Supplies for Your New Puppy

May 01

By, Julie Morrill

A common question we get from our clients is, “What supplies do we need to buy before we bring home our new puppy?” The list below could look daunting to you, but understand that we’re giving you a list of only a few items, along with our explanation of those items, so it’s not really that long. Here are a few suggestions we offer to people bringing home a puppy for the first time:

1. Crate: We have two options for you on crates:

a) You could choose a crate that will fit your 8-week-old puppy when he's fully grown, which means a crate that is made for a dog 60-80 pounds. In this case, we recommend putting something like a small plastic milk crate in the back of the crate to fill in the empty space. This will also (usually) prevent him from soiling in the crate, since no dog likes to soil in the area where he sleeps. OR

b) You could choose a crate that fits your 8-week-old puppy now and buy a larger crate for him when he grows out of this one.

2. Dog Beds, Pillows and Blankets: We use dog beds and pillows in training all the time. First of all, we have found that, when training a dog to lie down, they will do so much faster and easier if a pillow is used. Second, we place a pillow just inside the front door and maybe another elsewhere in the house, because we don’t allow our dogs to roam freely inside. When a dog comes into our house, he heads straight to a pillow and he knows he has to remain there for the duration, unless specifically called to leave the pillow. We place another pillow or thick blanket inside the crate for bedtime.

3. Toys: We don't give our puppies a lot of toys to chew on--just one or two plain, hard rubber toys. Sometimes I'll use the kind you can hide food inside, but if they're too difficult for some younger puppies, they’ll only get frustrated by them. I would do a search for recommendations on dog toys, since these are about the only ones we use. We're not that diverse in this area. Soft toys get destroyed too easily by most puppies and we have heard terrible stories of dogs ingesting toys and having to have them surgically removed.

4. Collar: We recommend an 8-14” adjustable collar for your new puppy. This shouldn’t be an expensive collar, since he will grow out of it, but having some form of identification tag on your puppy’s collar is a good idea.

5. Dog Foods and Snacks: We recommend using dogfoodadvisor.com for their unbiased ranking of dog foods available for purchase. We have chosen to feed our dogs Costco’s Kirkland brand of dog food, due to the fact that dogfoodadvisor.com gave it a 4 out of 5-star rating. We use either Kirkland’s “Puppy Chow” (yellow bag) or the adult version (purple-magenta colored bag). When you adopt a puppy from us, we give you a large ziplock bag of dog food so that you can mix it in with whatever food you choose. This will minimize upsetting your puppy's stomach as s/he transitions to your dog food. We don’t give our dogs too many treats, aside from kibble or maybe some chopped up bits of hot dog, which we use in training. One important thing to remember is that, when you give your dog any sort of treat, try to keep track of exactly how much you gave him so that you can subtract that amount from his next meal. You do not want to overfeed your dog. With regard to bones and other chewable “snacks,” we do give our dogs rawhide and haven’t had any problems with it, despite the negative press about their being a potential choking hazard. As long as you’re near your dog when he’s chewing on a rawhide bone, you should be able to monitor his chewing habits and make sure he’s not choking.

6. Dog Dishes: As for food and water dishes, we use stainless steel bowls to feed our dogs, because they tend to chew plastic bowls. But, make sure to purchase a high-quality stainless steel, because cheaper ones are thin and quickly develop pinhole leaks in the bottom, rendering them worthless very quickly. We do not recommend a self-feeding food bowl, because, again, dogs might chew on them and, even more important, your dog could overeat, since you’re not actually monitoring your dog’s food intake. However, a self-watering system is recommended if your dog will not chew on the mechanism.

7. Training Items: training pack, leashes, whistle, and clicker. First of all, what is a training pack? Well, some dog trainers use tool belts, and some of us still use those, but I personally use those notoriously ugly fanny packs that look like the ones from the 1980s, only I move the pack to the front, so I can easily grab dog kibble (which I store in a small Ziplock bag), leash, whistle, clicker, and cell phone. We buy very cheap leashes from Dollar Tree and hang them beside every door in the house and kennel, place more in the car, and put more in our training packs. Sometimes our trainers wear heavy duty leather gloves or chaps for training, if they’re working on correcting a dog’s bad habit like biting or nipping. And, one more note on the clicker. I used to use a clicker in training, but often had my hands so full, I found that I could just make the “clicker” sound with my mouth and get the same results. But try it if you’d like, because it is a very effective and handy training tool.

8. Diaper Bag/Box: I personally like to have a sort of "diaper bag" or plastic lidded box in the car filled with wet wipes, Lysol spray, snack-sized Ziplock bag filled with dry dog food to keep in your pocket on outings so you can keep up your dog's training wherever you go, extra water dish and water bottle, plastic trash bags, dog waste bags, and extra blankets or towels. You may not care about the smell of your dog, but we keep baby lotion on hand to cover our puppies' fur with it--and it will make your new "baby" smell like a baby. I even carry a thin, light sheet to put over the crate in the car to keep fur contained in the crate so it doesn't get all over the car. However, we caution you that, on warm days, it can get too hot for the dog, so be careful of this.

9. Blanket or towel: Some experts recommend bringing a blanet or towel to rub on your new puppy's littermates. This puts the scent of your puppy's littermates on the fabric and could make the transition from litter to new home a little easier.

10. Baby gate(s) and metal fencing: In order to confine your puppy to specific areas of your home, we recommend installing metal baby gates. (Your pup will likely chew up and destroy a wooden gate.) Also, while your puppy is being housebroken, a metal pet fence comes in handy (like a playpen). Put the fence on a floor that can be easily cleaned (hardwood, tile, linoleum, etc.) while your puppy is likely to have occasional accidents in the house. You can easily fold in the gate whenever your pup has an accident on the floor, clean it up, and pull the gate back out again. Make sure the gate and fence are tall enough so that your pup can't climb out. We find that the shorter ones are worthless for puppies older than eight weeks of age.

I’m sure there are a few more items that could come in handy for you and your new puppy, but these are a few of the essentials that we can recommend to you.

Happy Puppy Preparations!

If you can see the metal fence in this photo, you'll see that it's quite tall so that puppies cannot climb out.


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