If you are getting a puppy, you are going to need stuff! I bought boatloads of stuff, and not all of it was good/helpful. A lot of it ended up sitting unused in the house or out in the garage. I tried to get things that I saw listed in the books about raising a puppy…but have you seen those puppy supplies checklists? OMG. It’s everything under the sun, and vague suggestions at the same time. For example, “your puppy will need a crate, so get one the correct size, not too big and just enough room to stand up/turn around”. Or something like that. That didn’t help me at all. So I got a $25 plastic portable crate for Sam that he fit into for about 4 weeks…but I wasn’t sure what else to do. The lists said the kinds of items to get, but not what to get. I needed specifics! So I’m going to help you. From my vast (ha!) experience in this area, the list below shows the items that I have personally used with the Dos Doodles. You can tell from the pictures scattered about on this blog that my boys seem to be relatively happy (wink wink) and are healthy….hey, they made it to adulthood, so that’s a good sign. These are the products I’ve liked the best. I’ll answer any questions you have…just let me know. In the meantime, I’ll give you a link to each of these things so you don’t have to go looking for them and give you my thoughts about why I’d recommend them.
The Crate Ah, the all important crate! Yes, you are going to need one. One. Get yourself one of these well-built wire crates with the divider that you move back as your puppy grows. Pups need to feel cozy and safe in their crate, so having it all open usually doesn’t really do it. Just throw a towel or cover over the top—and be sure to put stuff behind the divider so it’s cozy and more cave-like for pupster—you’ll be good to go. These crates also fold down flat, so they are good for travel.
Stuff To Go With The Crate A couple of things. My doodles tend to run a bit warm, so they don’t always prefer to have a pad to sleep on. This was especially true of Luke. I put a pad in his crate and he’d dig it over to a corner and then sleep on the plastic tray that makes the floor of the crate. So then I got him a Cool Bed which he seemed to like a lot better. But I was still worried that at some point he might get a little too cool, so I still put a folded towel in there so he could lay on that if he wanted to. He never did. He’d dig that thing into a ball and use it like a pillow. My suggestion? No pad. Just a Cool Bed with a folded up old towel you can just throw in the wash every few days with whatever else you might have going in. As for the pen pictured here…we set ours up so that it was kind of an extension of the crate. We arranged the pen panels so it created a long rectangle with an open end. The open end was placed at the front of the crate, so the whole thing created a long rectangle, with the crate (long wise) at one end and the short end of the ex-pen on the other end. Worked great, and not too expensive!
Gotta Have Toys It goes with out saying: puppies need toys! Here are the ones that I think are the essentials. First, I love this bone shaped plush toy. It is perfect for chewing on, squeaking and it’s a great pillow. Luke still has his and he likes to sleep with it now and then. The puppy Kong. Everyone talks about these things and I agree that they are truly indispensable. You can teach your pup to get their kibble from it, you can stuff it with treats and peanut butter, you can stuff it with yogurt and peanut butter and freeze it to make a Popsicle. The possibilities are limited only by what you can fit into it! Love the puppy Kong. Nylabones are great. Now, I’ve recently heard some things about maybe they are not “the best” or something. Perhaps your dog can chip a tooth, something like that. I haven’t done a lot of research on this. I will say that my dogs chew on hard sticks, antlers, and other tough stuff and haven’t had a problem. And they love their Nylabones. I get them started early. Here’s a good starter pack…in fact, that’s what they call it! This is truly a last-but-not-least, save-the-best-for-last item. Bully sticks. I cannot overstate the value of having bully sticks at your disposal. Dogs love love love them. They smell bad and they are truly disgusting. But boy-o-boy do they work! I recommend using them right away with pupster in terms of making going into their crate a wonderful thing. That’s what I would do with both Sam and Luke. Into the crate equals get a delicious bully stick. And when they are really little, those bully sticks last forever! Get yourself some bully sticks–well, not actually for you, but you will see…these things work magic. Treats! Ok, now I’m going to solve a lot of problems for you. When you are training your puppy, you are going to need some extra-special treats that get and hold their attention. You are going to need a lot of treats. Many, many treats. The little pre-formed ones you can buy are great and convenient, but they also cost a lot. Instead, you can cut up bits of cheese or hot dog, but those are really messy and I don’t think they are so good for the pup, either. That’s just a lot of fat and other stuff. My solution? Get a Natural Balance solid food roll. You can slice it and then cut it into little bits, and the dogs love this stuff. Works great for treats. If you get the huge roll, you can freeze it in large chunks and then just thaw what you need. I use the lamb or beef because the doods have sensitive stomachs and don’t react well to some poultry. Highly recommend.
Wrangle Your Puppy Don’t spend a ton of money right now on cool accessories like collars and leashes! They will either grow out of them or eat them! Buy a $5-6 collar like I have pictured here. You will probably have to start out with an extra small and then graduate to a medium in a couple of months. Pup is going to be so fluffy, you won’t see the collar much anyway! Just pick a color you like and be done with it for now. There’s plenty of time later to get that awesome Dean & Tyler collar! Get one of these chain leashes. Your pup can’t eat it and it makes a perfect way to station your pup with you and you won’t have to worry about the destructo gnawing machine on the end of it. I love this little harness, too. It helped me finally establish a foothold in getting Sam to stop pulling on the leash. He’s dedicated to moving ahead at full speed. This really helped me get him trained not to do that where so many other no-fail techniques did, in fact, fail. So these are the items I really found to be indispensable. That’s not to say that I don’t personally own overflowing baskets of toys, balls, tugs, bones, frisbees and other random items designed to entertain the Doods. So, if you are like me you are going to indulge the living daylights out of your pup. But you still need to know you have the essential gear. Hopefully this helps you to know you got the stuff you really need…then you will be free to get all the stuff you want to spoil your own Dood!