Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question that is not answered on this page, please Contact Us. Click on each question to view the answer.

I just got a puppy. What should I be doing with it?

Click Here to see our recommendations for the bare minimums you should do with your new puppy.

How old does my puppy have to be?

There is no age minimum for our programs, but the age maximum is 8 months of age for all our programs. For more details about this policy, please read this AVSAB Position Statement.

What vaccinations does my puppy need?

We recommend joining our classes 7 days after your puppy’s first shots. We ask that you remain current on your booster shots and talk to your vet about flea/tick prevention as well as the Canine Cough (Bordetella) vaccine.

Where are you located?

We have 7 locations around Greater Victoria (click here for a map), plus we offer mobile private training.

I’m already working with a different trainer. Does that matter?

Not at all! Taking your pup to training (even if it isn’t with us) is a fantastic investment in your future. We work with several other local trainers and believe in a sense of community when it comes to raising a pup. You are welcome to join us for any of our programs as well, we can simply help supplement the great work you are already doing with your current trainer. Knowledge is power, and you can’t get enough of it. Many trainers refer their clients to our Puppy Socialization classes to help supplement the obedience training they are already doing. Unfortunately some trainers are afraid to lose their clients, so if it makes your trainer uncomfortable to share your business please encourage them to contact us as a professional courtesy.

What is the difference between training and socialization?

Training deals with obedience commands, whereas Socialization deals with etiquette in social situations. Training includes things like Sit, Down, Come, Stay, Drop It, Leave It and so on. People train their dogs so they can learn patience, prevent accidents and have a more convenient relationship. People socialize their dogs so they learn to be happy and confident with other people and animals. In order to take your dog anywhere, your puppy must be well trained and well socialized.

A dog that is well trained and poorly socialized may listen to you, but will likely be unfriendly or fearful. A dog that is well socialized and poorly trained may be happy, but will likely be unruly and overly exuberant. You may want to work with a trainer to help you raise a well balanced, happy, friendly, controllable dog.

I want to train my own dog. How can BabyDog help?

Good for you, dog training is not rocket science. Long story short, we don’t want to train your puppy anyway. We want to teach YOU to train your own puppy.

It takes a village to raise a puppy. Think of it this way….you could send your canine kid to public school, hire a private tutor, or do home schooling.

Public School is like Group Training: everyone follows the same curriculum on the same schedule and your instructor’s time is distributed between students. Your fur kid learns about social etiquette with their fellow students at the same time that they learn the content you want to teach.

Hiring a tutor is like Private Training: everyone follows the same curriculum but you can spend more time in the areas that you need help, and your instructor’s time is dedicated solely to you. Your fur kid doesn’t get a chance to learn social etiquette with other dogs this way, unless you intentionally schedule time for it.

Home School is like training your own dog: you decide on the curriculum, the pace at which you move through the content, and the quality time you spend with your fur kid. Again, your fur kid doesn’t interact with their peers this way, unless you intentionally set time aside to organize play dates with other puppy parents. If you know the curriculum, and you will ACTUALLY spend time going through it with your puppy, this can be a great choice.

Use our Group Training classes as an affordable way to cover your puppy basics. Use our Private Training services to focus on the commands that you need special help with. And use our Puppy Socialization classes to make sure that your fur kid gets the social experience it needs to grow up with confidence. Either way, you will learn a lot about yourself by training a puppy!

Are there developmental deadlines for puppies?

Yes! Please Click Here to learn when the different Stages of Development occur and what they mean to you. Its very important to socialize your puppy before they are 4 months old. If you have already missed that window, please join us for a class anyway because it is never too late to start and you have to make up for lost time. Here are some deadlines that should stand out to you:

Your puppy learns to be gentle with its teeth by 18 weeks of age.

Your puppy is in a fear period from 8-11 weeks, and again from 6-14 months of age.

Your puppy will seem great off leash until they are 4-8 months old because of the Flight Instinct Period.

How did you develop your programs and services?

40% of Canadian puppies are euthanized or re-homed by the age of 2 years.

50% of Canadian dogs are given away at least once in their life (in addition to the time they leave their mom)

The leading cause of death in dogs is euthanasia for problem behaviours, not any medical condition.

The top 3 reasons dogs are euthanized or re-homed are house training, aggression and barking.

Let those statistics really sink in for a minute. Our programs were designed with these stats in mind. Puppy owners who have access to affordable training and a support network are less likely to lose their beloved pets to preventable conditions in the future. This may not be something that you’re thinking about now, but the sad reality is that many people reading this will not take the right actions and in a year or two their dog will pay the price. Our programs were designed to ease the burden on our local dog rescues by keeping puppies with their families for their lifetime. We also want to keep our fellow community members out of the back office of the vet clinic until their dog is a ripe old age and has lived a good, full life.

We have 7 locations around Greater Victoria and we offer 8 drop-in classes per week, plus private training. No matter where you live, you aren’t too far from one of our locations. We have a First Time Free voucher for our socialization classes (keep reading the FAQs for more info), our programs are affordably priced, and we offer gift certificates in case you know someone that could benefit from our services.

Do you have an eNewsletter?

Sure do! In fact, we have two. If you join us for a socialization class, you’ll be invited to register for the socialization eNewsletter. If you join us for group or private training, you’ll be invited to register for the training eNewsletter. Of course, you do not have to accept the invitation….but our newsletters have been designed to only come once per week and they are a content-rich, no BS, helpful supplement to our classes. Unsubscribe at any time at the bottom of any eNewsletter. At this time, our eNewsletters are only available to clients. View our Privacy Policy here

My dog is too old for the BabyDog program. How do I get help?

It is NEVER too late to help your dog with a behavioural concern. If your pup is now older than 8 months and you are looking for further socialization or training support please get in touch and we will happily refer you to other local trainers that we love. 

Can I try a socialization class for free?

Yes, but there are rules to qualify. We supply many local dog rescues, veterinarians, breeders and participating Bosley’s pet stores with our First Class Free passes. These passes are applicable on Socialization classes, not Training classes. These cards are only available to you if you have never attended one of our Socialization classes, and they are NOT available to be picked up at the time of the class. The purpose of the First Class Free card is to introduce our services to new clients and inspire new dog owners to be pro-active with their puppies regardless of their level of income.

What if my puppy gets sick?

Don’t bring your puppy to class if they’re contagious! Just like children, your puppy will get sick at some point in their life. Kids get sick by going into public, just like dogs do. Your dog could get sick from the grooming salon, vet clinic, dog park, pet store, your back yard, or a training class. They are at risk every time they make direct contact with other animals, or visit places where other animals have been. Unless your dog is currently contagious, it would be absurd to suggest that you should keep your dog away from these places. You wouldn’t let your young child drop out of school because they could catch a cold there…your puppy is the same.

The risk that your puppy will get sick from attending a puppy class pales in comparison to the risk that your puppy will suffer from social and behavioural deficits from not attending puppy class.

Here are some recommendations for keeping your dog healthy:

1. Proper Nutrition & Hydration

2. Physical and Mental Exercise

3. Supervised socialization with other healthy animals

4. Proper Hygiene (grooming)

5. Preventative Medicine (vaccinations, de-wormer and flea/tick preventatives)

6. Rest

If you think your puppy may have accidentally participated in one of our classes while they were contagious, please Contact Us so we can remind our other clients to watch for signs and symptoms in their puppies. As soon as your pup is healthy again, come back to class!

Click Here for more info on potentially contagious diseases.

Can my business cross promote with BabyDog?

Yes! We have a welcome package for our Training clients that includes small gifts from local businesses that are useful for dog owners. For example, a dog groomer could donate a card for a free nail trim. A pet store owner could donate a small bag of treats. A photographer could join a class and share the digital prints with their online business card and watermark. Anyone could donate a magnet, or a pen, or some other useful swag. Email info@babydog.ca with your cross promotion ideas, the sky is the limit. If you would like to carry our First Class Free passes and/or business pamphlets, that would be amazing.

Are there any volunteer or employment opportunities with BabyDog?

Yes! We have a volunteer program for adults that are interested in assisting us with classes. When employment opportunities arise, our reliable volunteers are given first consideration. Please Click Here for more information, and send your resume with a cover letter to info@babydog.ca

What training technique do you use?

First, its important to note that we are not extremists. BabyDog trainers understand that the way you want to train your puppy is not necessarily the same way your neighbour would want to train their puppy. Also, the way we handle a timid puppy will be different than the way we handle an aggressive one. There is no one-size-fits-all training technique, so the techniques we use on one pup will be different from the techniques we use on another. We will never force you to do anything you are uncomfortable with, or judge you for techniques you have tried in the past. After working with thousands of people and their dogs we have heard just about everything!

A good trainer will use a consistent training technique and be able to explain why it works. A GREAT trainer will be able to explain several different techniques, why they work, what the side-effects are, how to deal with the side-effects, and how to choose an approach that works for the client and the dog. No training technique is without side effects, if there was one single perfect technique that existed then all dog trainers would be using it. Dogs learn fastest from what they do right, therefore it is critically important to use techniques that encourage your puppy to make the right choice instead of just discouraging them from making the wrong choice.

BabyDog trainers are firm believers in the humane hierarchy, and will try just about anything in order to help you with your pup. If you have a clear vision of the techniques you would like to try, please discuss your ideas with the trainer up front so we can work together successfully. Remember that dog training is a team sport…open communication between the trainer, the client and the dog is essential. All that matters is that we move forward with an approach that will be effective for you and your dog.

For further clarity, we rely heavily on Learning Theory, Canine Communication and Impulse Control. We leave our ego at the door, we are not afraid to share clients or make referrals to our peers in the industry, we will never discourage a client from using a competitor’s service. Our priority is the quality of our service and the safety of our clients and their dogs, and we will use whatever training method will get results for each client-dog team that we work with. There is more than one way to raise a child, and there is more than one way to raise a puppy.