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NEW PUPPY | Setting Up For Success

A New Puppy – Congratulations!

It’s so exciting to welcome a new family member. We know it can also feel a little overwhelming to make sure you have all the information you need to support your new companion. That’s where we come in – you’re in exactly the right place to get started.

Setting Up for Success – One Step at a Time

Consider this your home base for information as you and your puppy navigate your first few months together. We have created a series of resources designed to provide you with relevant information for the different growth stages your puppy will go through. There are resources on everything from maintaining good health to training tips and tricks to behaviour support – we’ve got you covered. Plan to return to this reference guide over the coming weeks, as we want to help you make your new family member’s arrival as safe, smooth, and joyful as possible.

Stage One | 7 - 9 Weeks

Puppy Socialization Checklist

The most important time to expose your puppy to as many different social situations as possible is during their first 16 weeks. This is when they are most impressionable, and diverse positive exposures during this time to a range of people, objects, surfaces, and environments can shape your dog’s future temperament, character, and behaviour. This socialization checklist will help set you and your puppy up for success!

Puppy Vaccination Schedule

Vaccines offer protection against specific diseases by stimulating the body’s immune system. This means that after vaccination the body is armed and ready to fight off, rather than to succumb to, an infection. This vaccination schedule gives you an idea of what to expect for this initial series of vaccinations, as well as a typical vaccination schedule as your puppy becomes an adult. Your veterinarian will work with you to determine the most appropriate vaccine protocol for your dog’s lifestyle and risk level.

Pet Insurance

Did you know that you can start your pet insurance (often with a free trial) right from your first veterinary appointment? There are two great reasons to consider obtaining coverage while your dog is young and healthy. First, your coverage is based on a baseline health assessment – with a minimum of preexisting conditions, your pup is much more likely to be covered for any concerns that arise in the future. Second, puppies are unpredictable! All it takes is one ill-timed furniture leap or ingested toy to make that pet insurance invaluable.

Important Phone Numbers

Emergencies happen, often when we least expect them. Keep this important local contact list handy, in case you need emergency veterinary care, poison control advice, or help with a lost or found animal.

Stage Two | 10 - 12 Weeks

Walking on a Leash

Learning to walk politely on a leash can be a challenge for any exuberant young puppy, but these tips can help ease the process. Investing the time and patience to teach this important skill will be well worth the effort, however. Not only will it save both you and your dog from potential injuries from pulling, lunging, or jumping, it will also set the stage for a lifetime of safe and enjoyable excursions.

Canine Emotions

We all want our companions to be happy as well as healthy, and considering a dog’s emotional landscape is so important. Here’s a great tool to think about the elements of your dog’s life experience that might be either emptying or filling their “emotional cup”.

Crate Training Games

When introduced and used well, a crate can provide a haven for your dog to rest, relax, and feel safe. It is important to ensure that your dog’s crate is never associated with isolation, time outs, or negative experiences  – these crate training games provide some great suggestions for keeping the crate a fun and positive space.

Dangerous Foods for Dogs

It can be challenging to remember which human foods are no-go for our canine friends. This handy chart highlights some of the food items that are particularly harmful for canines, and what the effects of consumption can be.

Toxic Plants for Dogs

Along the same lines as dangerous foods, there are some plants that it’s much safer to keep your puppy away from. The link above has a handy infographic with a few top contenders, as well as signs of toxicity to watch for. Looking for a comprehensive list of toxic and non-toxic plants? The ASPCA has you covered!

Stage Three | 13 - 15 Weeks

Barking at Other Dogs

Interactions with other dogs while out for a walk can be complicated, and are often heavily influenced by our own behaviour and reactions in the moment. This handy guide offers some insight into your dog’s perspective, and provides tools and techniques to teach them learn to respond well when they encounter other dogs.

Preventing Jumping

One of the more difficult things to teach an exuberant pup is not to jump up on their human friends. It’s also behaviour coaching that can be tricky for us humans to implement, because it requires calm and consistency – and often we’re as excited to greet our dogs as they are to greet us! These simple training steps will help both you and your puppy learn some jumping management tools, without any negative reprimands or punitive measures.

Addressing Growling

As your relationship with your puppy grows stronger, you will learn to read their signals and respond accordingly. As you guide your puppy toward positive behaviours, offering them opportunities to learn while respecting their perspective is key. Often growling is a first sign that your dog is uncomfortable with a situation – rather than ignoring or punishing the behaviour, here is how to use positive reinforcement training instead.

Stage Four | 16 - 18 Weeks


Collars and identification tags are important protective elements, but microchips provide an extra layer of identification if those tags are lost or removed. Microchips can also help prove identity and ownership in unfortunate cases of theft or abduction. Learn more about how microchips work, and how to keep your contact information current.

Parasites and Your Dog

It is fairly common for a dog to become infected with an internal or external parasite at some point in its life. Parasites can affect your dog in a variety of ways, ranging from simple irritation to causing life-threatening conditions if left untreated. We will work with you to establish a preventative product and dose schedule tailored to your puppy – this is definitely a case where prevention is much better than treatment post-infection!

Benefits of Spaying or Neutering

Spaying or neutering your dog not only prevents unplanned litters. There are significant health and behavioural benefits, including lowering the risk of reproductive health issues and prolonging the life of your companion.

What to Expect on Surgery Day

Anesthetized procedures like spays or neuters can feel like a big undertaking for you and your dog. The good news is, there are plenty of ways to help your puppy have a smooth and successful experience. This information walks you through what to expect, and explains how we make your dog’s procedure as safe as possible. We also provide plenty of details about how to help them have a smooth recovery.


Local Dog-Friendly Businesses

Looking for places to take your puppy for some extra training and socialization? Victoria dog trainer Darcie Jennings of CommuniCanine put together this comprehensive list of local businesses that welcome dogs. Of course always check with the business before bringing your pup inside, but this is a great resource for planning some training excursions.

Enrichment Feeders

Mealtimes can be so much more than a quick series of delicious gulps! Enrichment feeders like puzzle toys or snuffle mats can help to keep your puppy entertained, boost their problem-solving skills, and even make them feel more full and satisfied after their meal. Check out this overview of the kinds of enrichment feeders available, and you’ll be sure to find an option that appeals to you and your dog.

Modifications for Safe Fetch and Frisbee

Playing fetch or frisbee can be a wonderful activity for you and your puppy – but these high-impact games with plenty of running, jumping, and quick direction changes can also pose some risks for your pup. To avoid potential injury (these games are one of the most common causes of cruciate ligament tears!) try these simple modifications to minimize risk while still maximizing fun.