Just got a pup? Here's what you'll need

Getting a puppy is an insanely exciting experience. I will never forget the first day we picked up our little lady. Being responsible for this little life form was overwhelming and I was so worried about everything! Looking back, I may have been a bit overprotective. Ok, a lot overprotective!

So much so we bought everything under the sun thinking it would help protect or guide her in the right direction.

In the end, there are really only a few things that you actually need when you first start out, the rest will be preference.


1. A crate and/or Xpen to help with potty training in addition to having a 'safe' section where they can relax.   

Here is the set up we initially had. We had both the xpen and crate merged together. We ended up moving the crate to the bedroom and leaving the Xpen in the living room though. Every morning we would play with her for a couple of hours then say 'it's time to relax' and put her in her Xpen. Almost the equivalent of 'nap time' for kids daycare. I found this helped a lot with ushering her into the next steps of leaving her alone and avoiding separation anxiety since she was already in a tired, relaxed state and locked safely in her space.
2. Collar and/or harness plus leash


No real need to elaborate on these except for the fact that if you do get a harness, it's ideal to get one with both front and back (or just front clip) since there is something called 'the opposition reflex' that will instinctively encourage your dog to pull. Think huskies pulling a sled!

I won't go into the various types of collars here since there is a lot of controversy and opinions out there concerning the various kinds so we will save that for another post!

For a puppy, a basic collar is fine. If you plan to do daycare, make sure your collar has an easy clip like the one in the link.

Leash wise, you really don't need anything fancy just something sturdy and at least 6 feet long. Until your dog is properly trained, stay away from those retractable ones that gives your dog free reign. You need as much control as you can get at first.

3. Food and water bowl or snuffle mat depending on how you decide to feed your pup. My husband and I made the mistake of buying one of those super hard, slow feeding bowls at first. When our pup first tried to eat out of it, her little face and tongue couldn't even reach to the food! We ended up just using a regular cereal bowl at that point before just getting the good old fashioned metal bowls. 

4. Dog bed. Depending on where your dog will sleep or what areas of the house they will be allowed, getting a bed or two for your dog is a must. Having different 'spots' for your dog gives them somewhere to go so when say for example the door bell rings, your dog can 'go to their spot' as you greet guests. It can also encourage them to stay off furniture. 

We have one in the living room and one in the bedroom. As your puppy grows, you will see what kind of bed they favour. Flat, curved sided, nesting, raised. There are tons to choose from!

5. Puppy pads, newspaper etc. Use whatever your breeder or adoption shelter was using to make it an easier transition. Avoid putting the dog in the crate with the pads or this will encourage them to pee there. Either get an Xpen and make it a long rectangle with their bed on one end and their pad on the other. (Theory being that dogs instinctively know not to mess where they rest!)

6. Toys! Toys! Toys! All the toys!. This is a fun one since there are so many to choose from and you will learn as to what your dog will gravitate towards as he/she grows. To start off, think 'texture', get as many different textures as you can. Dogs feel the world with their mouths (hence the nipping!) so giving them various textures to chew on will keep them interested and engaged.

Stay away from hard things like deer antlers and bones for now, their puppy teeth can't handle it quite yet.

7. Nail Clippers or Dremel. If you are going to be the one doing your dogs nails, you will need a pair of these. I highly encourage you to get comfortable with clipping or dremeling nails since it will save you minimum 5$/week! Plus it's a chance for you to train your dog to feel relaxed and enjoy it like a spa day!

8. Dog food. Check with your breeder or adoption shelter about what they are currently feeding your new pup and if you can take a bag home, score!

9. Clicker. If you plan to go the positive reinforcement route, a clicker is a must.

10. An appointment with your vet so your new puppy can get checked out and get any shots it may need at this point.

11. Copy of updated vaccine records from the breeder or adoption shelter

12. Treats. If you aren't using only kibble to start as rewards (puppy tummy's can be sensitive so keep an eye on what's coming out if new foods are going in!) 

If I have forgotten something, please let me know and as always, please supervise your dog with any of the products mentioned above. I am not a vet or professional of any kind, just a simple dog enthusiast sharing what's worked for her up to this point. Always seek out professional advice when it comes to your dogs wellbeing, safety and training.