School Supplies: What You Need
It's tricky to track down exactly what you need to have to make sure you kick off your pup's first days at home in style. To help we have created a list of products that you should have:
ID Tags or Collar with your phone number: In case your dog escapes, he can get back to you as soon as possible. While microchips are a great line of defense, ID tags and collars can be used by anyone that finds your dog.
Martingale or Flat Collar: If your dog has a head that's smaller than his neck, a martingale collar tightens slightly - but not all the way like a choke collar - to prevent your dog from slipping out of his collar. In either case, a comfortable, soft martingale or flat collar can hold your dog's tags securely.
No-pull Harness or Head Collar: There's no need for your dog to practice naughty walking behavior any longer than necessary. While your dog is learning polite walking skills, use a Freedom No-Pull Harness or Holt Head Collar to manage his behavior.
4-6 foot Leash: Skip the flexi-leash and use a real leash with your dog, so he understands the rules of the game and can more easily learn polite walking skills. Additionally, in the city or anywhere with people and dog traffic, flexi-leashes are just plain unsafe as they can get tangled up and injure dogs and people!.
Water Dish: We like ceramic and stainless steel dishes for ease of cleaning and durability.
Food Bowl & Food-Dispensing Toys: While your dog will need a food bowl as he gets situated in his new home, don't lose out on the awesome training power of mealtime for too long! Transition from feeding out of the bowl to using a food-dispensing toy for more enrichment and building your dog's problem-solving skills. The Kibble Nibble, Kong regular or Genius are great toys to get started on.
Crate: Your dog will need an appropriately sized crate, most likely a plastic or metal one to begin. It's a great tool for potty training, when you're away or just as a place to relax & hang out. If your pup's going to grow, you can pick a larger size and just use a divider in the back half to prevent mishaps until your pup is ready to use the entire space.
Dog Bed or Blanket: Having a place for your dog to relax in areas you hang-out in often is a great way to subtly start encouraging "place" or "mat". Additionally, having a bed to settle in is super helpful for training polite greetings when guests come over.
Dog Food: Do your research and talk to your veterinarian about what food is best for your dog. The book Dog Food Logic: Making Smart Decisions for Your Dog in an Age of Too Many Choices can be a helpful resource in learning more about what to feed your dog.
Treats: You can buy treats at the pet supply store or at your local supermarket. We're fans of Natural Balance, Zukes, ZiwiPeaks, freeze-dried liver or in moderation hot dogs, low-fat cheese and other safe people food.
Toys: Visit your local pet supply store and peruse the aisles with your pup. See what he likes! He may like soft plush toys, rubber, plastic or somewhere in between. Bringing him along as you learn what he likes helps you have the most interesting toys for him at home to keep him happy and having fun.
Chews: Dogs love to chew, but we want them to be safe doing it. Natural chews such as pigs' ears, bully sticks, antlers and hooves (to name a few!) can be great fun for your dog and learning what toughness your dog likes to chew on is important for maximizing their benefits. But they should always be given when you're around to supervise chewing and prevent any choking or teeth injuries.
Enzymatic Pet Cleaner: Get a pet specific, non-toxic cleaner that breaks down accident remnants and removes odors to prevent repeat accidents. We like Anti-Icky-Poo and Simple Solution! If you're unsure that your current cleaner is doing the trick, a blacklight can uncover how well it's working!
Dog Shampoo: Whether you decide to bathe at home, take your dog to a self-wash or a groomer, you'll want to regularly wash your dog. Depending on your dog's skin and coat needs, there's a variety of products to choose from. Hopping in the tub and making it a party of cheese and hot dogs is a great way to make bathtime something to look forward to for your dog.
Nail Clippers: Just like bathtime, we want nail trims to be a normal part of your dog's routine, and we want only amazing things to happen when the clippers come out. At our house, it's spray cheese time! We like the guillotine style clippers, but other folks prefer the scissors style - and some dogs opt for the grinder or Dremel. Helpful information for getting starting on nail trimming can be found at: www.aspca.org
Brush or Comb: Depending on your dog's coat type and length, you'll need a way to maintain his coat. There are different styles from rakes, shedding blades to pin, slicker and rubber brushes as well as de-matting combs. I like starting off easy with rubber and pin brushes before building up to more intense (but highly effective) tools like the Furminator. As we've described with nail and bathtime, making brushing a fun, delicious experience will keep your dog coming back for more and helping him have an envious doggie coat.
Suggested but optional
Treat Pouch: You can use your pocket in a pinch, but a treat pouch keeps your pockets clean and allows for quick and easy access to the treats. Quick delivery of treats helps reinforce the correct behavior, so we suggest getting a treat pouch.
Baby Gates: When first introducing your dog to his new home, it's best to not give full access right away - this helps prevent housetraining, chewing and destructive mishaps. Baby gates are helpful in cordoning off hallways or sections of a room until your dog is ready for primetime!
Long Line: We use a long line in our videos for the recall sequence training modules. You can get a long line at a pet shop, or just tie a rope to your existing leash for added length. Just make sure if you use the rope, its safe and secure.