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I Got a Puppy! Here are My Must-Have Puppy Items

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Because I’m certifiably crazy or a masochist, I decided it would be a good idea to add a puppy to our circus. Whazza, whazza, whaaaaa???!!!

Ever since our dear Toby died about five months ago, things just haven’t been the same in our house. Don’t get me wrong, it was kind of nice having just one dog, and she’s very well behaved, but it was clear she needed a companion. She spent all day and night laying around sleeping. In the process, she gained almost ten pounds! Me and baby girl got trim down a little.

I’ve been stalking a dozen or so dog rescue groups and shelters and saw an adorable dog flash on my Facebook feed about a week ago. He was so cute – a mix of Chihuahua and Dachshund. He was small like my husband was wanting, and young. He seemed perfect.

I quickly filled out and submitted an application for him, and less than an hour later a nice lady called me to let me know I was approved. He was located at a small humane society in Kansas, about a two hours’ drive away. I wouldn’t be able to get down to see him for a few days, so they held him for me.

Saturday rolled around and me, my mom, our resident dog, and my four year old piled into the car for a little day trip to potentially meet our new dog and bring him home.

I was worried about how our dog Joey would react. She’s selective of dogs and I’ve never had a small dog, so I didn’t know how it would go with our 60 pound girl.

It turns out that tiny little dog wasn’t a fan of our big girl. I was disappointed but not entirely surprised. I was ready to get back in the car to head home empty handed when one of the shelter ladies asked if I’d be interested in another puppy who would be about 30-40 pounds. This was a larger dog than my husband was wanting, but I decided to look anyway since I had made the trip.

And it was love at first sight for both me and our dog Jo.

Joey and our puppy, Coco, getting introduced at the shelter

They brought out this little black and white girl who was wagging her long, skinny tail and peeing everywhere in excitement.

Jo’s demeanor did a complete 180. She was wagging her little nub of a tail and sniffing and wanting to play with the little pup, who was about 17 pounds.

I knew she’d be coming home with us. My son loved playing with all the toys with her and she loved him right back. It was clear she was the one we had been waiting for.

Coco in her favorite spot on the couch

Yet, when bringing home a puppy or any new animal to your home, you can’t stop your stomach from flopping around and guessing whether you are making a huge mistake. Change is hard. And she was a puppy at just four months old.

It had been well over ten years since I had dealt with raising a puppy, but it is just like riding a bike. Housetraining, chewing, and obedience training has given me a new little project.

I decided to put together this list of must-haves for anyone considering getting a puppy or just brought home their new addition.

Chew Toys

Just like a teething baby, puppies like to chew. ON. EVERYTHING. Except dog babies have razor-sharp dagger teeth. When bringing home a young puppy, make sure your house is stocked with a variety of toys, some specifically designed for them to chew on. And remove any items in your home that you don’t want them to destroy – like shoes. We have moved all of our shoes out of her reach to keep her from chewing on them. This helps eliminate the bad habit of chewing on your stuff and not making a game of chasing your puppy down to snatch it from their grasp.

I ordered this chew toy that is specifically designed for puppy chewing. It’s small and a softer material that the regular hard plastic bones. Both my new puppy and my older resident dog LOVE it. But note, it is designed for puppies and NOT large dogs who are strong chewers. My older dog has chewed off one end already, so we have to monitor when the puppy plays with it.

This teether is actually one designed for a baby, but I had it in my cupboard and it was no longer being used so I decided the puppy could have it. And she loves it! The wood ring is perfect for her to sink her puppy teeth in, and the cloth is added fun. Puppies love wood since it is softer than hard plastic – think table legs and baseboards they love to chew on. Since it isn’t a puppy specific toy, I monitor her closely when she chews on it, but so far she hasn’t destroyed it. There are bite marks in the wood, and the cloth has held up nicely.

Kong toys are also great options for a dog of any age. They are fun to stuff with treats to provide a little bit of stimulation and play to your pup. They are also great for sticking in the freezer to give your teething puppy something cool to chew on. These small Kongs are designed just for puppies and come in cute baby colors!

Sleeping Arrangements

Unless you want your puppy to sleep in bed with you or on the couch, you need a comfy place for them to lie down.

Our puppy was used to having a dog bed in her foster home, and she loves lying there often during the day.

This bed is perfect for her size, comfortable, and is machine washable! Even better, it fits perfectly in her kennel, so she has a nice soft bed to sleep and relax on when she is crated.

We happened to still have a kennel from our other dog, but this one by AmazonBasics is similar and at a great price. All the dogs I’ve ever had have been crate trained, and my older dog still loves spending time in her kennel. A crate with a comfy bed and some toys helps make a puppy feel safe and secure, and keeps them from destroying your home when you’re sleeping or away.

Fine Dining

Puppies love to eat. And they’re growing little bodies need good food to restore their energy. I’m a huge fan of Taste of the Wild dog food. It was one of the only brands I could feed my older dog, Toby, that wouldn’t upset his stomach and calmed his allergies. It’s high quality food, so I wanted the best for our new puppy too. I’ve tried a variety of flavors in the adult food, but the salmon I think remains the favorite in our household.

Elevated food bowls are good for a puppy’s spine and digestive system. The elevated feeder below is great for your growing puppy, as it adjust to three heights.

Training

Since I’ve been an adult, I’ve never had a young puppy. Both of my previous dogs were closer to a year or older when I got them and already had some bad habits that proved to be unbreakable. I wanted to get my puppy off to a good start behaviorally, so I’ve been working every day on training her. Socialization to other dogs, people, and places, and basic obedience is very important to me for our new puppy. And with training comes some needed supplies. Most dogs are strongly food motivated, so training treats are a must have. I love these from Blue Buffalo. They are a good size and must be tasty!

Along with using command words like “come” and “sit,” I’ve also been using a clicker to help train our puppy. This gives them another sound to associate a command with. I love this clicker because it has a little strap that goes around your finger, so it just lays nicely in your palm while you are working with your pup.

And of course you can’t do any training outside your home without a collar and leash! Dogs should have a six foot leash, NOT a retractable one! I personally hate retractable leashes and avoid anyone who uses them. They’re terrible, especially for larger dogs. You as the owner need to be in control of your dog, and a retractable leash just doesn’t let you do that. This leash is a basic six foot leash and perfect for training.

More than anything, a puppy needs love and patience. Give them time to adjust to your home and your family. New surroundings can be exciting and scary, and they are learning what you expect of them. Make sure you give them enough play time during the day to burn off some of that envious puppy energy and you will have a companion for life!

Just doing some work with a puppy on my lap

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