Only 8 short months ago, I plopped my new puppy into a cart and wandered around my local pet store. There are just so many things you can buy a new puppy! And… you sort of feel like a celebrity when you have a sleeping one in your cart. Just about everyone wants to pet a tiny puppy! It can kind of distract you from your actual goal of getting puppy training supplies. So here’s a cheat sheet for you.
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Top 5 Puppy Products for Training
- 1. Leashes and Harness
I recommend getting two or three leashes of different lengths. I use one that is very short for the car to keep him “buckled” in. They also sell car seat harnesses. Sometimes you just need a short leash, so it helps to have one just in case. Then I have a leash for regular walking. Mine is about 4 ft., but they also have some that are 6 ft. I also have a longer for one for training outside or tethering. It’s about 15 feet. I like nylon leashes, but it’s up to you. The retractable leashes are not recommended since you don’t have much control with them.
I use the Easy Walk harness for Derby. You can check it out here. In the past, I used a Gentle Leader for my first golden retriever like this one. I like the Easy Walk better since it is on his body and not his muzzle. Everyone had thought my golden was muzzled! The best part of the Easy Walk is that it connects in front of his chest instead of his back. I could not control him once he got stronger with a harness that connects at his back. Like the Gentle Leader, if he pulls too hard it makes him turn. I love this harness!
- 2. Treats and Pouch
The trainer taught us to use good treats with high protein for training. The dog will perform better for a better treat. I like treats that are small, low calorie, and unusual protein like duck or salmon. Derby likes these treats. Each dog is different, and you’ll have lots of opportunities to try different treats. I also have a pouch for holding treats, but it is not necessary. It’s like a fanny pack. It makes it easier when you have the puppy, the leash, maybe a clicker, and treats all happening at the same time. A good pocket work too. I’ll use the pouch more at work once Derby is a therapy dog. I’ll need the treats close by and my hands free.
- 3. Crate and Bedding
I crate-train to keep my puppy safe, and to keep my house safe from my puppy. He prefers to sleep in there even when I am home. I think it helped with house training. Learn about crate training here. A good dog bed is important if you aren’t using a crate. You need to give the puppy a place to go to when you need him to settle. I trained Derby “Go Lay Down” when I need him to get in his crate for whatever reason.
- 4. Apple Bitter
This stuff is magic. Dogs hate it. You spray this stuff on something they are chewing, and they won’t continue to chew it. Until it no longer tastes bad, so you have to reapply it from time to time. Derby hates this stuff. Get it here!!!
- 5. Chew toys
Puppies like to chew. They chew just about anything if you let them. A wide variety of chew toys will help save your furniture, cabinets, and shoes. It’s hard to tell what kind of chew toy your dog will like. Sometime I buy a toy and to my surprise Derby wants nothing to do with it. This area is trial and error. You can also use your chew toys as reinforcement like treats. I often need chew toys with me to keep Derby quiet and busy.
You can learn more about what you and your puppy learn in a typical Puppy Class here.
Other new puppy items that are also important
- Dog food
- Food/Water bowl
- Poop bags
- Collar and ID’s
What have you found useful for your puppy?
Don’t forget! I’m not a dog trainer. I’m a speech therapist… so that means I teach kids how to talk for a living. This is just the stuff that worked for me as I train my dog to be a therapy dog. So always check with your local dog trainer or vet for more information about your particular dog.