Welcoming a new puppy into your home, whether it’s your first or an addition to your family, is a very exciting time! Knowing how to care for your new puppy is important, read on and find out what you can do to give your puppy the best start in life.


In your puppy’s first 8 weeks of life, your breeder should have:

  • ensured your puppy had their first vaccination at 6 to 8 weeks of age
  • started toilet training
  • started socialising them by introducing them to new situations and people.

Be prepared for your puppy’s arrival at home by:

  • creating a space to play and buying toys to keep him/her occupied
  • providing a safe space (a crate, a hiding place and/or a cosy bed) in a quiet, warm area in your home for your puppy to sleep and/or rest undisturbed
  • keeping a blanket and/or soft toy from your puppy’s first home so they have something familiar and comfortable to snuggle with
  • remove anything poisonous or that you don’t want them to chew
  • signing up for puppy classes – these can be hard to get into, so put your name down as soon as possible. 

If you haven’t done these things, we recommend that you do, as soon as you can.


The next 8 to 12 weeks of your puppy’s life is an important time, it is what they learn and experience now that shapes their future behaviour. While your puppy isn’t fully vaccinated yet, it is important to continue socialising him/her through positive experiences like:

  • introducing them to other pets who are healthy and fully vaccinated
  • carrying them around outside to introduce them to people, sights and sounds
  • gradually introduce them to experiences, like driving in the car, grooming, being handled and having their ears and eyes checked
  • begin to leave them alone for short periods to prevent separation-related behaviour
  • establish a consistent routine and rules, rewarding good behaviour and ignoring bad behaviour
  • feed them the same puppy food as they had before and keep the same routine with small, regular meals
  • continuing toilet training by rewarding them when they go outside.

At 12 to 14 weeks of age, your puppy can have his/her second round of vaccinations. While you’re at the vet, ask about worming, flea treatment and desexing (do not not have your puppy desexed before 6 months of age). At this age, you can:

  • begin socialise your puppy more broadly outside once they’re fully vaccinated (the final round of vaccinations can be given at 16 to 18 weeks of age)
  • take them to puppy classes – puppy classes build confidence, are a good source of socialisation and provide essential basic training
  • understand what they like, for example, favourite food or toys.

Don’t forget, to microchip and register your puppy with your local Council. To learn more about caring for your puppy, visit the RSPCA website.

If you don’t have a smart phone or are not comfortable using smart phones call into your nearest Homes North Office for a printed copy of our Caring For Your Puppy fact sheet.