Finding the perfect products for your puppy can be a blast — and there are plenty of them to choose from. Walk through any pet boutique, big-box retailer or department store, and you’ll see aisles of premium foods and treats, plush beds, toys of every shape and size, and even doggy haute couture. It will be tempting to splurge on your new dog. To begin with, however, pick up these items to make your pup’s homecoming a smooth one.
1. Collar & leash
Your puppy will need a collar and leash the day you bring her home. A collar — plain or fancy — holds your pup’s dog license and identification tag, which lists your name and phone number. The collar attaches to the leash, which you will need to walk your pup.
For your dog’s first few collars, pick up an adjustable nylon type with a two-piece buckle. The collar should fit snugly so it won’t slip off, but should not be too tight; you should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and the pup’s neck. As your pup gets older, you can expect to buy several collars as she outgrows them.
The leash, which attaches to the collar, gives you control during walks or obedience training. The leash should be strong and well made, as should the hardware that links the leash to the collar. For your comfort, the leash should also have a loop that is easy to grip. Plan to use a shorter 4-foot leash with your puppy at first; when you enroll in obedience training, you’ll use longer leashes.
2. Crates and containment
A must for any puppy owner, crates and containment devices keep your new pal in a confined area where you can monitor and housetrain him. You will need a dog crate or carrier, and an exercise pen, playpen, or gate when you bring your pup home.
Hard-sided crates and travel carriers are made from a variety of materials, including stainless steel, plastic, and fiberglass. Though the stainless steel crates will last a lifetime, the lightweight plastic and fiberglass varieties provide a measure of safety and security for your puppy while driving or flying. They also replicate a cozy, warm den — especially when you outfit it with a soft bed or blanket.
When choosing a crate or carrier, make sure that your pup can stand up, lie down, turn around, and stretch inside. Though dogs prefer to have a close-in den-like space, they also need room — but not too much — to feel comfortable.
If you are unable to keep a watchful eye on your puppy, you may also wish to purchase a pen or some baby gates to keep him corralled. Exercise pens are a set of portable wire panels that confine your pup to a specific area. You can adjust them to fit just about any space. Baby gates, which are used to cordon off restricted areas, prevent him from roaming where he shouldn’t.