Tell someone you are about to get a puppy and chances are you’ll get some “Wow, are you ready for that?” types of responses. And here’s the thing: it’s usually the dog lovers, the ones who’ve been through the puppy phase themselves, who react like this. The truth is, bringing home a new puppy can be a lot of work. Of course it is also incredibly fun and rewarding. Maybe that’s why the latest American Pet Products Association survey found that nearly 50 percent of all U.S. households own a dog.
The key to having a positive puppy-raising experience is to make sure you start off with a few essential items. Oh, and a good attitude. And patience. But I can’t help you there. So back to the items. Of course you’ll need puppy food and since the choices vary greatly based on breed and personal preference, we haven’t included that in this list. What we have included are some basic items to help you provide a warm, welcoming environment for your new pup while also giving you some tools to start training him and reinforcing positive behavior. And remember, the good attitude and patience are on you!
I prefer a harness to a collar for puppy training. This one slides on and off easily and is made of soft mesh padding. It comes in five sizes and four colors.
The Food & Water Bowls
These bowls fit into a silicone mat that keeps them from skidding on the floor and flipping over. It also catches spills so your floors stay clean. The bowls and mat are all dishwasher safe.
Professional trainers recommend a crate to create a safe, comfortable environment for your new puppy while also preventing them from getting into mischief when you’re not home. This one is easy to set up and comes in five sizes — all but the x-small include a divider panel to adjust the size. Add a crate pad or blanket to provide extra comfort.
The Chew Toy
Kong makes a variety of chew toys of different shapes, sizes, and firmness. This one is made for puppies and it’s shaped like a pacifier — how can you resist?
The Comfort Toy
I thought this sounded a bit “extra,” if you will — until I watched my puppy snuggle into it. The stuffed animal comes with a small plastic red heart that pulses when turned on, mimicking a real heartbeat. I think this is a must have if you are bringing home a dog that is being separated from its mother and litter mates, to reduce its anxiety and provide comfort. It also comes with a single-use heat pack that keeps the toy warm for 24 hours — and you can purchase additional heat packs for continued use.
The Training Treats
Small treats are a must-have when trying to teach your puppy simple commands such as come, sit, and stay. These are made with healthy ingredients like oats, rice, and peanut butter and come in a convenient resealable bag.
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