Congratulations! You have a new dog! You’ve also got that puppy-parent glow that says, “Get me home so I can start my life with my new BFF already!” Easy, tiger. You need some supplies first. Since you’ve never been a dog parent before, we’ve laid out the fundamental items you can’t go without during these first few weeks (and beyond).
1. A Collar
Carrying your dog out to the car is an option, but a collar-and-leash situation will be more comfortable for everyone involved (especially your biceps if you’re adopting a larger breed). Having a functional and comfortable collar for your dog is key. This Blue Frog Track N Guard Dog Collar is not only reflective but also has a built-in GPS tracker just in case Rusty ever slips away.
2. A Harness
One alternative to a collar is a harness. These work well on smaller dogs and those that may be feeling more anxious. This Blueberry Pet Step-In Classic Dog Harness fits most breeds and is breathable, which is important because you want to make sure your pup actually likes her harness (or else walks might become a little difficult).
3. A Leash
As mentioned above, you’ll need a leash to go with that collar or harness. Aim for an adjustable leash that’s made from a durable material, like this Blueberry Pet Durable Classic Nylon Dog Leash that comes in a variety of lengths. At the very least, the leash should be between four and six feet long.
4. Food and Water Bowls
Stainless steel is the preferred material for dog bowls (ceramic is another terrific option). A pair of these Iconic Pet Stainless Steel Non-Skid Bowls with rubber bottoms will keep Cooper from pushing his meal farther and farther away as he scarfs down his food.
5. A Bed
A pup’s gotta sleep. Choose a bed that will support your dog’s body and provide maximum relaxation. The SertaPedic Memory Foam Couch Dog Bed uses memory foam (just like a regular mattress) that eases joint pain and controls temperature (so Sadie doesn’t overheat). It’s machine washable too.
6. A Gate
Until your dog understands the lay of the land (meaning where she’s allowed to go and what’s off-limits), define indoor boundaries with a gate. The Richell Convertible Elite Four-Panel Pet Gate is effective without being obtrusive.
7. A Crate
Introducing your puppy to her new surroundings will inevitably become stressful for her at some point. Everything in this strange environment is different from what she’s used to. A crate is crucial to a healthy puppy lifestyle. It functions as a safe zone for your dog to retreat to when scared and an effective tool during housebreaking and training. The crate should be big enough for Daisy to stand up, walk around in a small circle and sleep comfortably inside. Consider one like this Lucky Dog Folding Black Wire Two-Door Training Crate. It lets in plenty of light and allows the dog to stay near family activities while sitting in her crate during training sessions. Lining the bottom with an Ultra Plush Dog Nap Mat will make the space even cozier.
8. Plenty of Treats
Speaking of training, you’re going to need a hefty number of treats to reward good behavior during teaching times. Positive reinforcement is key when establishing expectations, and treats are key for demonstrating positive reactions. Dingo Dental Delights work double as protein-packed training treats and teeth cleaners.
9. Puppy Pads
Housebreaking is…a process. Any dog owner who tells you their puppy never had an accident indoors is lying. Plopping puppy pads around the house is a smart, smart idea. Arm & Hammer makes some that are super absorbent and contain a scent that attracts dogs (hopefully preventing them from using the carpet).
10. Poop Bags
When Bailey finally starts eliminating outside, poop bags are going to come in real handy. If you have a yard and use a scooper to gather the doo-doo, these Arm & Hammer bags will keep your waste bin clean. If you’re a city dweller, these Earth Rated Dog Poop Bags made from recycled material will work well.
Spoiling your new dog with toys is the most fun part. Definitely invest in some chew toys for teething pups, but for any dog that’s new to your home, toys with treat pockets provide good mental stimulation and distract from stressful conditions. This Hyper Pet Hide-N-Squeak Triad Dog Toy is great because dogs have to work hard to get the treat out of the pocket, they can chew the thing to their heart’s content and it squeaks. Which is just plain fun.