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What do i need to buy for a new puppy?…..Just the Basics

Jodie Wilson, Sweet Puppy Butters, CC BY 2.0:

Awww… You just got a new puppy…. Male or female? Well the items you need are going to be the same, except for maybe the colors of course. It can always be a challenge to determine exactly what is needed. I know when I adopted every one of my dogs, it was always a hunt for the perfect items.

The first step is to take inventory of what you currently have, Some items may be expensive, some you may be able to wait to get and it also depends on exactly what your plan is with this new puppy. What you need buy really depends on the age of the puppy, but for this information, we are going to assume that it is an actual puppy, meaning over 12 weeks, but less than one year old. Completely new to this world.


1. Food and Training Treats

The first thing needed is going to be the correct type of food. You want to make sure that you are picking the perfect bag of dry dog food for your new puppy or wet food, if under six months.

This is going to be experimental for the most part, so start off with what you think is the best food you can get, then monitor and change as needed. We have provided small guide to get you started. Each  puppy is going to have a different and unique palate. (My lab loves chicken and rice, and my American Stafordshire loves Salmon and Potaotes, My small terrier like the more subtle flavors, like lamb and garden variety for whatever reason).

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Puppies have a higher energy requirement than adult dogs, so please buy foods that are specific to puppies as these will provide the most nutritional value for your new puppy.

Training treats

Yup, you heard correct, your puppy is going to need some training treats. These are smaller treats that have very little nutritional value, but provide a large flavor punch for your new puppy. Your going to use these training treats as almost as a credit card to get them to behave the way you want them too.

You should have something to put your training treats in, maybe even invest in a training kit that you can place around your waist.

This puppy is going to be everywhere, so have these treats on hand everywhere the puppy can go. I have placed several small plastic storage containers in almost every room in order to distribute treats for the desired behavior, along with positive reinforcement. There is  no treat for negative behavior, along with your “No word”. Dogs catch on pretty quick, so repetition is key here.


2. Toys! Lots of toys! And then more Toys!

I really enjoy taking my dogs into a store and letting them pick their own toys (we do this like twice a year). Its fun, they know what they like and it allows you to kind of experiment with new toys, seeing if your pup plays with the toy.

Of course, when you have a new puppy, that’s not really possible. Your going to go through a lot of toys! I mean a lot! So at first, I would stick with the lower price points, as you will find that not all dog toys are created equal.

What you think they will love, they will not and what you think will last forever, will only last about 5 minutes.

Figuring out what type of chewer your new pup is done during this stage.

If they destroy anything that winds up between those jaws of steel, then they are powerful chewers and you should invest in some tough toys. However, if you get a tough toy, and they can’t destroy it, your pup may lose interest in that toy.

Word of advice, never throw away their favorite toy without replacing it, no matter how destroyed it is!

So my lab likes plush

My pit likes the long squeaky/crinkle toys

and my small terrier likes the crinkle toys.

This comes over time, starting out, If I could only get one toy, It would be a teething toy made of latex.

Puppies will teeth, and you should have specific toys for them to do so.  Your slippers and shoes, remotes, pretty much anything within sight will resemble a chew toy to your new pup. They love chewing on leather, so beware, If you don’t have teething toys for your new puppy, your leather shoes/Purse is going to be shredded.

3. Beds or Kennel that is the question

It goes without saying that they need a place to sleep. If they are not sleeping on your bed/couch, then you need a dog bed. This one again is going to get pricey if your not careful. There are tons of choices out there, and finding the right bed can be tricky. Don’t worry about all the different types of beds and what bed does what. Right now, you just need them to sleep in the first place.

Starting out, I used a box and put some blankets and a pillow in the box. I had cut out a small insert so that the puppy could go in and feel secure. One way in and one way out. They will usually stay in this type of bed until they outgrow it. After about 6 months, they want something more adolescent if you will.

It is okay if it is enclosed as long as they have an entrance and exit. Some puppies want the top open, and others want the security of the entire box. You just have to get to know your new pup. If they refuse to stay in the enclosed box, try cutting the top of the box off making it completely open.

They may try to sleep with you on your bed. At first this may make you uncomfortable. Don’t worry, you won’t crush him, he can’t suffocate under the covers, or all the other things that we worry about. Trust me the puppy will let you know if something is wrong.

They are also going to want their own space within your home, where their bed is located, and if they like their bed, they won’t chew it up.

Spend some time getting cheaper beds to figure out what style your puppy likes, but after the 6-month mark. Because this stage lasts from 6-12 months, then the next stage for them is 1-3 years. So it is normal for your puppy to change their minds.

Over my labs 11 years reign, he has liked and outgrown several different bed styles. Right now he seems to just like a blanket on the floor, or the end of my bed. However, he is 11, and it is harder for him to get up on the couch, the bolster bed is too soft, etc. They have preferences.

What about a kennel? My friend told me to get one…

Kennels are a good idea if you know how to use a kennel. I don’t mean just put them in the kennel at night, or when your away, there is an actual purpose for the kennel. And it has to do with kennel training your puppy. This of course is the recommended way to train your new companion.

It is not cruel, and you don’t just leave them in there for endless hours bored with nothing to do! Your puppy needs interaction, so you must let him out of the kennel on a regular basis, they should be out of the kennel more than they are in it.

A new puppy needs lots of attention, probably more than kids, It is a kid, technically. The basics of kennel training are to socialize, potty train, and command train your new puppy from a young age.

Given the high price point, added necessary materials needed, and proper training skills, kennel training is fun, but you should not go this route until you are 199% committed to training this puppy.

Fair warning!

A kennel is not a cage, it is a home for your puppy. If you use it incorrectly and the kennel becomes a negative association for your puppy, they will not be willing to enter their space. Trust me when I say, positive reinforcement works best with your new pup.

4.Leash/Lead,Collars,Name tag and Harness

The sound they make when you reach for that leash and harness hanging on the wall is just priceless. The endless whap, whap,whap, whap of their excited tails hitting everything within reach is almost priceless. With so many options, what is the best combo?

Our number one recommendation from here is the nylon lead and a full body harness that wraps around their chest not their neck. Their collar is for identification and should be stylish, the harness is for training them not to pull.

^^^^^^FULL BODY TRAINING HARNESS^^^^^^ This is HUMANE, Please don’t use a choke chain 🙁 Really though,)

A full body harness wraps around their chest, and bottom side underneath their legs. With the larger portion being around their chest, and under their arms.

When they pull on your walks,(all puppies will, they all do it), you have to teach them to walk with you (bring your training treats). So gently pull back on your nylon lead and shorten it with your hands, using two hands to walk your new puppy.

When they pull too much, they will raise their front paws off the ground which forces them to re-consider, it does not choke them, and is just as effective.Give them lots of treats when they walk with you even only a short distance. This teaches them what behavior you want from them using positive reinforement.

They need a name tag, don’t skimp on the collar and name tag. Puppies will try to escape, they don’t know their boundaries yet, heck sometimes they will even try to run straight past you when you come home because they are soooooo excited to see you.

Then it is off for a fun game of chase before putting your bags down. Lord knows I have had to chase my Lab at least 30 times during the first year.

I got lucky with my terrier, the name tag saved him, I couldn’t find him, he had wandered into one of neighbors yards, They found him when they came home and called me.

Conclusion

I am really happy that you are adding a new member to your family. Remember that your new puppy is experiencing the world for the first time and you are their guiding light, mother, father, uncle, their everything.

So please keep that in mind when cleaning up the dog poo from your carpet, because it is going to happen, or when they wake you up at 3 am and want to play (This still happens). Or when they get sick on Easter Sunday because they ate the eggs while you were hiding them and you have to call in to work the next day to take them to the vet.

(I’m looking at you Juniper (My 3 year old American Stafford shire)).

A dog is a wonderful companion to add to your household, treat them good and they will be your most loyal companion that you have. I have three of them. My American Stafford-shire is my youngest, she is now three (still chews on things she’s not supposed to, and gets up at 3 am and starts doing laps around the living room all by herself.) 🙂

Some habits are just part of their personalities so remember, that your new pup is a living creature, not an object. You go to work, have a good social life, all your dog has is you. So when your mad, remember that you are all they know and how you treat them will reflect in how they behave.

When we adopted her, her name was already Juniper, so we chose to keep it. Have you thought of a name yet?  Comment below.

14 Comments

  1. DOUG

    Thank you for this article. My wife and I are planning on adopting a puppy sometime in the near future. We have a dog already and think a younger playmate would be nice for all involved.
    I’ve bookmarked your page and will refer back to make sure we have the bases covered.

    • Jonathan Wallace

      Thank you and I appreciate it. I had the two already when I adopted Juniper. We chose a neutral place for them to play together and then just brought her home with the pack. The first night is always the roughest, but it works out I think, they all get along, and they all run together. A younger puppy was a good addition to the pack. At first my senior pup didn’t want to do anything, but over time, he started playing with her. As much as he could anyway, I sometimes still have to just take her outside by herself and let her run around, chase toys, etc. Overall, They are all happy, and they all tell each other when the refrigerator opens. Good luck with your new puppy, I hope to hear from you in the future.

  2. Vinetta

    Aloha! I love your site! You’ve covered a great deal of info in great detail. I have a Rhodesian Ridgeback/Black Lab named Miles Davis (you can meet on my Best Friends post) – he also loves the plush toy option 🙂 The food options post linked on this page was very impressive. Keep up the great work! Aloha Juniper!

  3. Mike

    I love dogs – they are amazing companions. There’s nothing sadder than seeing one that’s short of affection. Thank you for your efforts to keep man’s best friend happy!

  4. Babsie

    I guess you don’t just get a puppy, do you? There is a lot of preparation (hopefully not last minute). We should have “puppy showers” much like we have baby showers for the new moms and dads. LOL! Thank you so much for all the hard research compiling that information. My daughter-in-law is talking about getting a puppy, so I’m going to refer this article to her.

    • Jonathan Wallace

      Congratulations for your Daughter-in-law. There is a lot of preparation, your bringing home a new family member really. This creature needs food, love, attention, and creature specific items. Some things can be acquired over time, like the bed. A box and some old blankets will do, You could probably get away with about 100 bucks to start off, maybe less. If you get nothing else on the first day, I would get the food, the leash and harness, and one toy. The toy can be comforting to them being introduced into a new home, your going to need the leash and harness to get them into the house. lol

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