The following article provides A checklist to prepare you for bringing your new puppy home. If this is the first time you have gotten a dog, or if this is the first time in a long time since you’ve had a dog, you’re probably wondering what it’s like to own a dog on a day-to-day basis.
New Puppy Shopping Checklist:
Your new puppy needs to be groomed at least once or twice a week. Even the hairless Chinese Crested needs special attention (sunblock, for one thing!). There are special brushes and combs for every type of coat. Most puppies will shed their puppy coat as the adult one grows in.
This shedding causes mats (clumps of hopelessly tangled hair) in longhaired dogs—and speckled furniture and people’s clothing from shorthaired dogs. Definitely, your dog needs a brush!
He will also need to have his nails clipped. There are two types of nail trimmers: one uses a scissors action, the other is grimly referred to as a guillotine clipper. Choose whichever one you find comfortable to handle. Either one does the job.
New Puppy Shopping Checklist: Toys
The most important item on your shopping list, at least according to your dog, is an assortment of appropriate toys—appropriate for his size, age, and personal preferences. Safe, fun, interactive doggy toys abound. If your new puppy is your “only child,” you’ll be tempted to buy one of each.
When you come home with a shopping bag full, give the puppy just one or two, possibly add a third layer, and save the rest for another day.
Variety is the spice of life, and that also applies to dog toys. Every few days, you can add a new one and subtract an oldie, but always let the favorite toy remain as puppy’s “security blanket.”
One good interactive toy is the red, hard rubber, beehive-shaped Kong that bounces erratically when dropped. The pup will soon learn to drop it and make it bounce by himself.
There are several shapes and sizes, including ones made so that tiny treats can be stuffed inside—making it a good toy for a home alone pup. Have fun!
Keeping Puppy Confined
You will need something called an exercise pen, or ex-pen (read: playpen) if your puppy cannot be confined to the kitchen or other safe area using a baby gate.
The ex-pen will keep your puppy safe and in one place, but it also gives him room to play and access to water and enables him to see what’s going on around him and to use newspapers if he’s a latchkey pet with no one home during the day to take him outside. Do not enclose your pup behind a solid door, because that isolates him from your family and is like banishment.
You’ll find good old baby gates sold in pet supply stores as “pet gates.” Choose one that fits your doorway securely, is high enough that the pup can’t easily jump over it, and is constructed so the pup won’t be encouraged to try his climbing techniques. Some are irresistibly chewable, but not if they are first sprayed with a taste deterrent such as Bitter Apple.
You’ll also need to keep your puppy confined while he’s in the car, so he doesn’t plop himself into your lap or try to slither under your feet while you are driving.
The canine seat belt is the latest car safety feature and is a worthwhile investment if you don’t have room in your car for a crate. (Never leave any dog in any car in warm weather for any length of time. Heatstroke is rapid and fatal.)
When your puppy is older, a back-seat barrier will keep a large dog safely in the back seat of a car or in the rear of an SUV or station wagon.
Choosing the right Crate for your Puppy
Your puppy needs a crate. It is a puppy’s bed of choice, a private, personal, snug den where your dog can sleep, chew a toy, and watch the world around him, completely undisturbed. (This is an important aspect of your puppy’s life)
Crates come in two styles: closed (fiberglass) or open (wire)—each type has pluses and minuses. The closed crate is draft-proof and more portable, but some pups (and their owners) want to be able to see more of the world around them.
The open variety offers this visibility, but most dogs like their open crate to be covered at bedtime. It is also difficult to transport when it is set up. Either type must be placed away from drafts and sources of heat or air-conditioning. Regardless of which style you decide on, it’s important to get the correct size.
This is not a puppy playroom or a canine condo. It is basically a bed, and the pup will curl up in about one-third of the space. Consider the adult size of your pup and get a crate that will allow him to stand up, turn around, and lie down.
How to Pick the Right Crate for Your Dog
A bigger crate will enable your puppy to the soil in the crate and then get far away from it—exactly what you don’t want because you will be using the crate as a housetraining tool.
If the right size crate gives him more space than he needs for the next couple of months, add an adjustable barrier to block off part of the back of the crate; as the pup grows, it can be removed.
For large breeds, it may be wiser to have a crate size suitable for a puppy up to 6 months of age, and then get another adult-size crate that will last the dog a lifetime. (Some breeders will lend you a puppy crate. Check it out.)
The best bedding in the crate is a folded bath towel. It’s washable or disposable—accidents happen in the best of homes. If you want a fancy, cuddly doggy bed for your adorable puppy, fine, but in the beginning use it just for occasional (supervised) naps in the family room, not while housetraining or for overnight. Puppies teethe, and so they chew on everything. Dog beds are no exception.
What You Will Need?
All of the items I have mentioned in this article are available at your local pet supply store or through pet supply catalogs and Web sites.
There are also some things you, as the owner of a new puppy, will need: a good veterinarian; books and instructional videos about your chosen breed (or dogs in general); the names of a dog trainer who teaches puppy kindergarten classes, a professional pet sitter, an accredited boarding kennel, and a highly recommended groomer.
If you have a backyard, you also need a fence. The style can be geared to your home, but you definitely must consider what will be safe and secure, given the dog’s adult size and temperament.
If full fencing is not possible, consider a dog run for those dark and stormy nights and crack-of-dawn days when the dog has to go out and you’d rather be indoors.
Free-standing dog runs are available that can be dismantled and taken along with you if you move. It won’t take the place of the daily walks and playtime needed for healthy physical and mental exercise, but it is a great convenience.
What else will you need to handle your new puppy? Patience and a sense of humor. Make sure you have plenty of both!
The following article: “Cost of Owning a Dog” is a list of potential costs you might face in the first year.