You should be familiar with all of the possible stresses involved with the changes of going home. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. This is a very important time in your puppy's life and it is vital that you make its transition as smooth as possible.

Picking Up the Puppy

Go straight home. Do not take the puppy to visit friends, relatives or neighbors en route. Do not allow visitors to the house for several days. Lock away all other household pets, particularly adult dogs. The puppy will be going through a traumatic experience. It has never been away from its mother, littermates, prior owner, or its house. Keep the confusion and distraction to a minimum. The first few days are crucial to a puppy's emotional stability and can have a strong bearing on how it behaves in your family. I will also try to send you home with a piece of cloth with the mother's scent still on it. This should help comfort the puppy in its new home. Puppy-proof your entire home before you come to pick up the puppy. It only takes a brief moment for tragedy to strike. Do not place your puppy up on a sofa, bed, or chair. Dislocated or broken bones may result from even very low falls to the floor.

Purchase a leash and a collar in advance. They are not needed for the ride home but once there, they are essential items for any outside excursions. Bring three towels when you come to pick up the puppy. Keep one dampened in a plastic bag for any accidents during the car ride home. The puppy should be snuggled all the way home, offering reassurance all day and for the next few days. The air conditioner in the car should be kept as low as possible and windows should remain up.

Bring one or two empty gallon jugs when you pick up the puppy. I will fill them with water from my home to which the puppy has grown accustomed. Put the water in the puppy's dish upon arrival at your home. Immediately refill the water jug with water from your own tap. After several days of this the puppy will be entirely weaned onto your own local tap water. Do not assume that your tap water is the same. Puppy's systems are very sensitive at this time and will show you the folly of your way by voiding their upset stomachs onto your floor.

Waiting At Home

Already you should have purchased the following items and set up the house to ensure that your puppy is well cared for right from the start:

Bring the puppy into the house and place it in a semi-darkened and quiet room. Stay with the puppy. One or two people is plenty. Allow the puppy to roam and explore its new surroundings. Show it its food and water dishes, allowing it to drink as much as it wants. Kids will want to play and lavish attention on the puppy. They should be discouraged from doing so during the initial hours. There will be plenty of days and years of that ahead. Explain to them the frightened state of the puppy and the need to maintain a quiet and peaceful environment at first. Continually reassure the puppy but do not "overdo it". The puppy may or may not go to the bathroom soon after its arrival. Each puppy will be different but it is something to be aware of. A small radio turned low will help the puppy feel comforted when it is left alone. If your puppy cries when left alone, do not respond to him unless it is an obvious emergency. Cries for attention should be ignored. It will only encourage him to cry when he wants attention and this is an awfully hard habit to break.


The puppy should be fed "Brand X" for the first several weeks. Your puppy has been fed this since it first started eating solids and any change in diet will surely bring on severe cases of diarrhea. If, after two or three weeks, you wish to switch to another brand of puppy food, you can start mixing it in to the Brand X diet in ever-increasing proportions, until the Brand X is eliminated. I, however, would recommend keeping the puppy on this brand until it is an adult. It is expensive but is one of, if not the best, popular brands on the market.

Border Collies are notoriously finicky eaters. Their caloric output is usually quite high and yet they do not "wolf down" their food like so many other breeds. Do not fear. Some people simply leave their food out all day and allow them to eat as they wish, rather like a cat. Others prefer to feed at regimented times and remove the food after a sufficient time span. Whatever works best for you is fine. It is generally a battle to get Border Collie to eat and is simply a quirk of their breed.


Additionally, your puppy has been started on heartworm preventative. Its first dose was at six weeks of age. Its next dose should be given at ten weeks and further doses every month for the puppy's entire lifetime. Your puppy has been given Interceptor.

Do's and Dont's

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Page last updated January 10, 1998. All material Copyright © 2004 Border Collie Rescue, Inc.
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