old towel or blanket, potty pad, water and a small bowl for water. 

Once you are home, give your puppy a chance to potty and offer it food and water. This is a good time to bond with your puppy, so plenty of cuddling and play are great. We recommend spending time cradling your puppy occasionally throughout the day for strong bonding time. For a great beginning with your new puppy, plan the going home date at a time when you can primarily be at home with the puppy. With few interruptions planned, this will help your puppy adjust to its new home and family quickly.


For feeding, our puppies are used to eating at about 7 AM and again in the evening around 4 to 7 PM. Offer your puppy food (1/3 to 1/2 cup per feeding is common, but the specific amount for your puppy’s size and age will be on its Health Record), putting its bowl down for 20 minutes and then taking it up again. If it doesn’t eat anything for that feeding, just wait until its next meal to offer food again. Your puppy should eat twice a day. If you would like to feed your puppy three times a day, that is okay, too, but you will need to adjust the amounts accordingly. 

A puppy usually needs to potty about 5-20 minutes after a meal, so watch it closely for a potty break after they eat. Try to be consistent about what time each day it is fed as a puppy who eats on a schedule also potties on a schedule. Leave water available all the time (except in the crate), taking it up a couple of hours before bedtime. 

Our puppies are used to eating Purina Pro Plan Puppy Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice Dry Dog Food. We have chosen this food for our puppies because of its well-balanced recipe and high-quality ingredients. Be sure to feed this food for at least the first week or two. If you wish to change to another high-quality, nutritionally balanced puppy food, do so gradually over about a 7-10 day period, as switching to another food too quickly will cause loose stools.

Potty Training

Professional trainers agree that the crate training method of potty training is the quickest way to potty train a puppy. Dogs avoid going to the bathroom near their eating and sleeping areas, so they will, by instinct, try to keep their den (crate) clean. While you are interacting with your puppy, it could stay out of the crate as long as you like. When it has to potty, it will start to circle and sniff, looking for a place to potty. You will quickly pick up on its body language and can take it outside (through the same door to the same potty spot). 

If you are not going to be watching the puppy, put it in its crate. Every time you will not be attentive to the puppy, be sure to put the puppy back in its crate during the first couple of weeks. Since the puppy will try to hold its potty when it is in the crate, and someone’s eyes will be on the puppy any time it is not in its crate, this will set the puppy up for quick success in potty training. 

A rule of thumb for time in the crate is one hour per month of age for a puppy. So, the puppy should not be left in the crate for more than about 2 hours at this point. They can hold it longer than that, but we don’t want them to have to get in the habit of holding it for a long time, especially as you are beginning their potty training. If a puppy is left in the crate too long so that an accident in the crate happens, then backward steps in training are being taken. Using a timer can be helpful as a reminder of when it is time for the puppy’s potty or play break. 

Give your puppy plenty of opportunities to potty, and if it has been in the crate for a while, be sure it has a chance to run and play before it is crated again. The wire crates with an adjustable divider are very nice, as you can make the crate small enough that he only has room to lay down and spread out comfortably. Do not leave the crate any larger than this, as then a puppy will be more likely to think one corner of the big crate is his potty and the other corner is his den/bed/clean area. Do not put any blankets/beds in the crate for the first month since a puppy is less likely to soil its crate if it is left bare. However, it would be fine to leave toys in its crate.

Nighttime Routine

It seems to help the puppy at night if their crate can be put in a bedroom near the family for the first few nights. Or, put its crate by the couch and have someone sleep near the puppy. Some puppies can sleep all night, and sometimes they will need to get up once or twice during the night. Do not wake your puppy to take it out to potty. The puppy will bark, whine or whimper if it needs to go out to potty and wake you. A 9-week-old puppy usually needs to potty twice during the night. A 10 to 11-week-old puppy usually potties once during the night. By 12 to 13 weeks of age, a puppy will usually be sleeping the night through. 

If you find the puppy is consistently getting up more than once during the night, set your alarm for around 2 AM and take it to potty. Each night, move the alarm back half an hour (2:30 AM the second night, 3 AM the third night, etc.), gradually stretching out the time until it can sleep through until morning. However, if your puppy does not wake up on its own during the night, there is no need to wake it for a potty break. Let it sleep the night through.


We will give you a blanket for you to take home with your puppy that has its mother and littermates’ scent on it. This will help the puppy feel more at ease during the first few days as it adjusts to its new home. The first 3-5 days is the time of greatest adjustment for a puppy in its new home. Your puppy might be intimidated by things that are new or bark when it is in its crate. Continue to use the crate, even if the puppy cries when it is in it, as once it gets used to all the new things, it will love the comfort and security of its crate or “den”. You will notice its comfort level increasing each day that goes by. It seems that by the time the first week is past, a puppy will be adjusted to the new routine and will have already bonded strongly with their new family. During nighttime, spread the blanket we send home with you over the puppy’s crate. It will smell familiar and help to shorten the adjustment time.


Health Record and Microchip Information

When you pick up or receive your puppy, we will give you its health record, which contains information such as your puppy’s microchip number, vaccinations, preventative dewormers, etc. Be sure your vet gets this record so they know what has already been done with the puppy and what still needs to be done to complete its immunizations. 

Your puppy’s microchip number will need to be registered in your name. To register (activate) your puppy’s microchip, visit the BuddyID Microchip Identification System’s website. A small one-time fee (around $25) enrolls you and your puppy for life into the 24-hour Pet Recovery Network and Call Center and into the National Pet Microchip Look-up Tool. By activating this chip, you will be linking its chip number to your contact information. Without activation, the microchip is useless, like a blank tag. You will need the entire 10-digit number to activate its chip, which is recorded on its health record. Your vet can also use a microchip scanner to read the microchip, which is implanted over the puppy’s shoulder blade area. A couple of weeks after you have completed this registration, check the online microchip databases that the registration has been processed. Instructions for registering your puppy’s microchip will also be on the health record. Do not neglect to register your puppy’s chip number, as the microchip is useless without your contact information.

How to Groom Your Puppy

Grooming is an important part of owning a non-shedding dog. Use a pin brush over the puppy’s coat once or twice a week and also comb deep into the coat once a week. At the length it is now, grooming isn’t really needed, but it is important for him to get used to being handled. Play with its feet, ears, toes, mouth, tail, etc., often so the puppy is used to it. A haircut will be needed every two to three months. Try to limit bathing to once a month if possible, although bathing as often as once a week is okay. As his coat grows longer, be careful that you are combing/brushing deep into the coat. The tangles/mats will not develop on the end of the hair but right next to the skin (especially behind the ears). The first haircut is a hygiene trim around the face, feet and potty area and is usually needed between 12 and 16 weeks of age.


Obedience Training

We recommend taking formal obedience training classes with your puppy. It is good for the puppy to continue to be socialized with new people, places, and other dogs. If you prefer, professional trainers can also do individual classes or come to your home for private lessons. Choose a class/trainer that uses gentle, positive reinforcement methods. Our puppy breeds are by nature soft-hearted, gentle dogs, and harsh training methods can break their spirits (no prong collars needed). Most classes do not allow a puppy to begin until all of their puppy shots are finished, which is usually around 12-16 weeks of age. Limit your puppy’s exposure to unknown dogs until all of his puppy shots have been finished. Your friends’ and families’ healthy dogs with current vaccinations are fine for your puppy to be around. 

For training at home (the most important kind of training), Jan Fennell’s book The Dog Listener is very helpful and one we highly recommend reading through. Just a few minutes each day spent in fun interaction and training with your puppy will reap lifelong benefits. While we recommend taking obedience classes as a continued socialization experience for the puppy, as the dog’s owner, you are by far the best-equipped person to train your puppy. 

Since a young puppy has a short attention span, brief but frequent training times will have the greatest impact. Try to link training times with your daily routine to help training become a habit. One example would be to work on having your puppy sit before it receives each meal. Keep the training sessions short and fun for you both. By learning how to interact with your puppy and understanding how a dog’s mind works, potential behavior problems will be avoided. Help your puppy understand what its boundaries are through training. A well-mannered puppy is one who will be loved by everyone and welcome anywhere!

Training tips

For rude behavior like nipping or jumping, we recommend reaching down during the act and cradling firmly and lovingly in the prone position with your puppy’s tummy facing up. Timeouts in this position start when your puppy holds still and should last for no more than 5-10 seconds. I encourage my puppies during a timeout by talking gently to them and scratching their ears and tummy. If you notice the little tail just whirring away and lots of licking, you have accomplished your purpose.

Obedience Training Rebate

Sunshine Acres offers a $200 rebate if you train your puppy to the level that it can pass the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Certification evaluation. The Canine Good Citizen program covers 10 basic skills to instill confidence and good manners in your puppy. The CGC certification is a first step for those who wish to do therapy work with their dog or for those who would like to join the AKC’s many other organized activities. Their website is a great training resource.


We hope that this guide helps you feel confident in bringing a new puppy home. At Sunshine Acres, we believe in being a resource for your puppy’s care throughout its life. We are here to answer any questions you may have so that you are equipped to provide the most loving and healthy home possible. Feel free to contact us with any questions, and congratulations on your new puppy!

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