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  • Writer's pictureNicola Smith

Puppy Blog - Tips for raising your Toronto dog

In my mind, there is nothing more exciting, or precious for that matter, than when you first pick your perfect puppy up and bring them home. Yes, puppies are a lot of fun, but let's not forget that they are a lot of work and a big commitment. During this COVID-19 lockdown, I have received many calls from first-time dog owners asking general questions, such as, “how long can I leave my puppy alone?”; or, “how long does it take to housebreak a dog?” I decided to write this blog to provide owners with useful everyday tips that will help them when bringing an 8-week old puppy or adopting a rescue a little bit older into their home.


Training basics

  1. Find a reputable trainer to learn how to teach basic commands and more. While group classes may not be an option, you can still take outdoor solo lessons or even take these lessons online.  

  2. Always be consistent with your training.  

  3. Basic commands you can and should start on your own at home right away are “come,” “sit,” “stay,” “drop it,” “leave it.” You can YouTube these commands if you need help with them before you start with your trainer.

  4. Most importantly, you want to train your dog to be calm in the house. Reward calm behaviour, not hyper behaviour. 

  5. Crate training is the most effective tool to help you with housebreaking. It will also protect your puppy from swallowing something they should not while keeping your household items from being destroyed. Please do not crate your puppy for more than 3-4 hours at a time. See our blog on crate training 

  6. Teach your pup to potty on command. Use a command such as “go potty” or “get busy” every time they eliminate outside and be sure to praise them with high value treats. This will come in handy on those cold winter days when you are only out for a quick potty break.

  7. Baby gates will help you introduce your puppy slowly to other areas of your house.

  8. Have a go-to toy nearby to redirect them when they chew on items in the house they are not supposed to.

  9. If your puppy goes after baseboards or other similar no no’s, use bitter apple spray. 

  10. A tired dog is a happy dog. If you do not have time to take your dog on a long walk every day, hire a reputable dog walking services Toronto.

  11. For your dog walking, we love the easy walk harnesses because the leash clips in the front and discourages them from pulling.

  12. DO NOT buy retractable leashes. They can fail and are dangerous. 

  13. Get your dog used to wearing a leash and collar early. Let them wear it around the house and don’t forget to discourage chewing. Replace leash biting or chewing with a fun toy for them.  

  14. It is important to socialize your puppy as much as possible. This means introducing them to other dogs, all types of people of different ages, including babies and baby carriages, loud noises, busy streets and fast-moving objects such as skateboarders, bicycles, and cars. Try sitting on a bench to observe all of the motion going by. 

  15. Touch your puppy’s paws, teeth, gums, and belly. It is important that they are ok with you touching them wherever you need to. 


Puppy shopping checklist 

· Crate 

· Baby Gate 

· Pee pads

· Old towels to clean up messes 

· Odour eliminator for smelly accidents 

· Leash

· Collar 

· Harness (we use Easy walk)

· Chew toys

· Healthy treats. (We like dried liver.) 

· Puppy food. (Do your research to pick the best high-quality food.)

· Kong (Fill them and freeze them to keep your pup occupied)

· Peanut butter or cheese whiz to fill the Kong with 

· Toothbrush and doggie toothpaste 

· Dog tags with your phone number 


Extra Tips

· Ask other dog owners in your community what veterinarians they use and what their experiences have been. Try to find people who have had to use their veterinarian for services that are not standard or routine. Not all veterinarians are the same and if any big issues arise, your vet will make all the difference for your puppy and to your bank account. 

· Be extra cautious with your pup outdoors and particularly, in indoor public spaces until they have had all their shots. Also, do not visit grassy areas where lots of other dogs are visiting until they have been properly immunized. 

· Get a name tag with your phone number on it. Unfortunately, far too often dogs get away from their owners. Somehow they may get out of your backyard, but regardless of how, having a name tag with your number on will come in very handy.

· Set money aside monthly. This will help when you have any unforeseen veterinarian bills that come up.



Getting a dog is a ton of work and not cheap, yet in my opinion, it is one of the most rewarding relationships you can have. If you do not want to go through all of the puppy training and prep, consider a rescue dog. You can find all types of dogs with all types of personalities to suit your lifestyle.


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