About

Ultimate Puppy was developed by dog advocate Peggy van Dam and seasoned trainer Sydney Bleicher and was published as a printed kit (under the name the Ultimate Puppy Toolkit) between 2002 and 2008. Originally the kit retailed for $19.99. You can still find copies through resellers on Amazon and eBay for approximately $50.00.

This web site delivers a free electronic version of the kit, now referred to as Ultimate Puppy. We hope you enjoy it.

Who we are

Since 1998 Peggy and Sydney have combined their extensive knowledge, shared values and concern for dogs and their people to address the glaring need for practical early educational resources.

In addition to creating the Ultimate Puppy resource, van Dam and Bleicher have worked to foster cooperative links between accredited breeders, professional trainers and the veterinary community. Their goal is to see that anyone getting a puppy has access to a more integrated network of services and information.

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Peggy van Dam

Peggy van Dam and her husband lived 11 stressful and confined years with their adopted Labrador Retriever, Yukon. Despite being a wonderful and well-loved companion, Yukon developed aggression towards small children and other dogs.

Seeking a solution, van Dam conducted exhaustive research that repeatedly pointed to Yukon’s poor socialization when he was a puppy. The research provided valuable insights into the importance of early prevention, but it also revealed a disturbing lack of useful hands-on guidance for anyone getting a puppy. She has been featured on Animal Talk Radio, Citytv’s Animal House Calls and has written for Bark Magazine and Riverside Quarterly.

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Sydney Bleicher KPA CTP, APDT

Sydney Bleicher, director of training, is a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner. Sydney owns and operates Freshpuppy in Toronto. Inspired by Dr. Ian Dunbar, the noted animal behaviorist and best selling author, Bleicher’s practice focusing on early socialization and prevention.

Sydney is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. She has been coaching all sorts of folks and their dogs since 1992. She has been featured on Breakfast Television, Animal House Calls and has written for Bark Magazine and Riverside Quarterly.

A Couple more Questions and Answers…
What is Ultimate Puppy?

We help get people and their puppies off to the right start. Think of Ultimate Puppy as pre-school for puppies 16 weeks and under, founded on socialization- and preventative-styled exercises that stop the development of problem behaviors. There’s no better companion than a calm, well-socialized dog that can be taken anywhere. Our program helps people socialize their puppies to interact appropriately, comfortably and safely with new people, other dogs and the hectic urban environment. We all know that preventing undesirable behaviors early is much easier than curing them later. Think prevent over cure!

Why is Ultimate Puppy so unique?

Science shows that training a puppy early has the most impact on the future life of that dog. We focus on preventative, early training. We have also made sure that Ultimate Puppy is FUN, easy-to-use and has lots of step-by-step photos. We’ve included a helpful development chart, a step-by-step program and social schedule. In addition you can sign up for our Puppy Bytes: time-sensitive email reminders designed to cover the period of 8 to 16 weeks. In short, we help make training easier.

If I use Ultimate Puppy do I still need to go to puppy classes?

Yes. Our training is not meant to take the place of a well-run puppy socialization class. NOTHING beats a good puppy coach! Using our site in conjunction with a puppy class provides you with formidable support while you raise your puppy. We help bridge the gap that exists from the time you bring the pup home until you get into a good puppy class. We also help keep you on track in-between your weekly classes.

I am getting a puppy soon. When should I start using Ultimate Puppy?

Start now. The more prepared you are for your new puppy’s arrival the more relaxed you will be once you start dealing with the day-to-day issues of having a new pup join your family.

I have an 8-month-old dog. Can I still use the information on this site?

Yes you can, just understand that the information provided here is intended for puppies under the age of 16 weeks. However, there is still plenty of valuable information for anyone who wants to learn more about how to raise a happy, healthy dog.

Please note that some of the exercises may require a different approach if you are dealing with an (adult) dog that has developed behavioral problems. Some of our exercises may not be safe or appropriate for a dog with these types of problems. We encourage you to seek professional help for your dog if you are experiencing any behavioral issues. Please refer to our Resources section for further information.

I have had dogs all my life. Why would I need Ultimate Puppy?

Information that was not readily available to the general public in the past now is. This knowledge coupled with your own dog rearing experiences will help provide a thorough and progressive upbringing for your new puppy. It’s a very exciting time to raise a dog!

What training methods and philosophies does Ultimate Puppy employ?

We provide Positive, Progressive, and Proactive information.