For dog lovers, bringing an 8 week old puppy home is one of the most joyous times imaginable. There is nothing but sheer happiness as you bring this small bundle of fur into your house to meet her new family.
Of course, as any experienced dog owner will tell you, adopting an eight week old puppy doesn’t always run smoothly. When bringing a puppy home at 8 weeks, you can expect a few teething troubles as they get to know you. There will be little accidents all over the house, and these small dogs can be surprisingly destructive!
However, never fear, because we are here to help. We’ll help you settle your new fur baby into your house and make sure that you can focus on sharing the love with your adorable pup.
This article is especially useful for first time owners, but even experienced dog lovers will find some great information here. Like us, even if you have had dogs for years, we sometimes forget what adventures an 8 week old puppy gets up to!
Life with a puppy is much, much easier when you are well prepared. They are developing their own unique personalities as they grow and explore the world. However, there are some things that all puppies do, and you can make sure you are ready to go.
So, ever onwards we go, so let’s start at the beginning. What can you expect when bringing a puppy home at 8 weeks?
What To Expect From A New Puppy
It goes without saying that new puppies are completely adorable! Nature has the design of baby animals down to perfection, and they are sure to melt your heart.
We have packed loads of information into this article, so here’s a handy jump list if you have a specific question. Don’t forget to bookmark this article because you can keep coming back whenever you want.
There are many things to love about puppies. They smell delicious and their big brown eyes make them irresistible as they look for love and protection.
And, when we hold an 8 week old Labrador puppy in our arms, we are simply overwhelmed with the need to protect him.
Despite this, there will probably be times during the next few days when you question the sanity of your decision to get a puppy at all! They can drive you mad!
But, don’t worry, it is all part of the process and you just have to be patient. Perhaps this should be the first part of the article. A survival guide for when your new pup drives you crazy!
Is Your 8 Week Old Puppy Driving You Crazy?
No matter how cute and adorable she is, during the first few weeks, there may be times when you are tempted to take your pup right back where she came from!
Because puppies, like babies, can be hard work. Cleaning up puddles of pee and piles of poop is no fun. Perhaps your eight week old puppy chews dad’s slippers to pieces, or bites the kids when he gets carried away when he plays.
It can be annoying and frustrating!
But hang on in there.
When you are sleep deprived and your life has just been turned upside down, it isn’t the best time to make major decisions. Don’t forget, they are just going through a phase that will soon pass.
With the help of this guide and the resources you’ll find on this website, peace will soon be restored. Soon, these teething problems will seem like a bad dream and you will be able to focus on giving your adorable puppy lots of love and attention.
We’ll look at some of the areas where an 8 week puppy and new puppy parents may come into conflict in a moment. First, let’s deal with some common new puppy parent worries.
Feeding Puppies at 8 Weeks
Puppies need feeding much more frequently than older dogs. That isn’t because they can’t eat a whole day’s food in one go. In fact, your new addition will happily wolf down food until his tummy bulges. However, it puppies do that, it upsets their little tummies.
And, as we know from bitter experience, looking after a puppy with diarrhea is no fun at all!
So, don’t be tempted to let your puppy keep eating just because she seems hungry. Trust us, she will, because Labrador puppies are always hungry! You have to ration out her food and make sure that she eats little and often.
Don’t let her bully you with those adorable puppy eyes. And, trust us, she will try to look ever so sad when she has finished her food!
When feeding puppies at 8 weeks, you need to know how much your puppy needs to eat in a 24 hour period. Then, you can divide that amount between at least 4 meals.
Puppy Feeding Schedules
If you want a bit more detail about puppy feeding schedules, check out our detailed guide to feeding a Labrador puppy. It contains all this information and much more. Just click on that link and you’ll be there!
The principles are the same for any medium to large breed of dog though, of course, you’ll need to adjust the quantities. Because every dog food and every puppy is different, there is a bit of trial and error involved.
Once you have the whole food thing under control, what’s the next stage! Well, with a full belly, he’s probably ready to sleep. You want to encourage him to sleep for as long as possible so he doesn’t keep you awake or leave you a mess to clean up in the morning.
Now, if you haven’t already decided, you’ll need to think about what you are going to do with your puppy when you go to bed tonight.
Settling down your 8 week old puppy for the night and getting her into a routine can be one of the hardest things to do. You have to get her used to a schedule that makes sure that you and she get a good nights sleep with no accidents.
In fact, the first night can sometimes be the most important because it sets the tone for the future.
First Night With Puppy
So, your 8 week puppy is about to spend his first night in his new home. Just to help you, we’ll look at some options and give you some tips on things to avoid.
Although many puppy owners want to take their furball to bed, it’s best not to expect your puppy to sleep in or on your bed. Not for the first few weeks, anyway.
You can guarantee that he’ll fall off, possibly hurt himself, and wander around your bedroom leaving little puddles. He’ll also spend time getting stuck behind the wardrobe and chewing through the cables to your bedside lamp.
If there is anything he isn’t supposed to do, you can be sure that he’ll do it!
Later on you can bed share with your Lab. But, it’s best not to do it right now, unless you puppy proof the room and sleep on the floor.
It’s also best not to leave an 8 week old puppy free to roam the house at night. Although you might think your home is a safe place, there is so much potential for harm. Even if you only sleep for six hours or so, a puppy can get up to a great deal of mischief in that time.
Well, we’ve told you what you shouldn’t do, so why don’t we give you a few tips on what you should do.
First Night Options For An 8 Week Old Puppy
It’s her first night away from home, and she may be frightened and lonely. Developing a sleeping routine and helping her enjoy a restful first night will also make sure that you manage to sleep.
We have three options for you that should help you get a good night’s sleep with few accidents. The first two options enable you to sleep separately from your puppy, although this isn’t always a good idea to begin with. We’ll explain why in a moment.
First, let’s look at those three alternative sleeping arrangement for the first few nights
- A puppy safe sleeping area
- A puppy crate
- A sturdy box (or crate) next to your bed
#1 The Puppy Safe Sleeping Area
A puppy safe sleeping area can be a good option for keeping puppy safe while you sleep, and making sure that you can clean up after any inevitable accidents.
Just before you go to bed, make sure you take her outside to use the toilet. Then, you can put puppy to bed in a puppy proof room with a washable floor. Or, you can put her bed inside a large puppy playpen.
Don’t forget to put plenty of newspaper or puppy pads down to cover most of the floor. She’ll pee and poop on this during the night and you’ll need to clean up promptly in the morning. Otherwise, she is bound to jump in it and she’ll be in serious need of a bath!
If you don’t have somewhere you can puppy proof, maybe a crate is the perfect option for you.
#2 A Puppy Crate
Alternatively, you can shut your 8 week puppy in a small enough crate and set an alarm to remind you to take him out during the night.
If you get this right, your puppy will be clean and dry from the start. You won’t have to worry about the puppy jumping in its own poop, which is sometimes a problem with Option #1. On the other hand, you WILL have to get up in the night.
You might have to do this for two weeks or so because many 8 week old puppies can’t last all night without a pee
#3 A Box Next To Your Bed
Placing your puppy in a cosy nest, in a tall strong cardboard box next to your bed, gives a puppy a great start to his new life. You will probably still need to get up in the night, but you won’t need to set an alarm because you’ll hear your puppy stir and whimper when he needs to go out to pee.
If he is just a little worried, you’ll be able to stroke and comfort him without getting out of bed. If your puppy sleeps right through the night, you can wake him up when you are ready to take him out.
No. 3 is a good solution to begin with, because puppies subjected to solutions 1 or 2 can become extremely distressed. This can result in vomiting and diarrhea, and give you a lot of clearing up to do.
If they do become distressed at night, what can you do?
8 Week Old Puppy At Night – Sleeping And Crying
It’s important to remember that most 8 week old puppies have never slept alone. They are used to sleeping with their mom, brothers, and sisters around. So, when you ask them to sleep alone on the first night in their new home, they usually cry.
That’s something of an understatement! A small puppy can make a surprisingly loud noise for a surprisingly long time.
Unless you live in a mansion, you will be able to hear him. And, unfortunately, so will your neighbors.
The best way around this is to let the puppy sleep next to you for the first few nights, as with Option #3 above. This doesn’t have to be permanent. Once the puppy has settled in and isn’t so homesick, you’ll be able to move him to his own room if you want some peace.
If you decide to do it the hard way, check out this article for information on coping with crying.
You should be aware that new puppies learn very quickly. Whilst their initial crying may be because they are frightened and lonely, puppies soon discover that, when they cry, you give them lots of attention.
If you have already got into a vicious cycle of crying for attention with your new puppy, find out how to teach your puppy to be quiet here.
How Much Do Puppies Sleep At 8 Weeks?
How much do puppies sleep at 8 weeks? That’s a very good question!
An 8 week old puppy can be expected to spend around 18 to 20 hours asleep out of every 24.
Fortunately, this phase, where puppies fall asleep easily on your lap or in your arms, doesn’t last long. But, dogs continue to sleep for long periods throughout their lives.
Your 8 week old puppy will sleep often and sleep deeply. This is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about if he is energetic and playful when awake, eating and growing well, and seems healthy in every other respect.
Potty Training Your 8 Week Old Puppy
Over the next few weeks, you’ll want your puppy to be clean and dry in the house. To help things along, you can start potty training your 8 week old Labrador puppy from the very first day. However, it’s important to be aware of her limitations.
A few new puppies can last six or seven hours at night without needing a pee. Many can’t manage this until they are around ten weeks old.
If you crate your puppy at night, expect to get up in the middle of the night and take your puppy outside for a wee for up to two weeks.
If you opt to leave your puppy at night, with puppy pads or newspaper, expect it to take a little longer before you come down to a nice clean floor each morning. A bit of patience and she will get there.
Getting up earlier for a while is a given with an 8 week old puppy. In addition, it’s best to expect no more lazy mornings in bed for at least the next four months.
During the day, you’ll need to take your puppy outside very frequently, or provide him with access to a toileting area with puppy pads. Often, puppies pee much more frequently during the day. Some new puppies can last an hour or so between pees but, again, many cannot.
You will find the answers you need in there!
Crate Training Your 8 Week Old Puppy
If you are intending to crate train your new puppy, you’ll find comprehensive instructions, including crate training schedules and maximum recommended crate times, in our crate training guide.
If you are going back to work, or you want to leave your puppy alone for three to four hours before he is five or six months old, you may need to crate train him. Accordingly, you will need to arrange for someone else to take care of him during the day. Even though it is such a short period of time, they should not be alone for that long because they only have small bladders!
Quite simply, an 8 week old puppy should not be left in a crate for hours at a time during the day.
The secret to success in crate training a new puppy lies in establishing good habits from the start. You need to take your puppy to his toilet area whenever his little bladder is getting full.
You could leave him in a large pen with newspaper down, and give him the opportunity to relieve himself. However, you need to consider that 8 week old puppies left alone for long periods of time may become distressed and/or destructive.
Leaving Your Puppy Home Alone
Although you should avoid leaving your puppy alone for long periods of time, puppies do need to learn to cope with being alone for short periods right from the very start.
Your puppy will quickly become comfortable when you disappear for a few minutes if you return and don’t forget about her.
But, too much isolation is a common cause of noisy or destructive puppy behavior. Puppies need company or they will find some other way to occupy themselves or take out their frustration.
Older puppies may cope happily with isolation for up to four hours. However, even an adult Labrador can become distressed or destructive if regularly left alone all day.
Labradors are very sociable dogs and they need people around them. That’s definitely something to consider when you decide which breed of dog you want to bring to your home!
Essentially, you should avoid leaving a Labrador home alone throughout the entire working week. Even if you take her for long walks at the weekend, that doesn’t make up for the loneliness she feels.
If you intend to return to work full-time, that doesn’t mean you can’t own a dog. However, you’ll need to arrange a dog walker or crèche for your friend.
You’ll find lots of help and advice for puppy parents who work in: Raising a Puppy When You Work Full Time
8 Week Old Puppy Schedules
One of the keys to success for setting your puppy happily in her new home is developing a puppy schedule. Puppies are creatures of routine and prefer to do certain things at a certain time.
For example, feeding puppies at 8 weeks is much easier if they have a set feeding schedule, which also makes it easier for you to make sure they get used to the bedtime routine. It makes sure they go to the toilet before sleeping, and they are more likely to sleep through the night.
8 Week Puppies Biting
Most people know that puppies nip when teething. What many people don’t know is just how hard they bite and how much it hurts.
Most new puppy owners are shocked by biting and also by the loud growling noises that often accompany it. Although it can be frightening, especially for kids, fierce growling during play biting is completely normal for small puppies!
Being aware of this doesn’t make it any less painful, but it does help you cope. A few simple tips and a bit of training can prevent family members resenting the puppy or worrying that he is abnormal in some way.
While we are on the subject of aggressive puppy behavior, what about destructive puppies? Most of us have seen the damage that even a small puppy can cause!
Destructive Puppy Behavior
Most people know that small puppies chew things. Toys, shoes, newspapers, furniture, and many other objects that they shouldn’t!
However, it can be quite a shock to discover just how destructive a Labrador can be. If left unattended indoors or outside, they can leave a trail of chaos in their wake!
Expect your puppy to destroy anything he can get in his mouth.
This is likely to continue well past her first birthday. In fact, many young Labradors become super-destructive towards the end of the first year. Some even chew the skirting boards, rip plaster from the walls, and tear up carpets in their homes.
There is no need to get into this kind of conflict with any dog and there are a few ways to cope with it. Because Labrador puppies can be very destructive, it’s a good idea to leave them crated for short periods when left alone. Or, you can confine them in a puppy proof room until they are well past their first birthday.
As your puppy grows, there will be some new behavioral challenges ahead. Don’t worry, it’s all part of growing up, so let’s take a brief look.
Boisterous Puppy Behavior
Between 8 weeks and 18 months of age, many young Labradors are extremely boisterous. Because, even at this age, they can be large, strong dogs, we’ll show you how to discourage this behavior.
Of course, this applies to many other dogs that have the size and strength to cause damage!
Your young Labrador is going knock people over if you don’t teach him some manners.
You sure can expect him to jump up and scratch the paintwork on your car if you don’t teach him to sit next to it.
He will definitely drag you around on the end of his lead if you don’t train him to walk to heel.
More seriously, a boisterous dog could pull you off your feet and into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
The best solution is to teach your new friend to walk alongside you, on and off the lead. Preferably, you should do this from a very early age to make the process much easier. It’s really good practice to start training an 8 week old lab puppy straightaway.
As always, we have some information that should help! Walking your Labrador on a loose lead
Another common problem with puppies is running away. They want to explore the world around them, but this sometimes means they can escape when you least expect.
Puppies Running Off
Tiny puppies have an automatic response, which means they follow people around. This response disappears by the time the puppy is around four or five months old. Don’t wait until then to let your puppy off the lead.
Labradors are gun dogs. They love to hunt and follow scent trails. An older puppy will want to explore away from you, so you need to teach them the off lead recall well before she is six months old. A 8 week old lab puppy can be very receptive to training and ready to adopt good habits.
A curious older puppy, wanting to explore her surroundings, will stray further and further away on walks if you are too predictable and just traipse along behind her. Quite simply, she wants to see all of these fantastic and interesting things!
Now, we all love puppies that have unique personalities and a lovable rogue can make a great companion. However, some puppies are far too naughty and create havoc. What is going on in their muddled minds?
“He doesn’t listen!” you often hear people say. Or, you might talk to a fellow dog lover only for them to say “my puppy was sitting, coming, giving paw, and everything a few weeks ago, but now he just ignores us. Why is he so naughty?”
He also does all kinds of ‘naughty’ things such as taking any food within reach, begging at the table, and tripping people up! What can you do to stop this behavior? How can a lovely, gentle dog turn into a furry monster?
The answer is, an 8 week old puppy is not naughty when he does these things. It’s normal at this age and he is completely untrained. Puppies bite, steal, jump, lick, whine, dig, and much more in the wild, so he is just doing what comes naturally to him. A wild dog’s mother would chastise it and show him what he needs to do, so you just need to take her place.
Parents understand this better than anyone! Human toddlers go through a similar stage when they are two years old, but they do grow out of it with good parenting. It’s just the same with puppies when you teach him boundaries and what he can and can’t do.
Luckily, we have plenty of information about that to help you on your way.
Check out The Three Rs of Labrador Puppy Education to get yourself off to a good start and avoid a real naughtiness problem
The Importance Of Training – An Investment Of Time
There are no shortcuts and training is a long process. Getting your dog to respond to a cue such as ‘sit,’ or ‘shake hands,’ is the easy part. A dog that does this in your kitchen isn’t trained. He has just learned to respond to a particular cue in your kitchen. Nothing more.
Training is a matter of proofing that cue against all the distractions in our daily lives. This is the key to dog training, but you might need some extra information to help you on your way and make sure your training program is effective.
You can find this information in our training section
When training your puppy, it’s useful to understand what we can expect from them. They are still babies who can only do so much.
What We Expect From An 8 Week Old Puppy
Sometimes, we expect an awful lot from our tiny puppies.
When they are still very small, and also as they grow bigger.
We expect puppies to enjoy cuddles. Face it, they are warm, furry, and soft, almost as if they were designed to be cuddle machines.
Sometimes puppies do love cuddles but, most of the time, they are just being polite and trying to please you.
Many puppies don’t like being hugged at all and wriggle wildly to escape. They have things to do, people to see, and places to explore!
As one useful tip for you, wait for your puppy to stop wriggling before you put him down or he will wriggle harder next time!
A Fun Friend For Children
We have all seen adverts on TV where puppies are part of the family and a great companion for the kids. Naturally, when bringing a puppy home at 8 weeks, we expect our puppy to be a playmate for the children.
But, small puppies often bite and wriggle too much for your little ones to enjoy them. They also tire out quickly and just want to sleep in a quiet place.
Older puppies love to play, but make sure you don’t force your 8 week old to play when she is not ready.
Those pleasures tend to come a wee bit later in life.
One useful tip if you have small children is fitting baby gates to give toddlers and puppies space apart from one another
Success And Quick Results
“I’ve shown him so many times! Why won’t he learn?”
You often hear that from frustrated owners trying to train their puppy.
We expect an instant reward for the effort we put in to house-training. We want the puppy to listen to what we say quickly and without question.
But, you need to remember that potty training and obedience training take time. Your 8 week old puppy will have accidents in the house to begin with, and he needs help understanding what you want him to do next.
As he grows, we expect our puppy to return our love and affection, and to respect us. We also want him to be loyal and obedient. He will be, in time, but you have to be patient and understand that he is still a baby who is unsure of his place.
Now, let’s look at some of the other care you need to give your puppy. Firstly, can you bathe a puppy at 8 weeks old?
Well, Can You Bathe A Puppy At 8 Weeks Old?
Puppies attract dirt when they play. You can guarantee that, if they find a patch of dirt, they will roll in it. For light dirt, you can always give them a quick wipe down to keep them clean. Just put a bit of gentle puppy shampoo on a washcloth and remove the dirt and any nasty odors.
The Joy Of Bathing
Sometimes, the dirt is a bit too much for a mere wash, and you need to give the puppy a bath. What you have to remember is that young puppies can get cold very easily. If you give your puppy a bath, you have to make sure that he is completely dry before he goes out to play.
As you can imagine, bath time can be a frightening experience for a small puppy. It’s new to them and very scary. Try to stay calm, but firm, and make sure you reward him afterwards with a nice treat. That’s why it’s a good idea to start training them now, because trying to bath a large, frightened dog can result in water absolutely everywhere.
One good idea is to take her for a walk and some exercise first, to make sure that she is tired out. Make sure he goes to the toilet, too. Ideally, bath her in a warm room and fill the bath with warm water.
If you have a non-slip mat to put in the tub, that’s great because it stops her slipping and hurting herself. If you don’t have a mat, an old towel will do the job just fine.
Don’t forget to talk in a soothing voice and help her feel safe and loved. Otherwise, bathing is the same as for any other dog, where you simply wet the fur, rub in some gentle puppy shampoo while avoiding the eyes. Rinse well before drying with a lovely, soft warm towel.
After this, wrap in another warm towel and give her some praise and a treat.
Now that your dog is clean, how can we stop fleas and other parasites setting up home in her coat?
Flea Treatment For Puppies 8 Weeks Old
We all hate fleas, but they are a problem even for small puppies. So, how can we get rid of 8 week old puppy fleas? What is the best flea treatment for puppies 8 weeks old?
First of all, make sure you check with the previous owner of the puppy if they gave any flea treatments. Secondly, it’s always a good idea to check with your vet before giving your puppy any sort of medicine, including flea treatments.
Many flea preparations are suitable for young puppies, so ask your vet and apply as instructed. You should also worm your dog every couple of weeks to get rid of those nasty internal parasites.
That takes care of the parasites, but what about the other diseases?
Vaccinating puppies is important to make sure that they don’t pick up some of the more common diseases. Vaccines can protect against a number of diseases, including:
• Canine hepatitis
• Canine distemper
• Kennel cough
• Canine parainfluenza
Before giving any vaccinations, check with the previous owner and ask for the relevant paperwork. Immunization starts at six weeks of age, with the intention of making sure that they are able to socialize with other dogs once they reach 12 weeks of age. As always, check things over with your vet if you are not sure.
8 Week Old Puppy – The Reality
The reality of life with an 8 week old lab puppy can be a bit of a shock, to say the least. Before adopting a puppy, many of us do not expect weeks of broken sleep, or tearful children who can’t play with the puppy or even stroke her because she bites so hard.
Maybe we didn’t anticipate how depressing clearing up puppy pee and poop can be. Not just once, but every time we get up in the morning or return home from a quick shopping trip!
We hadn’t planned on complaints from angry neighbors about barking and whining whenever we leave the house.
Of course, this doesn’t happen all the time for every 8 week puppy, but they are common reasons why people become disenchanted with their furry companion. As always, the key is preparation and knowing exactly what to expect. Owning puppies is one of the greatest joys in life, but you do have to be ready for the challenges that lie ahead.
In others words, you’ll cope better if you are prepared.
One of our aims here on The Labrador Site is to help close this gap between expectations and reality. We want to make sure that puppies go into their new homes and stay there for the rest of their lives.
Bringing a puppy home at 8 weeks can be a challenge, but it can also be very, very rewarding!
8 Week Old Puppy – Summary
Raising a puppy can be a challenge, but if you are ready for the challenge, it is also tremendously enjoyable and satisfying. And, most of the problems can be avoided or passed through without too much pain, if you have the right information!
Just make sure that you know what to expect and do a little preparation.
Think about restricting your puppy’s access to certain parts of your home for a few weeks.
Much puppy naughtiness is linked to over-excitement. Focus on being calm around your puppy and spend a bit of time researching how to train your puppy effectively.
Crates and baby gates can be great ways to prevent conflict between puppies and their families.
Confinement is not a substitute for companionship and training though, and it’s very important to have enough time in your life for a Labrador before going ahead and getting that lovely puppy.
We’re Here To Help!
If you find life with your new puppy more difficult than you expected, and you are feeling out of your depth or struggling to cope, don’t suffer in silence.
Check out our guide to the New Puppy Blues. You can always join our wonderful forum for help and support. One thing’s for sure – whatever problem you have, someone will already have been through it and will be delighted to share advice and help you out.
Bringing a puppy home at 8 weeks can be daunting, but you are not alone. You can even find a cute puppy name here!
More Information On Puppies
The Happy Puppy Handbook covers every aspect of life with a small puppy.
The book will help you prepare your home for the new arrival, and get your puppy off to a great start with potty training, socialisation and early obedience.
The Happy Puppy Handbook is available worldwide.
Frank, D., Minero, M., Cannas, S. and Palestrini, C., 2007. Puppy behaviours when left home alone: A pilot study. Applied animal behaviour science, 104(1-2), pp.61-70.
Bartlett, M., 1979. A novice looks at puppy aptitude testing. Am Kennel Gaz, pp.31-42.
Kutsumi, A., Nagasawa, M., Ohta, M. and Ohtani, N., 2013. Importance of puppy training for future behavior of the dog. Journal of veterinary medical science, 75(2), pp.141-149.
Horwitz, D., 1999. Counseling pet owners on puppy socialization and establishing leadership. Veterinary Medicine-Bonner Springs Then Edwardsville, 94, pp.149-156.
Larsen, J., 2010. Feeding large-breed puppies. Compend Cont Educ Vet, 32, pp.E1-E4.
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website