While you might be tempted to simply hold your puppy on the ride home, it’s not the safest option for the pup or the driver. Purchase a sturdy carrier with ventilated sides and a door that latches shut. The crate should be big enough that your puppy can stand up and turn around. Place an old towel at the bottom of the crate for padding and to soak up any accidents that may happen on the way home. The safest place for the crate will be in the cargo hold of your vehicle or in the back seat, secured to the seat with the safety belt. It’s the safest way to travel, whether on the way home, to pet grooming, or to pet day care and boarding facilities.
Collar and Tags
Your puppy’s first neck-wear can be a simple buckle collar. If you have other collared dogs in the home or a fence on which a collar could easily catch, then a break-away collar is a good option. You may eventually upgrade to a training collar or harness, depending on your pup’s breed and behavior, but a simple collar with an ID tag works well in the beginning. Be sure to include your cell phone number on the tag.
Purchase a short leash in a durable material, one that either clips to your puppy’s collar or slips around its neck independent of the collar. Do not use a retractable leash with a puppy — many trainers argue they should never be used, no matter the age of the dog — as it can encourage pulling.
Your best option for house-training your puppy involves using the crate you purchased for both unsupervised time and sleeping. Place a training pad on the bottom of the crate and the pup on top. Your puppy will not want to go to the bathroom inside the crate, but if an accident happens, simply toss the pad and replace with a fresh one. Whenever you let your pup out of the crate, immediately head outside together for a potty break.
Most stores that offer both information about pets and pet supplies will have a special section dedicated to puppy toys. These toys take into account the size of a puppy and also your pup’s desire to chew. The Kong Puppy Toy in particular makes an excellent chew toy because of its soft rubber. Invest in several toys, but don’t introduce them all at once: puppies like new toys.
Food, Treats and Bowls
Your family veterinarian can point you toward the best food and treats, taking into account your pup’s age and breed. If you do not have a family vet and need help sorting through the many veterinarians in your area, Dex can help. Choose sturdy food and water bowls that can take a knock or two from an enthusiastic eater.
Your puppy will love having a bed to lounge on near all of the action, but keep your pup in the crate for extended sleep time to stay on track with house-training. Also stock up on odor-eliminating spray for accidents in the house. Don’t forget poop bags for walks: responsible dog owners always pick up after their pups.