Getting your first dog is the best day of your life. For years, you’ve dreamt of the day you would finally move into an apartment/home where you could adopt your own fur baby. When the moment finally arrives, you’re so excited, you’re not always 100% prepared–like me.
I grew up never, ever being able to have a dog because renting in NYC means most apartments are not pet-friendly. This year, finally moving into a home where I could adopt a puppy–I was over-the-moon. However, I didn’t have everything I needed right away. It took me a few days/nights of skimming the web, reading every book I possibly could, and getting endless advice to find out– there are a few must-haves to making sure your puppy (and your sanity) are happy and healthy. Luckily, I have personally purchased everything on this list and have found that they are must-haves.
16. This doggy poop bad clip for your leash–and 900 poop bags. Trust me, you need all of them.
You never know when you’re going to be out and your dog has to go. If you don’t have a bag on you–you’ll feel like a complete idiot (like I did). Having this attached to the clip makes it much easier to always have them on hand. And, buying 900-count means that you’re going to have enough to last you a long time without having to restock. Plus, most average dog poop bags fit into this–so you won’t need a new clip.
15. This nail grinder to cut your dog’s nails, but not hurt them or hit the vein.
Cutting your puppy’s nails for the first time is a challenge to say the least. No dog (especially a puppy) enjoys it. But, getting a regular clipper can risk cutting the dog’s vein (under the nail) which is very long–which can result in bleeding. Using a grinder like this makes the process less rough and more manageable.
14. A leash with a comfort grip for maximum support.
I was under the assumption that getting a regular old leash would do the trick. But, when you first get a dog and you’re not used to walking them (and they’re not used to you walking them) it takes practice to get the rhythm down. Retractable leashes are nice when you two are more natural with each other, but in the beginning, you want a leash like this to train them. The grip gives you both comfort and more support when holding them. Plus, you can wrap the rope tighter to keep the distance shorter.
13. Dog bowls with a silicone mat underneath for less mess and less clean-up.
Sure, getting regular bowls is cheap and easy–but if your puppy is like mine, they will shove their paws into the water and knock it all over your wood floors. The mat underneath makes it easy to clean up any mess and the bowls stay in place in the slots, so they won’t drag their food bowl all over your house.
12. A toothbrush and toothpaste because yes, brushing your dog’s teeth does matter.
A lot of people told me that brushing your dog’s teeth is a waste of time and useless. But, when my boyfriend and I went to training classes for our pup, the trainer told us that brushing your puppy’s teeth is important and can actually add years onto their life, as some infections and bacteria reside in the mouth/teeth. Most of the dog toothpaste on the market is chicken or beef flavored, so your dog will like it anyways.
11. “Potty here spray” for those trying to train dogs to go in one specific area of your backyard/house.
As many pet owners know, dogs are creatures of habit. Once they go in one spot, they tend to go in that spot forever. This can be both good/bad–if your dog is frequently going on the carpet, you’ll want to fix it. Using this spray can help–according to reviews–change the bathroom habits of your dog immensely. Spray this on the grass area or even training pads you want to use in the house and it’ll work wonders.
10. The best training pads for the best value for those who have puppies.
If you’re training a puppy, weewee pads are going to be your best friend. Obviously, you’re going to need to change them rather frequently, so buying in bulk is your only option. I tried buying some from the “discount store,” and some from places like PetSmart. This brand from Amazon was the best one I have tried out of all the brands–because it doesn’t leak at all. Although I have wood floors (thank God), cleaning up pee all day is not in my schedule. These absorb super fast and come with a lot for low costs.
9. If you tend to drive a lot with your dog, seat covers are a life saver.
I’m someone who has to drive to the vet and also drive to see my family and friends rather frequently. Having my dog in the car is super important because–well–I don’t always want to leave her at home. A blanket or towel will suffice for most people, but, I have a lease and I’d like to avoid having to pay extra for stains/rips. Plus, the net helps keep my pup in the back seat and from jumping up front while I’m in the middle of driving. It’s easy to install and take out–win/win.
8. A clicker to help train your dog using sound.
Any pet trainer will tell you that using sounds help your dog’s memory. Many trainers have you use the same word when training your dog to do something like “sit,” or “down,” or “drop.” The clicker can also do this in the same way. By associating the clicking with an action, your dog will remember that action with the clicking sound.
7. Kongs will keep your dog full and occupied for hours.
Kongs are the best toy you can get for your new dog if you don’t have the luxury of always being at home. For both crate training and those who want to just have their dog play on their own, Kongs will keep your dog busy. The hole is essential to stuff with snacks and treats. Pro tip: using peanut butter and freezing it will allow the snack to last much, much longer.
6. Getting toys that you can freeze easily helps your puppy with teething.
Getting cute toys is great, but you also want to get smart toys. Puppies are always going to go through the teething phase, so getting toys that you can freeze (like a child’s) is the best thing you can do for them.
5. Spray to put on furniture, leashes, or anything your dog eats/chews on.
Every dog owner knows your pup or dog will chew on things you don’t want them to–shoes, their leash, the couch. Spraying this on anything they usually chew and you want them to stop will prevent them from continuing the bad habits.
4. Bully Sticks to bring with you when you go somewhere and your dog needs a heavy distraction.
Bully sticks were actually given to me by a friend who also has a small pup. I love taking the dog out to restaurants that are dog-friendly, but it sucks when your dog is busy jumping into your lap to get some food from you. Bully sticks are a good snack and they last a while and take a while to eat. Perfect for keeping them occupied.
3. A training book by one of the world’s leading dog experts–the dog whisperer himself.
I tried to get into Cesar Millan’s TV show, but the shows are always over-dramatized and I felt like it was a waste (but, his tips are super helpful). So, I grabbed the book instead. He has some really good tips, lessons, and skills every dog owner should know if they want to train their dog to be the best possible pet they can be.
2. A personalized dog tag to fill in with your information in case of an emergency.
Everyone knows you need to have a dog tag on your dog in case he runs off and needs to be brought back home. Amazon has some great sellers that you can customize and personalize your choice of tag (shape and color). For only $3.70 and shipping taking less than 2 weeks–you can’t beat it.
1. Get a lot of snacks for training–big box means big rewards.
Training means you need to reward your dog for doing the right thing. Getting small treats is best when training so your dog doesn’t fill up on them between meals. Plus, you don’t want to continue to have to go out and walk them during the day (or have them poop on pads all day long), so be careful with how many you use. Smaller ones=better.