Did someone say shopping! We know you don’t need an excuse to go shopping, but getting a new puppy is probably the best one ever. Hopefully you have done all your homework on your puppy , prepared your home and are now ready for the big moment.
With all the choices out there, it can be pretty overwhelming and, not to mention, very time consuming. That means it’s a good idea to do a little research and go in with a plan.
We are here to help reduce the fear, anxiety and stress that will take away from that great shopping experience and allow you to be prepared for the arrival of your new furball.
There are certainly some “must haves” before your pup arrives, but many of the essentials you can pick up once the face licking begins in your home.
Hopefully by now you know that all dogs should be crate trained. Not only does it create a safe space for them, it also gives you a way to keep them contained when you need to attend to mundane things like sleeping, cooking and going to the bathroom. This is usually the time that they will want to explore and get into trouble.
There are basically 3 types of crates:
- Wire: Pros – they can fold flat and provide better ventilation. Cons – bigger ones are heavy, tough to transport, and unless you put a blanket over them, they do not provide a visual barrier between you and your pup. Sometimes this is required for peace and quiet. $60 – $250
- Plastic: Pros – easy for transport to the vet, create a visual barrier, and are typically approved for airline shipping. Cons – they are more expensive, take up lots of room, and don’t provide the best ventilation. $30 – $250
- Cloth: Pros – lightweight, lots of options, and easy for transport. Cons – can be easily shredded by dogs who want to get out, generally only good for small dogs, and cleaning can be difficult if stained. $20 – $200
To start with, go for something basic. Beds can get expensive, so leave the bling bed until your pup has got past the teething stage. Start with something that will fit inside their crate, but also can be removed to allow them a soft landing spot when they nap outside their crate. And prepare for a lot of napping! You also want to make sure it is washable. You will quickly see the type of surface your dog likes to sleep on and this will help you when choosing your next bed. $25 – $50
It is best to get your pup use to a collar or harness immediately. There is a little chance that they will have had to wear one during their first 8 months, so it will be foreign to them. This is normal. Make sure any collar is loose enough for you to get a couple of fingers between it and your puppy’s neck, but not so loose that it could slide over his head when walking on leash.
There are a lot of options available. The most popular are a buckle-type collar, a martindale collar, or front and back clip harnesses. The martindale collar is probably the best for early training. You can find out more on harnesses here
One thing to always keep in mind is that a collar or harness are meant for controlling and identifying your dog when they are outside. You should always take off their collar when they are inside the house. It’s easy for your pup to get its collar stuck on something and choke. So be careful! $20 – $50
Always start off with a 4-6 foot, sturdy and lightweight leash. Nylon or leather are good choices, but avoid flexi and belt leashes at this stage of development. You may want to with something basic to start off, because there is a high likelihood that your puppy will chew their first leash. Just sayin’. $15 – $30
In the beginning, just go with something basic. Remember, you puppy will grow, so your first bowl will probably be smaller than what you will eventually end up with. You can go with stainless steel, which is durable and easy to clean, but will need to be on a mat or have a rubber bottom to keep from slipping, ceramic, which are expensive but can be put in the microwave, or plastic, which are lightweight and inexpensive, but can hold germs. Basically, look for something that will allow your pup a comfortable eating height and does not move around when they are trying to eat. A 2-in-1 plastic food and water dish usually works well with puppies. $10 – $40
Exercise Pen (X-pen)
You can either buy an exercise pen, or build one in a section of your house/apartment using baby gates (see below). An X-pen is a portable enclosure that typically measures 4 ft x 4 ft. For the first couple weeks at home, this is the best and safest place for your pup. It will allow you to give them some space and time to explore, a contained place to poop and pee before you start the tough task of house training, and will help with separation anxiety, because they will be able to see you and others when you are not with them. $100 – $150
Let’s face it, your new baby is going to want to explore and gates are the perfect way to keep them away from your special carpet, a set of stairs or places you really don’t want them to be. If you don’t want to spring for an X-pen, you can always use pet gates to set up a penned-in area in your house.
There are so many options available. From wooden doors, to artistic gates, to heck a piece of sturdy cardboard. They are not always fashionable, but boy are they functional. This is something you will probably use for many years, so buy a good one. $80 – $120
I know not all of you have a house, but if you do, this is a “must” if you plan to let your dog run loose in your yard. Don’t wait until your pup escapes to make sure your fence is dog proof. Not only does your fence keep Fido in, but it should also keep unwanted “guests” out. When you do start housetraining, you may need to let your pup out in the middle of the night and if you don’t want to making the trip into the backyard with them at 3:00am, best to make sure the years is really safe. Spend some time checking this before your pup gets home. Prices vary depending on material and amount of fence required.
Although you will be limiting your dog’s exposure to outside influences before all their shots are completed, you should be bringing it on short walks. So, that means you will need poop bags, because you are a responsible pet owner…right? Many options exist. You can buy specially scented bags, or you could use sandwich bags. Throw them in every pocket, ‘cause your gonna need them. $1 – $10
You may not think this is a must have, but it really is. Dogs are naturally curious and playful, so having toys for them is very important for their development as well as a way to keep your shoes, floorboards and pillows safe. They will want to chew, shake and generally destroy things, so why not give them a stuffed toy. Try to get toys that don’t have little bits that can be chewed off or are stuffed with thinks like beans, or foam. $10 – $15
This will get you started and hopefully put you on the right track toward building a great fur-ever home. As your pup starts to settle in and you begin getting a full night sleep, you can start to think about your next shopping spree.