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Shopping List and Planning for the Perfect Dog

Shopping List and Planning for the Perfect Dog

by Beth Ostrowski-Parks, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA
"Starting off right" is always helpful when you begin your journey with your new puppy or dog. Because of that and possible confusion over what to buy while shopping, I wanted to give you a little help figuring out what to get.
There are so many possible items available, it can get a little confusing. Let's break it down.

Here are some great choices to help you make those decisions even easier. You want:

  • dog bowl (ceramic or stainless steel)
  • dog food (there are a lot of great ones out there.  Be aware that not all dogs do well on ALL foods)
    The best determination of how good a food is:  Read the first three ingredients.  You're looking for meat or meat meal, barley or brown Rice.  Avoid ground yellow corn and wheat.  These are just low-grade fillers!  (Here is another article to help you make dog food purchase decisions)
  • dog treats
    training treats, should be nutritious, avoid anything from the grocery store
  • treat bag (to carry your treats in while out and about with your dog)
    This can be an old "fanny pack" or you can get a treat bag here at It's PAWSible!  A good treat bag has a belt as well as a clip to hold the bag in place, it's big enough to get your hand in, and it should have a closing mechanism (ours have magnets) so your treats don't fall out when you are moving around.  If you are taking your puppy or dog anywhere, bring your treat bag!  You want to have a way to distract your dog but more importantly, you want a way to reinforce good behavior! 
  • dog beds
    right now dog beds are for sleeping in the crate at night and for training.  Most puppies will destroy a dog bed if it's just out on the floor right now.  Of course that is not something you want your puppy to learn to do.  It seems like at night most puppies will not destroy their beds but if you try to use one during the day, it may turn into a great toy!  I use towels in the crate at first.  If the puppy starts to chew up the towel, I recommend, for now, not having a bed in the crate, at least during the day.
  • dog toys
    hard nylabones, tug toys, squeeky toys, the possibilities are endless.  Just monitor your dog around soft toys so that they don't swallow stuffing or squeakers
  • some chew toys
    when you join class you and your pup will be introduced to the BEST puppy pacifiers!  Right now they have sharp puppy teeth and they need to be able to chew and shred.  For chew toys you have dried tendons, bully sticks and some new natural rawhide products.  Always supervise your dog when he is chewing on any of these items. 
  • crates
    I always recommend at least 2 crates.  One in your bedroom (if that's where you want your puppy to sleep and one in the busy room of the house for boundary training.) 
  • leash
    you'll buy so many of these over the next few years!
  • collar
    you'll also buy many of these!
  • small dog biscuits--for "crate up!" 
    Give a small bisquit every time you put your puppy in the crate.
  • brush or rake or pin brush
    depending on breed, but all dogs need to get brushed or handled at some point so this is something to start working on!
  • nature's miracle--for cleaning up housetraining accidents (vinegar and water works great too)
  • baby gates (depending on home and plan)
  • journal or paper to put on fridge to keep track of potty trips.  It's always nice for the family to have a way to keep track of what happened when!

what you really don't need:  

  • edible nylabones --these are scary to me.  Dog's eat them so fast!  Check the ingredients...
  • pee pads--this is something you will have to fad out later, why use them? 
  • exercise pen--these are okay at times, but the crate is the best place in the beginning to keep your puppy.  They respect it more.  Most puppies won't jump up on the side of a crate, but puppies will frequently jump up on an ex-pen.  That you DON'T want.  If your puppy learns to crawl over a baby gate or ex-pen, that will affect your dog's thought process on confinement for life!
  • advice!  You will find that everyone and their brother and sister will try to tell you what you should do with your puppy. I hope, if you work with me that you will trust that I'm giving you not only book knowledge but LOTS of experience knowledge.  Over 25 years of it!  Bad advice will hurt your relationship with you dog.  Please remember that.

I hope this article helps you with your planning process. Even if you've already gotten that new puppy, it's okay to take inventory on what you have, what you need and what you want for your puppy!