When preparing to introduce a puppy into the family, there are a million things for you to purchase, but do you know what you need and what is not necessary? We will be going through my top 5 puppy must-haves for those beginning stages of puppyhood!
1. The Crate
First and most importantly, a crate to have a safe spot for your puppy when you can not watch them and for potty training. A dog crate is one of our favorite training tools because the benefits are endless! Just like babies, puppies do not know the difference between good and bad decisions, so we make those decisions for them. Introduce the crate early as a safe place where your puppy can relax when you are busy and out of the house but also learn to hold their bladder and start creating those good potty habits! Many pet parents ask about potty pads, and unless you want to use the potty pads for the entirety of your puppy’s life, we suggest just utilizing the crate and taking your puppy out frequently to build up that muscle memory and practice. Remember, repeated and rewarded behaviors are what sticks!
“Puppies do not know the difference between good and bad decisions, so we have to make those decisions for them.”
2. Stain and Odor Remover
Another item to have is a stain and odor remover for those potty accidents that are bound to happen at least once. When choosing a spray to clean up the accident, you want to make sure to find one that has an Enzymatic formula to tackle the pheromones that are overlooked and ignored by regular household cleaners. A spray like bleach or Clorox will leave behind the pheromone smell and attract your pup back to the same spot to use as a bathroom!
3. No-Chew Spray
Puppy teething can be a struggle for most pet parents, so being prepared right away will save you a headache and possibly some ruined furniture! We recommend purchasing a no-chew spray for when your puppy starts teething and gravitating towards anything other than their chews and toys. You can immediately apply it to those items you do not want them chewing on and redirect your puppy to the things they should chew.
4. Teething Toys and Chews
Having the proper teething and chewing toys for your puppy gives them a variety that you can rotate out to keep it interested in playing! Our favorite teething toys are the Kongs and the puppy Nylabones. For a natural chew, we love bully sticks and yak chews because they last the longest and do not splinter; cow and pig ears are great too! Place the teething toys in the freezer to help relieve discomfort while teething and learn to direct their energy towards chewing something they are allowed to chew, already creating good habits.
5. Collar with an ID tag
You will also need a collar with an ID tag with all your information just in case your puppy gets out and a 4-foot to 6-foot nylon or leather leash to walk them out in the world. Some pet parents like to purchase a harness, which is a good choice, but your pup will most likely grow out of this and could need different training tools later in life. Some examples of training tools you might use later on could include a head halter or no-pull harness. We suggest starting with a properly fitted collar and leash and then purchasing new training tools as you go.
Bonus item: The Kong Wobbler
One more bonus puppy must-have would have to be a Kong Wobbler for mealtime! When we work with puppies, we like to make mealtime productive with either a training session or stimulation exercise. The Kong Wobbler is a great enrichment tool to help your dog stay engaged and take longer to eat their food, allowing for better digestion and extra stimulation; it will tire your pup out more than just eating quickly out of a regular bowl. The Kong Wobbler is also useful when you can not play with your puppy. You can always put your puppy in their crate or pen (somewhere safe) and give them the Kong Wobbler for a bit to entertain themselves safely.
It is easy to get engulfed in all the puppy fever excitement and want to buy everything you come across. However, aside from the basics like a water bowl and a bag of food and treats, if you stick to our puppy must-have list, you will not break the bank and have all the essentials for success!
You did all the research, you asked all the questions, and yet, you still have more questions. A new puppy is a lot of work, things are ever changing, and you will have more questions as they grow! Let us help you address some of the most common questions we get as puppy professionals.
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