New Puppy Guide

Congratulations on your new puppy! This guide is to help you remember everything we told you, including feeding, shots, spay/neuter, and products!

Download The Adopt-a-Pet Puppy Manual

Products to consider

  • Playpen – This is a great way to confine your puppy during the day when you’re not actively playing or engaged. The open top makes the pup feel more free and it’s big enough that you can put in a pee pad, water, toys and food. The nylon bottom protects your floors. Portable so you can with you to work, or a friend’s place.
  • Crate for night time
  • Collar – we love these sublimated collars for your pup’s name and phone number as visual ID even if you walk on a harness! Also available as a Martingale. If you have an extra small dog you can request a TEACUP size for an extra fee.
  • Harness – our favorite high quality harness that lasts forever!
  • Kong – help keep puppies or high energy dogs engaged while you’re out, or busy. Stuff with treats, peanut butter, frozen soup or more! Great for teething and boredom.
  • Greenies – set your pup up for success. Don’t let them chew on anything inappropriate by giving them lots of their own stuff to chew on. (other great chews include Himalayan yak’s milk and antlers. No rawhide!)
  • Snuggly bed – Marshalls has the BEST prices!!!
  • Bowls – Target Ramekins are a very inexpensive, well weighted, dishwasher safe option. (start at $3! larger ones for $5)
  • Toys – most puppies need something they can tease on, but many also enjoy snugly toys they can cuddle or fetch. Marshalls has a huge selection of BarkBox brand toys that are perfect for small dogs!

Feeding Guide

Puppy food is higher fat. All Life Stages food has an adjusted feeding guide to ensure puppies get more calories. Both are suitable for puppies under 6 months.  Once your dog is older you should consider moving them to an adult or all life stages food. You can begin feeding frozen raw or dehydrated raw at any age (recommended).

At our rescue we feed ORIJEN

Our staff picks also include:

Remember to SWAP PROTEINS every bag  (if you fed Chicken flavor last time, buy lamb this time, and then beef next time, etc)

You may have heard that “grain free” or “boutique brands” are causing heart problems. Unfortunately clickbait headlines have gotten the best of many people and the occurrence of DCM has been found in dogs eating ALL diets including grain-full diets. Here’s a breakdown — Grain free doesn’t equal DCM


It’s important to begin socializing your puppy with different kinds of people right away!
If your dog is not fully vaccinated you should invite friends over (remove shoes and wash hands)

Pick different people. Puppies should be exposed to people of different genders, ethnicities, ages, shapes, and sizes. The more variety you introduce, the quicker he will learn that variety is the spice of life!

Pick the right people . Make sure that everyone you choose to interact with your puppy knows how to do so in a positive manner. If children cannot hold or pet your puppy correctly, they should not interact with him. Remember, a negative experience during this critical time can make your puppy afraid.

A well socialized dog is not necessarily a super friendly dog, it’s a dog who is neutral to most interactions, noises, is not overly reactive to stimulus in public.

More about socializing


We like the instruction provided by The Housebreaking Bible


If your pup is not yet fully vaccinated we will email you the shot schedule so you know what they need and when. For your own info here’s what they should have by the time they’re done

  • DHPP Booster x 3 (1 month apart)
  • Rabies (at 4 months — to be repeated every 1-3 years depending on the kind of vaccines you vet uses)

If your pup has not had 3 (!) DHPP boosters she is not ready for the wide world and she is still at risk of deadly diseases such as PARVO and DISTEMPER. She should only be socialized on places where you can control the hygiene such as inside your home, your yard (without outdoor cats, feral cats, stray dogs coming and going), in a friend’s home or yard where all of their pets are healthy and vaccinated, etc. Use common sense! Do not WALK your dog along the street or visit a DAY CARE or DOG PARK* until she is fully vaccinated – you don’t know what sick animals have been there, and PARVO does not go away on it’s own, it must be BLEACHED OUT of the concrete. Don’tr isk it!

*You should really never go to dog parks unless they are small and local. Most public dog parks are not only rife with disease, they come with a variety of colorful people who let their unfixed, aggressive dogs roam without boundaries or training. Dog parks are where many small dogs are killed!

Spay / Neuter

If you adopted on a CONTINGENCY for spay/neuter being completed we will be in touch before they’re 6 months to complete. SOME pups have a shelter voucher which requires their spay neuter be completed by LA City deadlines, while others have a slightly larger window.

If you do not hear from anyone please email with your name and the dog’s DWB name.

Home visit

We conduct a home visit for every dog adopted from our organization. This is not optional. Most home visits take less than 10 minutes and will be arranged at your convenience, to the best of our ability. Volunteers have been trained and how to perform a home visit and will most likely not be emailing you from a dog’s the borders email address but instead their own personal email address. We place hundreds of dogs every year and sometimes it takes us a little while to catch up on our recent adoptions. If we contact you later than expected even if you’ve had the dog in your home for a while you must still complete the home visit.

Looking for your adoption photo?

If you adopted on Contingency it’s probably here

If you finalized an adoption it’s probably here

Need a puppy class?

When your pup is old enough to attend a class check out Kate Hart’s training on SUNDAYS from 11:15-12:15 at Verdugo Rec Center Park (north end). Bring a non-retractable leash, some excellent treats in a pouch (like chopped up hot dog) and a chew.

Kate Hart
Mention Dogs Without Borders and get a 7 week in-person training class for $100.

If you want a basic puppy class you can visit any Petsmart, Petco, Tailwaggers or Centinela for a simple intro to puppy basics.

Dog Training by Kiko Pup – Free training Videos

Los Angeles Based Trainers

Jocelyn @The Muttineer
Mention Dogs Without Borders and get $25 off a 4 week puppy class

Please note your adoption agreement includes a clause stating that you will not engage a trainer who uses PRONG or SHOCK collars (this includes “balanced trainers”). Positive reinforcement, force-free /R+ training only!

Pet Insurance

We highly recommend getting insurance for your pet to help you manage unexpected medical visits such as broken limbs, obstructions, cancer, heart disease and other expensive diagnoses. Pet Insurance does not pay for procedures up-front but will review a claim and reimburse you.