I always recommend that before bringing puppy home, clients find a stuffed dog for their new addition. Sometimes I get the feeling that people think this is a tad crazy! However, the puppies really do appreciate their new buddy and most bond with it quickly.
Try to remember that your puppy is likely leaving behind a litter of buddies and that the transition can be stressful on a number of levels. Puppies tend to sleep in “pig piles” when they’re together; completely on top of each other and cuddled up close for comfort. Suddenly, mom is gone, as are all the familiar sights, scents and sounds and they’re all alone in their crate or bed.
At this age, puppy vision is not highly advanced and they tend to see more generalized outlines and recognize color shades. So if you find a stuffed dog with similar size and coloring to their litter mates, and the same type of ears — floppy or up — puppies will recognize them as their new buddy.
Here’s Dante, happily curled up with a very chocolate lab looking toy!
As improbable as it may seem, I’ve seen it happen over and over and they really do seem to take some level of security and comfort from their stuffed buddy! Sonic still has his buddy, “Dale” as his favorite crate mate.
So help your puppy have a positive transition! Pick up a crate mate before bringing them home.