If you have children heading off to college soon, you know of the truckload of stuff packed there are some essentials that they will need without question. Other items are added in because it will help them have a leg up in being prepared for their new campus life. The remainder of the stuff just makes the experience more comfortable.
The same rules apply to your new puppy or dog adoption. The essentials to have on hand for a new canine addition to your family are few and the comfort items are many. Americans spent over 55 billion dollars on their pets in 2013. Owning a pet does not have to break the bank, however there are things that accompany your dog’s day to day needs that should never be skimped on including appropriate vet care, nutrition and training.
Fido’s first things
- Food bowls
- Quality kibble or wet food
- Crate and bedding
- Exercise pen or baby gates
- Leash and collar
- Trio of toys
- Healthy training treats
- Book on training basics
- Contact information of a qualified R+ trainer
Food and water bowls
Consider a stainless steel bowl. They are easy to sanitize by washing in the top rack of your dishwasher. Fresh water should always be available to your pet. Consider offering ice cubes in a bowl an alternative. Dogs enjoy crunching ice cubes as well and over the course of the day their bladder will not fill up as quickly making the potty run after you return from work less desperate.
Quality dog food
Your dog's health starts with what you put in his bowl. Take a cue from your veterinarian on what brand of food and quantity is best for your dog's age, breed and activity level.
New pets need to have the world of your home opened up to them gradually. A dog crate should never be used as a place of punishment. Instead a crate should be trained to be a place of comfort. Teach your dog "crate games" to build happiness and excitement around the crate. Check out Crate Games Part 1: Zelda 13 wks on YouTube.
X-pens and baby gates
Give your dog a safe place to stretch his legs, or use exercise pens and baby gates to limit access to rooms in your home. Exercise pens are also useful when potty training and keeping pets separated from small children. Always supervise very closely when children and pets are together. Never, ever leave your pet alone with small children.
Flat collar and leash
If you have a new puppy the feeling of wearing a collar and leash will seem alien at first but they will acclimate quickly especially if you give positive reinforcement, such as feeding tasty treats while he is wearing the collar and while you clip on the leash.
Toys that can be stuffed with treats
Kong toys are the standard, however there are other great toys on the market that you can stuff with treats. Google "Kong Recipes". There are a lot of ways you can stuff a toy, but then freeze it so the food prizes come out more slowly and it lasts longer. This is a great way to occupy your pup and encourage chewing on something appropriate.
Healthy training treats
Natural Balance dog food rolls are excellent training treats. Slice and cut the roll into raisin-size bits. The rolls should be refrigerated after opening.
The Puppy Primer
The Puppy Primer describes a six-week program to get you and your puppy off on the right paw. Designed for puppies under five months of age you’ll learn how to create the foundation your pup needs to become a well-adjusted and well-behaved member of the family.
Love Has No Age Limit
This book tells you everything you need to know about welcoming an adolescent or adult dog into your family. We all know that older dogs present their own special joys and challenges; let this easy-to-read book turn your “new dog” into your “best dog ever!”
Contact information to a qualified R+ trainer
Choose a pet trainer who is committed to force-free training and pet care philosophies practices and methods. As a member of the Pet Professional Guild members understand Force-Free to mean: No Shock, No Pain, No Choke, No Fear, No Physical Force, No physical Molding, No Compulsion Based Methods are employed to train or care for a pet. Visit managingmanners.com, owner education section for behavior basics tip sheets.