- Crate. It’s highly recommended that you crate train your puppy. Your puppy will enjoy being in a safe enclosed space at night and when you are out of the house. We recommend a small crate for the new puppy so that it feels cozy and safe. When your puppy outgrows the first crate, then you can skip up to the full size crate that your dog will need as an adult.
- Bedding for the crate. Your old blankets and towels – especially if they still smell like you – are great for your puppy. He’ll feel close to you when he’s sleeping on them. If you do buy bedding for the crate, buy something that’s easy to wash in your washing machine.
- Beds. If you are not going to let your puppy on the furniture, you should buy your puppy a dog bed and place it near where you spend most of your time in the house. If you let your puppy on the furniture, you might want to wait on the dog bed to see what kind and where you might want to put it. Dogs like beds that have walls and that they can curl up in.
- Food. You want a high quality puppy food that is appropriate for your dog’s breed size. You might also want to talk to your vet about what they recommend. Dog Food Advisor provides a list of all the ingredients of most major brands. We feed our current puppy Nutrisource Large Breed Chicken/Rice Puppy Food.
- Bowls. You’ll want good sturdy bowls for food and water that can be washed in the dishwasher. We live in a cold climate so we also bought a heated outdoor bowl for outside play time.
- Collar & Leash. If you are going to take your puppy out, you’ll want a collar and leash. (Note that your vet might recommend waiting until your puppy has a certain amount of vaccinations before you take your puppy out.) Buy an adjustable collar, as they’ll outgrow them quickly! You should always be able to slip a couple of fingers between the collar and your puppy’s neck but too much room and they’ll be able to slip out of them.
- Toys. You will want to have a lot of toys ready. That way, whenever your puppy grabs something he shouldn’t chew on (like your $100 headset), you can hand him one of his own toys in exchange. You can buy a lot of fun dog toys. They are probably important if you are going to leave your puppy unattended with the toys as they are safe to be chewed up. However, puppies are like babies and find things like the boxes the toys came in as much fun as the toy. So your puppy will probably discover their own toys and it’s up to you whether you let them play with them (cardboard boxes) or you don’t (socks and shoes). If you decide to buy a toy, the two we’ve found most fun lately are Hide-A-Squirrel and treat balls. Plus a tug toy is always fun. Play with your dog and discover what they like!
- Treats. Everyone will want to give your puppy a treat – you included! Start with small treats so that you can reward lots of good behavior!