For most, the day you bring your puppy home is better than birthdays and Christmas combined. For some, you selected your puppy early resulting in a long few weeks of anticipation and impatience as you wait for the 8-week mark.
The substantial excitement surrounding the new arrival of a puppy is often met with some serious spending at the local store. An adorable shopping expedition inclusive of patterned collars, matching bowl sets, plush toys and blankets will no doubt be on the agenda but before you spend your hard earned dollars, it’s also important to note that in coming weeks and months you may be staring down the barrel of expensive bills such as insurance, vetting, training, preventatives and quality food.
We give you the ESSENTIAL Puppy Shopping List:
o A Crate
o A Collar
o A Lead
o Quality Food
o Training Treats
o Placement Training Mat
o Car Restraints
o Brush and Shampoo
1. A Crate for Crate Training
At Found by the Hound, we are strong advocates of Crate Training. We are firm believers that when used correctly, a Crate can be your one of your most useful training tool for both puppies and adult dogs as well as a very effective way to assist with toilet training, assist with separation anxiety concerns and so much more.
Your Crate should be sized so that they have enough room to stand up, lay down and turn around as a full grown adult. You can purchase crates with dividers to make the real estate smaller now and larger as puppy grows.
Crating also ensures safety especially if you are unable to supervise your puppy for short periods throughout the day. As a new owner, you’ll quickly discover that if left to their own devices it will only take a mere moment for a puppy to get into mischief, eat something they shouldn’t, have an accident or injure themselves.
2. A Collar
An item that will no doubt bein your shopping cart is a collar. Though it can be hard to resist, consider functionality, quality and design above aesthetics when selecting a collar. A puppy WILL grow quickly, so ensure your collar can be easily adjusted in size.
A collar is a great training tool and ideal for training. Keep this in mind when perusing collars and harnesses. A collar should be comfortable and safe, consider this before opting for studs or heavy materials.
When puppy comes home, get them used to their collar at your earliest convenience. You may be met with some tantrums but stay strong and they will eventually become accustom to their new accessory. Scratching and itching is the norm for most puppies sporting a collar for the first time. Please resist taking it off if they are scratching at it. This will only teach your puppy that if it scratches, you will always take it off, resulting in an adult dog that will still carry on when a collar is placed on them.
For owners of very small dogs, be wary of purchasing cat collars as an alternative to a dog collar. Cat collars are designed to have a quick release. This means under pressure the collar will just snap open. Puppy owners have been caught out many times thinking their puppy is safe and secure only to have the collar click undone and their puppy run off.
3. A Lead
A quality lead helps maintain control. It also helps promote loose lead walking and assists with shaping and training clear rules and boundaries within the home. It is a shopping-MUST! We recommend a thin, lightweight 6ft lead for use at home to start training. Later, as your puppy grows, you can certainly look at a stronger more durable lead. Under very strict supervision it is great to put the lead on your puppy and allow your puppy to drag it around for a little bit to get used to a small tug here and there.
Retractable leads will not be ideal in this instance. Getting your puppy used to a lead should happen as soon as they come home. Be prepared to endure some resistance from your puppy and remember this is all new to your puppy. You will need to be patient with lead training regardless.
4. Quality Food
A growing puppy has specific nutritional requirements and will need a premium puppy food. Their rapid growth rates when young results in them having different nutritional requirements to their adult counterparts. When selecting a diet for our dogs, we are spoiled for choice. Vets will have their opinion, the breeder will have theirs as will everyone else.
It’s important that you do your own research and make an educated decision. Whether you opt to raw feed, kibble feed or a combination of both, ensure the diet is balanced and of high-quality ingredients.
You will need to introduce any new foods gradually as a sudden change in diet can upset small puppy tummies. Ask your breeder what food they are currently eating and make sure you have it on hand to mix in with their new diet before phasing it out.
You should slowly introduce new foods over a 7-day period.
(Day 1-3 = 75% old food with 25% new food, Day 3-5 = 50% old with 50% new, Day 5-7 25% old food with 75% new food).
5. Training Treats
Training should commence the moment puppy comes home.
This does not mean teaching your puppy to sit the minute you arrive, rather you should start teaching your puppy what is and is not acceptable.
Be selective about the treats you introduce as some can be significantly rich for sensitive puppies. You should also be careful not to over feed your puppy. Often, people give puppies their full meals and then plenty of treats on top of that. Factor your training and treats into your puppy’s daily food values.
Growing, exploring and training is exhausting work. Your puppy will be doing a lot of sleeping so select a durable, size appropriate bed. As comfortable as plush beds may appear, a young puppy may begin to chew. Plush beds often fall victim to sharp puppy teeth hence why a durable alternative would be better suited.
7. Placement Training Mat
Mat Training is something we find exceptionally useful in day-to-day life for a multitude of reasons including keeping dogs calm, ensuring they are not obstructing pathways in the event of an emergency, limiting over excited behaviour when guests arrive and keeping them still when cooking and eating meals.
By implementing Mat training, you can quickly and effectively encourage good indoor manners and help manage and control boisterous and excitable behaviour which is especially common in juvenile dogs.
Remember, with young puppies, their attention span is very limited. Keep your mat sessions very short and simple at the start. As they get older and more mature (and have a longer attention span) you can start to extend your time training.
Being a puppy is hungry business. Typically, a puppy will eat 2-3 times daily and will need plenty of access to water. You will also need to have additional water bowls for outside of the house so that they have access to water when playing in the yard.
Portable bowls and containers can also be purchased to ensure you have water on hand when away from the house.
9. Toys & Chews
Puppies will explore the world around them using their mouths, this can result in chewing on inappropriate items such as furniture and shoes. Ensure you have durable chews as a healthy alternative for chewing tendencies and direct them to this. Puppies will also begin teething and as a result, they will chew to both aid the process and alleviate any pain and discomfort from teething. You can purchase teething specific chews and toys that help to soothe tender gums and provide hours of entertainment.
At Found By The Hound we separate our toys from our chews. A chew is something your puppy can spend time alone with and enjoy at their leisure. A toy is something we play with together.
When selecting chews, make sure you consider suitability for your puppy. Puppies cannot see the hidden dangers with some chews (e.g. trying to swallow a pig ear in one piece, or small pieces of chewed items causing a blockage in their belly).
The first time you give something new to chew on, it is very important to monitor your puppy and make sure they have an item that is suitable for them.
(Be cautious with raw hides the preparation process is full of dangerous chemical exposure).
When selecting toys, consider the functionality and benefits. Toys that enhance training and promote retrieving such as tennis balls and frisbees are great choices.
10. Car Restraints
In recent years, law enforcement has put emphasis on mandatory restraints for pets travelling in a vehicle. If you’re pulled over with an unrestrained dog in your car or worse, on your lap, you may be facing a hefty fine.
In conjunction with accumulated demerit points and some serious dollars, safety for both your puppy, yourself and other people on the road is of the upmost importance and will be jeopardised if a rambunctious puppy has the ability to move freely through the car causing distraction. Not to mention what would happen to your beloved pet should you be involved in an accident with no restraints.
Crate Travel is the safest option for travel in a car but if that is not possible, a harness is another alternative and can save a life.
11. Brush and Shampoos
It is safe to assume that throughout the course of your puppy’s life, they will be bathed and brushed.
Getting puppy used to this activity from an early age can help in the future. Brushing and shampooing is obviously important for hygiene purposes and beginning this as early as possible will be beneficial, so it does not cause added stress as they grow.
Be careful not to shampoo your puppies too often as it can strip the natural oils from their coat when can lead to skin problems. You can rinse with water often but only shampoo once every 2 weeks at the most. Otherwise you may leave your puppy vulnerable to poor skin and coat conditions.
OTHER ITEMS YOU COULD INCLUDE
o A Long Training Lead
o Nail Clippers
o Waste Bags
o Outdoor Elevated Bed
We strongly recommend taking your puppy to a Puppy Kindy course. The Found By The Hound Puppy Kindy Course is designed to assist your puppy in learning important lifelong social skills, therefore making it one of the most important things you will do when training your puppy.
Don’t wait to start looking for classes. Many puppy kindy providers will limit number and have age restrictions and you may miss out if you leave it too late. The ideal age for puppy Kindy is between 8 weeks and 16 weeks of age.