It’s nearing March and as the weather warms many people start thinking about getting a fuzzy, cute, little addition for the family! Yes, it’s almost puppy season. We brought our first dog/puppy, Moose, home last April when he was just 7 weeks old.
For personal reasons we bought him through an established breeder of the American Kennel Club + Australian Shepherd Club of America. (We’re all for rescue as well as supporting quality breeders!)
Before I start my checklist, I want you to know what our intentions/goals for our dog were/are so you can see what our big picture is as well as take anything I say with a grain of salt :)
Our goal was/is to train a respectful, fun-loving, well mannered dog that can live a vibrant life with us and our family! We believe that in order to train him we needed to earn his trust + love with encouragement, cookies, positive socializing, and help in figuring out the rules and following through with those rules. Not with yelling, harsh discipline, or confusing rules/inconsistent training.
With that as our (personal, though may also be yours!) perspective in mind here’s a New Puppy Checklist to help you plan for your newest fuzzy family addition!
Our puppy kindergarten experience was, well completely adorable, but also SO very helpful! You’re puppy does not come pre-programmed with sit, down, + stay. The process of teaching them these desired traits can be made so much easier and quicker by going to a group class with a trainer whose knowledge of puppy + dog behavior is almost Buddha like. Plus, you’ll probably have a million questions during the first couple weeks at home phase that they will help you through so kindly that you’ll want to cry and hug them. They challenge you with homework + tips that train YOU how to train your puppy. We’ve gone back for more + more classes because it is really that beneficial + fun. Here’s the site & classes we’ve gone through if you’re interested in learning more!
Now I want to share with you my new puppy shopping guide to get you + your home set for your new little pal! I’ve numbered the items according to how necessary they’ve been to us!
- Midwest Life Stages Double-Door Folding Metal Dog Crate: This is the crate we used to sleep/crate train our pup in. We bought the size that would fit him when he was full grown. This crate comes with a divider that you can use to change the amount of space your pup sleeps in. The bottom tray comes out for easy washing which is so nice if your pup ever gets sick. This is THE most important thing we bought because we used it daily to train Moose to sleep peacefully and fully. At 8 weeks old your puppy needs 18-22 hours of GOOD, uninterrupted sleep a day to grow strong + healthy.
- Midwest Exercise Pen: If you do not want your house to get chewed up or pooped in by your puppy, give him a smaller space to play in. He doesn’t own your house, you do. The more chances he has to roam, tear, chew, and poop where he shouldn’t the harder it will be to train him not to do those things. This fence has helped SO much with all the above! Easy to use, tall, folds to the size you need, and provides a perfect barricade.
- Dog Bed: Get it wherever! I found the cutest herringbone patterned beds at Ross so we got a great price for a cute bed! Our pup loves his bed and has even started learning how to share it..
- Petmate Pet Porter 2 Kennel: This is our travel crate. You could also just use your other crate in the car if it fits. I wanted to have one at home and one in or ready to go in the car. Puppies are nightmares to drive with in the front seat until they get out of the biting phase. A travel kennel is safer for them and you. Plus, if they get filthy, your car doesn’t. I use this all the time in the wet months. I can fit one carseat next to it in the backseat of our Toyota Camry.
- Medium Chew-proof Indoor Tether: Puppies are hard to calm down when they get over tired (yes, just like kiddos!) This tether is the perfect tool to help them calm down and fall peacefully asleep. Guarantee it will speed up your obedience training and stop them from creating too much trouble. (Look at that little bear cub!!xoxo)
- KONG Medium Plush Dog Toy: Before your puppy starts teething and tearing all soft toys to pieces, get him a special friend to cuddle with in his sleeping crate. Associating this special toy with his crate time will make crate training easier and he’ll soon be dragging his buddy out to play with.
- Petsafe Treat Pouch Sport: Start positively training your pup right away by strapping his treats (we just used his food) around your waist in the house and when you go places. Whenever he sees something new give him treats to make positive correlations with his environment. In the house give him a treat every time he responds to his name. In the yard give him a treat every time he relieves himself. I still take this pouch everywhere for continual training!
- Four Paws Grass Wire Rake Dog Scooper: Do yourself a favor and get this before your puppy. I don’t know why I waited so long! Shovels suck. Haha. And our poor pup had a lot of –errr– bowl issues do to worms + diet in the first 6 months, that this rake helps SO much with. Yah. It’s cheap, works great, and only needs one hand for multiple pick ups before bagging it.
- Grannick’s Bitter Apple for Dogs Spray Bottle: Prevent chewing before it begins. Spray this natural bitter spray on the rug or table leg to make your pup go “ick!” (Disclaimer: some dogs actually love it..) We didn’t have much of a chewer, but did use this a few times! For us, the fence + tether will saved our furniture the absolute most during teething & general puppiness. If they get away with chewing while you’re not watching, it’s a reward in and of itself to the puppy. Staying a step ahead of them is the way to go.
- KONG Wobbler Treat Dispensing Dog Toy: Stimulate your puppies brain + legs whenever you can! Make him work to get his food by putting it in one of these. It paces eating and keeps them busy for 20 min or so. We love using this for most every meal + the pup loves it!
- KONG Air Dog Squeakair Birthday Balls Dog Toy: This little squeaker balls are great for getting your puppies attention and running around for the 10 minutes of gusto he has in the yard. Our squeakers died after a year, but not for lack of use :)
- HydroSurge Pro Nourish Cologne, Coconut Verbena + Earthbath All Natural Dog Shampoo, Oatmeal & Aloe: The breeder recommended both of these to us and they get great use! Puppy cologne may sound funny, but it’s a great way to get them smelling good for company and it lasts for a few days. (However, I do love that puppy smell :))
Not listed above is a good chew object like an antler which our dog LOVES, poop bags and tug toy! Like us, you can get all of these items directly off Amazon.
Puppies are adorable, fun, and, thank God, turn into adult dogs one day. I hope these guides will help you prepare well for your new family member! Let me know if you have any questions about puppy training while they’re fresh in my mind :) I’m no expert, but we’ve learned a lot in the past year and are still practicing everyday. I’d love to help if I can! Check the training site I listed above for more tips! Can’t wait to hear about your new friend!