Author Archives: Peg and Sydney

Announcing Live Webinar with Q&A

Gigantic sized puppy sitting on a flatbed vintage truck in a parade. With a banner that says Welcome Home Puppy.

You’re Lucky You’re Cute

Join us on March 20th, 2019 at 2 PM EST for You’re Lucky You’re Cute.

This webinar is for you if:

• You are thinking of getting a puppy
• You are waiting for the arrival of your puppy
• You have just brought a puppy home

Register Now button linking to You’re Lucky You’re Cute Webinar

We’re going beyond supply lists and basics. We provide an action plan that sets you up right. Our tools take you step-by-step through all the preparation for your new arrival.

The addition of a puppy to your family is exciting and fun, but it can also be an emotional time. We have coached, counseled and consoled thousands of students through this transition. People who take the time to do pre-puppy consultations are without a doubt more mentally prepared for what is to come.

What You Get:
• Comprehensive Support Material*
• Videos
• Ample Q&A
• A Bonus Surprise

Join us and learn essential skills to help you through the homecoming transition.

Register Now button linking to You’re Lucky You’re Cute Webinar

Presenter: Sydney Bleicher KPA CTP, APDT, Certified Fear Free Professional
When: Wednesday, March 20th, 2019 2 PM EST (11 AM PST)
Where: Live Webinar hosted at Crowdcast**
Hashtag: #YLYC

*The material includes videos, bathroom training plans, supply lists, our top picks for toys, and fun training tips for the first few days.

**Space is limited so be sure to save your spot soon. All registered participants will have access to a recording of the webinar whether or not you can attend live.

Count Down to Puppy – Part 3 of 3

A young boy and his jack russell puppy stand side by side looking stage right. They are both wearing red caps that are flying behind them. The boy is also wearing a red mask. All to help promote the series

A New Life Together

This final instalment of our series we’ll get you ready for the car ride home and walk you through what to expect in the early days. We will provide links that show fun things to do. It is important to do these exercises with your puppy, as they learn best before 16 weeks of age. Take advantage of this time to get them used to their environment (“socialization”). This is top priority.

Car Ride Home

Pull quote: Creating a positive first encounter with all the new experiences your puppy has is important. ultimatepuppy.comCreating a positive first encounter with all the new experiences your puppy has is important. Be prepared and think about all new encounters. Make sure you have treats and a couple of toys with you when you go pick up your puppy.

Your pup may stressed.

This may be the very first time pup is separated from littermates and mom. Your puppy may never have worn a harness or collar or experienced a leash. There will now be lots of firsts.

If possible hold the pup during the car ride home. Take a partner so someone can hold the pup during the drive. A crate can be used too if that is your preference. Depending on the length of the trip you may need to alternate between crate and holding the pup.

Supplies to bring

•  A blanket or towel for the seat or your lap

•  Paper towel – poo bags

•  Water and a water bowl

•  Harness, collar, leash

•  A variety of food treats

•  Bring a few options for the pup to chew on too – bullies are a good bet

You will need to stop along the way for a bathroom break. Use a word or phrase that will become the pup’s elimination cue, like “show me”, “do the business”… you get the idea. Be sure and treat the puppy for going.

Arrival Home

Take pup directly to the chosen bathroom spot immediately upon arriving home, even before the pup goes into the house for the first time. Keep pup on leash. Be prepared with a treat if the pup goes.

Honeymoon Period

There is a honeymoon period for the first week or so when you bring a new pup home. Your puppy may be quiet, more placid, and not very nippy. He is dealing with a lot of newness. As he acclimates to his new home he will start to change. You will know when the honeymoon is over.

Dealing with Barking or Whining in the Crate

Ignore it. As hard as it can be ignoring the barking is the best approach. Any talking to the pup, cooing or letting the pup out will just make the process longer. Expect a day or two of barking and or whining and expect it to get loud. It’s a bonus and a small miracle if it doesn’t get loud. Be prepared with lots of good things for the pup to chew on in the crate – always toss a few treats in the crate every time your pup goes in. Keep a jar of treats on top of the crate, this way you are always prepared.

Get A Rhythm Going

It is nice to do the introduction to your home on leash. Take the pup around so he knows about his new environment.

Provide lots of bathroom breaks to the chosen spot. Every 15 – 20 minutes if the pup is out of the crate.

Remember 100% supervision. No free time unless you are there and paying attention.

Tips for the First Night

Expect some sleep deprivation.

Set an alarm to get up for bathroom breaks. Take the pup on leash, use your verbal cue, reward.
You may want to keep the crate in the bedroom so pup feels safe and knows you’re near by.

Tips for the First WeekPull quote. Go beyond the home, get out of the house.

If you work at home or have taken some time off from work, make sure the pup gets some time alone in the home. You want him prepared for spending some time alone when you need a break and for your eventual return to work. There should be no big hellos and good byes. Just get out of the house and leave pup alone for an hour or two in the crate. He needs to learn that your coming and going is normal.

100% Supervision

There should be zero unattended time outside the crate. This is lethal for a new puppy. It is much easier to prevent annoying behavior than it is to change it. Think prevention versus cure.

Pups need lots of sleep, lots of quiet time. Lots of crate time.

Keep the leash on in the house to help with management of your pup. Have lots of chews available for your pup to chew on.

Be proactive and set your pup up to succeed. Build good habits from day one with structure, training, playing, exploring, the crate, etc.

Socialization Checklist and Field Trip Worksheets

Here are two handy sheets for you to use for early introductions, aka socialization.

Socialization Field Trip Worksheet

A Social Schedule

Your puppy should be meeting lots of new people and getting treats from everyone.

Take walks through the neighborhood, don’t worry if you carry the puppy a lot in the beginning this is fine, fun and normal.

Make sure you have your treat pouch full of a variety of tasty, soft treats that your pup loves.

Plan a couple of socialization field trips in advance that you will do during the first week. Book a fun vet visit. Ensuring a variety of new experiences is essential. Go beyond the home, get out of the house.

Games and Training

There are lots of fun games and new behaviors to teach your puppy. Keep sessions short, reward all the behaviors you want to see more of.

Patience & A Sense of Humor

Note for fridge. There are two things we want you to always keep in mind as you raise this puppy. Patience and a sense of humor; write this on a piece of paper and put it on the refrigerator.

There are two things we want you to always keep in mind as you raise this puppy. Patience and a sense of humor; write this on a piece of paper and stick it on the refrigerator.


Here’s to all the adventures that await you and your dog.

Count Down to Puppy – Part 2 of 3

In this image a very young girl is being coached by her vet to listen to the heartbeat of her labradoodle puppy while her brother watches while standing beside her.

It Takes a Village

Part two of our series is designed to help you build the support group that you will need when you bring your pup home.

Find a Low Stress, Fear Free Vet

Why is this important? Imagine a scenario where you are working diligently to raise a relaxed, confident dog. Then you take him to a vet clinic that creates a situation, where all the new experiences cause him high levels of stress, anxiety and fear. It’s not uncommon for pets to become wary of being poked and prodded. Finding an animal clinic that uses a low stress, fear free approach will help ensure this doesn’t happen.


This is an image of an 8-week-old puppy laying upside-down on a weight scale. The picture is taken from above and the puppy is looking up at the viewer.


Reserve a Spot in Class

Spring usually is the optimal time to get a puppy. It allows you lots of outdoor time instead of being cooped up in the house over winter. Puppy classes fill up quickly so it’s prudent to reserve a spot early. A well-run class is the best possible place to socialize your puppy to other puppies. Do your homework and choose a professional dog trainer. We offer training tips to help keep you on track in-between puppy classes. Be sure to sign up. If the school offers pre puppy consultations take advantage of them.

Prime Yourself

pull quote reads: When issues arise, it’s “oh, right I remember reading about this… and I know what to do.”It’s been proven time and again. People who read up on early training are far less panicked once they get their puppy and more likely to be successful. When issues arise, it’s “oh, right I remember reading about this… and I know what to do.” This is what our site is for. We usually tell people to start with the Development Chart. It’s fun to look up what stage your pup is at. You can do that or go straight to Getting Started or How Dogs Learn and take it from there. Read a little bit everyday. It helps pass the time until your puppy is ready to come home.

A Support System

An eight-week-old puppy needs to go outside to the bathroom approximately every two hours. As the puppy grows, this time period will lengthen. This chart will help you gauge how long your pup can hold it.

If you have to be out of the house for extended periods, you can’t leave a young puppy alone for long stretches. You may consider enlisting a service that can help with this while you are at work. Do your due diligence when selecting such a service, or ask a trusted friend.

What is Available? What is Appropriate?

Pull quote reads: Be clear on the organization’s qualifications including certification, first aid training, and their training philosophies.Ensure that the services you select for your dog match your own values.

Doggie day care, dog walkers, and dog sitters are some of the services that you can enlist. If you consider one of these services make sure that all your hard work is not undermined by an outfit that is not “socialization” or “early puppy training” savvy. Be clear on the organization’s qualifications including certification, first aid training, and their training philosophies. Force-free methods and positive reinforcement are key.

Stay Tuned

In Part 3 it’s time to go pick up your puppy. We’ll get you ready for the drive home and what to prepare for in the days ahead.

Count Down to Puppy – Part 1 of 3

An 8 week old Huskie puppy lies to the right of an alarm clock. His nose resting up against the clock.

Pre Puppy Preparation

New puppy on the way! Yahoo! You are probably feeling excitement mixed with some nervousness. This is completely natural. This three part series will help you organize your pre-puppy preparation, resources and support system. It will also help you navigate your pup’s homecoming and your first week together.

Toys, Treats and Supplies

this is a pull quote which reads: Focus on toys to stuff and appropriate things to chewOver time and with test runs you will learn your pup’s preferences for toys and treats. Use your imagination as you build your toy and treat arsenal. Remember that pups love variety. In the meantime there are a few essentials that you will need pre-puppy. Focus on toys to stuff and appropriate things to chew in the crate. You will also need a couple of toys to play tug and retrieve with. Food stuffed toys should be easy for a puppy to use. Too difficult and the pup will give up. Check out West Paw Toppl Toy for an easy beginner toy.

Crate Location

Kitchens or family rooms are usually good bets for crate locations. Avoid high traffic locations such as next to the front door. Pup should not be able to see outside the house when in the crate, as the view will stimulate him and he is supposed to be “at rest”. The crate should not be placed in an unlived area of the house such as a guest room or basement; your puppy should not feel banished and should be comfortable with normal household activity.

Having a couple of crates is a good option. A crate in the bedroom, living room and kitchen if you have the space ensures that there is always a prepared place to keep pup safe and provide the all-important structure that a new puppy needs.

Wire crates can be draped with a towel or blanket to increase the cozy factor and help reduce visibility when needed.

Use non-plush bedding in the pup’s crate to start. Your puppy may be enticed to chew it or use it as an absorbent spot to pee. Monitor any bedding for pee accidents and remove immediately as you are teaching the puppy to go outdoors.

Puppy Elimination Zone

Decide on a spot before the pup comes home. You want to take the pup to this spot immediately upon arriving home for the first time. This is the spot that you will take pup out (on leash) to pee and poo–sod can be used if there is no lawn. Pee pads or other pre-fab elimination areas sold at pet supply stores are an option for condo dwellers far from an outside spot. Read up on house training.

Accidents Will Happen

Be prepared with a good enzymatic cleaner. Orange Apeel, Skout’s Honor and Nature’s Miracle being a few of the products available for the task. Skout’s Honor is a favourite.

Find A Trusted Neighbourhood Pet Supply Store

Think about what you will feed your new pup. There are lots of options beyond kibble. Prime yourself on nutrition by subscribing to the Whole Dog Journal. They are a great resource for this. Then go look for a pet supply store so you can discuss your options with them. A good shop will have keen knowledgeable staff eager to talk with you about your pup’s nutrition. Better choices in food will make all the difference in your pup’s health both short term and, most importantly, long term.

Stay Tuned for Part 2

In our next post we’ll discuss lining up a support system, finding a vet, reserving a spot in a class and priming you with the right training knowledge. All of this will make you comfortable with what to expect with your new puppy.


Finding Fido this Spring

A woman is looking through binoculars. She is looking towards us and has a smile on her face. Meanwhile a cute jack russell puppy is sitting next to her, leaning her way and looking in the same direction.


The Savvy Way to Search

You’ve finally taken the leap and decided to get a puppy. Knowing what kind of dog you want is the first step, but there are still many things to discover. All too often the important question of how to determine the best place to get your puppy is ignored.

Red flag: Anyone about to get a puppy is susceptible to a naturally occurring, common affliction. We call it “puppy-love-haze.” Symptoms include a heightened emotional state; a tendency towards small, furry cuteness; and impulse buying.

Puppy-love-haze skews our better judgment; leaves us wide open for making poor decisions and could have serious side effects. There will be plenty of time for the puppy love-fest, but when making your decision about where to get a pup, a dispassionate approach is critical to the future success of your relationship with your dog.

Why is this important?

Birth to 16 weeks is considered the “golden learning window” during which you have an opportunity to positively affect the future behavior of your dog. Certain things must take place during this critical period in order for your puppy to grow into a well-adjusted dog. Socialization, preventative exercises and house-training are all important.

Most puppies go to their new homes at about eight weeks of age. So half of this “golden learning window” is spent in the care of a breeder or animal shelter. How do you know that the person raising your puppy has been committed to the puppy’s healthy development from day one?

Asking some questions will help you determine the right source. By “right,” we mean the place where those responsible for your pup’s first couple of months are proactive and concerned about canine socialization and an enriched development program.

Interactive Interviewing

A reputable puppy seller or shelter is going to ask you questions. With approximately 40 percent of all dogs being surrendered during their first year in a new home, they want to be sure you are a suitable match. It is not uncommon to be asked about your lifestyle and about the time you are willing to devote to caring for the dog; you may even be asked to sign an agreement to enroll in classes…and show proof of completion! And the list goes on.

It is important that you have a list of your own questions. Regardless of where you get your pup, you are searching for the best-case scenario. Is the source making your job easier or more difficult? Taking the time to find out is well worth the effort.

The Savvy Search Checklist

  • Can you meet the parents and see the facilities where the pup is being raised? It is always nice to meet both parents of the pup if you can, though often, the mother is the only one available. It’s also a good idea to meet these dogs before the puppies are born, so that your observations are not swayed by the cuteness factor. Take the time to observe what their personalities are like. Specifically are they well socialized and friendly around you. If the mom shows signs of being unfriendly towards strangers, there is a chance that her pups will too.
  • In a situation where you have decided to rescue a puppy from a shelter you may not have the opportunity to do this background check. You should still gather as much information on the puppy as you can. Some shelters make use of “foster homes” so the puppies won’t have to be brought up in a shelter environment. Are you able to visit the foster home, see the facilities and meet the dogs?
  • Is the area where the pup stays clean? Can s/he leave the sleeping and play area to eliminate? Are the puppies being raised in an area where there is plenty of activity, as opposed to being shut away?
  • Has a range of stimuli been provided for the pups? How complex (while safe) has their environment been? Have they encountered a variety of surfaces and objects to explore and play with? Have they been exposed to sounds that are out of the ordinary for the area in which they live? Have the sounds been increased in volume to “proof” them against noise sensitivity?
  • What type of early socialization have the pups had? What numbers and variety of people have they met? Have they had early exposure to children (of all ages)? Have they been exposed to gentle handling and received treats from the different folks they encountered? Have they been for car rides? Have they visited a vet clinic? Was the car ride and visit pleasant?
  • What type of preventative exercises have been started? Have the puppies been fed individually to help avoid food guarding. Have “trade-you” games been played in order to reduce the likelihood of food and toy-guarding? Have they had a positive introduction to gentle handling exercises? Have they had a positive introduction to grooming tools? Does the puppy-raiser keep notes on the individual pup’s development? If so, may you read the notes?
  • Have the puppies had a positive introduction to a crate? Have they been separated from their litter-mates for short periods of time? Or is the day you bring your puppy home going to be the first day s/he is separated from the litter and introduced to the crate?

The Happy Beginning

Once you’re armed with answers and know-how, life with your dog-to-be should exceed your puppy-love-haze expectations. What a great way to start your time together.

To discover more about the importance of early education, socialization and preventative exercises please visit