What does a puppy need? A crate. In our modern society, even if we are home, other things distract us from the attention an uncrated puppy must have. The only real solution is to crate the dog when you aren’t around. The dog may be happier in its den than loose in the house. It relaxes, it feels safe in its den. It rests, the body slows down reducing the need for water and relieving itself. Chew toys. The pet stores are full of toys that many dogs will quickly chew up into pieces they could choke on or cause intestinal blockages. If you are not there to watch, stick to sturdy stuff such as Nylabones and Kongs. Keep a close eye on chew toys and quickly discard anything that is coming apart in pieces. Rawhide is especially bad because it swells after being swallowed. These problems are the worst with, but not limited to, large, aggressive chewers such as Labs. Food. Find out what the breeder is feeding. If it is dry chow you can buy readily, I would stick with it until the dog is 4 months old, at that time switching to a dry adult chow for large breeds. If not, try to have the breeder give you a few days supply to use making a gradual change to a dry puppy chow. Dishes. Empty plastic food containers are good enough. If you want something nicer, buy the spill proof ones. A collar and leash. You should stay with a flat fabric or leather collar until your puppy is 5 months old. Then you can go with the metal slip collar with the rings on each end. Otherwise you could damage its windpipe. Put it on like this for the usual dog on the left position. Pull the chain through the one ring forming a”P.” Facing the dog, slip it over its head. The free end comes over the neck allowing the other end to release pressure when the leash is slack. A five month old’s head will still grow some. If you buy one that easily goes over the head, it still should come off leaving the ears when the dog finishes growing. I start the puppy out with a metal leash and switch to a leather one after the worst of the chewing is over and I need more control. A brush. Start the puppy with a bristle brush. They don’t shed much at first, and the bristle brush will remove dirt and help control odor. When shedding becomes a problem later, switch to a slicker brush with the wire teeth. The number of a vet. It is very hard to evaluate them. Dogs need more medical care than in the past. Many new problems are wide spread. Obedience training. A good obedience class or book is about you being top dog, not about rewarding standard commands with a treat. Start obedience training the day you get the dog. Build on the foundation of housebreaking. The younger the puppy, the shorter you must keep sessions, only a few repetitions at a time. A few minutes here and there, and by the time the puppy is 4 months old, people will be impressed with what a nice dog it is. A Dogster bookmark so you can come back for help as needed. I didn’t forget treats, shampoo, and bedding. I seldom use them.
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