Essential Puppy Care and Training

By Valerie Uccellani

Time to go shopping for puppy supplies – what you need before he/she comes home

A trip to a pet emporium can make your head spin with possibilities, but you’ll need essential, such as a crate. The wisest buy is a wire crate with an adjustable divider so you can give your dog more room as she/he grows. They need bedding for the crate, but don’t buy lavish bed because you risk a teething puppy shredding it. A baby gate be handy, too.

Get separate water and food bowls instead of the ones sold in pairs because food can easily foul the water in side-by-side bowls. Stainless steel and ceramic are a better choice than plastic, which can be chewed up and may also cause a skin reaction. To acclimate your puppy to him/her crate, consider a hard rubber toy you can stuff with food or treats. Puppies need to chew. The best commercial chewies are nylon or rubber bones. These are a better choice than raw hides, which can be chewed apart and swallowed, causing possible choking or impaction.

Until you know your puppy chewing style-dainty or power chewer-avoid toys that can be decimated and swallowed. She/he will need an adjustable collar that can grow with her. If he/she has very short fur,avoid the cheap nylon collars, which have hard edges, and choose cotton webbing or leather. You will need a lightweight 6 foot leash, and again cotton or leather is a more hands-friendly choice.

Because you want her/him to get used to being handled and groomed right away, buy a dog brush and some good nail clipper. If you plan on brushing her/him teeth, get a puppy toothbrush and toothpaste, too. Decide what she will eat and buy food and treats. Finally, stock up on paper towels and pet strain clean up supplies.

Puppy Supplies Tips:


  • Buy only a buckle collar for a puppy, never a chain or choke collar.
  • Get an inexpensive, comfortable adjustable collar. You won’t be using it for very long because she will grow out of it within a couple of months.
  • A lightweight leash is better than a big, heavy one. Make sure it feels comfortable in your hand. It won’t hurt to buy a 20 to 30 foot cotton training line now, too.


  • Grooming tools-at least a soft brush and a pair of nail clippers are important because you can get her/him used to being groomed right from the start.
  • If she/he is very small, human fingernail clippers will work fine for her/him nails.
  • Short haired dogs shed sometimes worse than long-haired dogs.
  • If you buy shampoo, get a very mild one and make sure it’s ok for puppies.


  • Take a list when you go shopping. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re in the store.
  • Don’t go overboard on toys and chewies and make sure the ones you get are safe, especially for power chewer puppies.
  • A pet store is the best place to buy clean up supplies. You’ll find a wide range of odor and stain control products.


  • Weighted water bowls are good idea because many puppies like to play with the water and tip over bowls. Hanging a water bucket hung from the side of a crate (inside or out) or putting a large clean rock into the bowl will prevent this as well.
  • Often puppies will be sent home with a bag of what ever they’ve been eating so far, but stock up anyway.
  • Choose treats wisely You’ll be going through a lot for training, so pick something with nutritional value.

If you found these tips helpful there is plenty more information available here.


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