Looking for a new puppy checklist to help you prepare for your new puppy? Ooh, you are organised, I like you!
I’m Becky, and I’m a puppy trainer who’s about to guide you through your essential new puppy shopping list (so you don’t waste money on things you don’t really need!).
Stick with me, and we’ll get you fully prepared for the exciting phase of welcoming your puppy into your family.
Table of Contents
New Puppy Checklist: What you really need
Who doesn’t love shopping for dog stuff?! There’s no such thing as too much dog in your life… but there are a ton of things that you can skip – so you can save your money for more of the good stuff!
New puppy essentials
- Puppy food
- Dog bowl for food and water
- Enzymatic cleaner
- ID tag
- Puppy collar and lead
- Puppy harness
- A bed
- A puppy pen, baby gate or crate
- Poo bags
- Puppy shampoo
- Crate, harness or guard for the car
When your puppy first comes home, keep them on the same food as they had with their breeder/rescue. You can slowly wean them onto a new puppy food once they’re settled in (if you want to).
Choose a complete food that’s especially for puppies. Their nutritional needs (and what their tummies can handle) are different to an adult dog. All about dog food is a great resource to help you find the best food for your puppy and read up on all the nutritional information.
Dog bowl for food and water
Your puppy needs to access to water 24/7. Make sure you always have a bowl of fresh water down where your puppy can access it – and take them for regular toilet breaks!
Your puppy will have accidents when you’re toilet training. Resist telling your puppy off and up your toilet training game! Take them outside regularly and reward them for toileting in the right place.
Enzymatic cleaning products will remove the odour of puppy wees and poos – which will help stop your puppy’s natural temptation to toilet in the same place again.
It’s a legal requirement in the UK to have an ID tag on your dog when they’re outside of your home. The tag should have your surname, address and telephone number on.
This isn’t a replacement for microchipping, so make sure your pup is microchipped and the contact details are up to date.
If your puppy escapes, gets lost, or gets spooked and runs off, you will be so relieved to have covered both bases. It’s much easier to get reunited with a lost dog when they have an ID tag on at all times.
Puppy collar and lead
While your puppy can’t go for walks until after their vaccinations, it’s a good idea to gently introduce them to wearing a collar before you need it. Wearing a collar and walking on a lead will both be new experiences for your puppy – so introduce them slowly at your puppy’s pace.
When your puppy is ready for walks, a harness is much better for them than walking on a collar and lead. You need the collar for your ID tag as a legal requirement, but the harness will be much more comfortable for walking.
A y-shaped harness like the perfect fit reduces pressure on your puppy’s joints and neck – more evenly distributing any pressure if your puppy pulls. A good fitting harness is also harder to slip out of – providing you peace of mind should your puppy get spooked or try to back out of their collar.
Puppies sleep a lot! In the early weeks, your puppy will need up to 18 hours of sleep a day – so a comfy bed is a must. I recommend choosing one that’s machine washable so it’s easy to clean if there are any accidents.
A puppy pen, baby gate or crate
Puppies are natural explorers and left unattended they will get into trouble! Having a safe space to contain your puppy when you can’t give them your attention is essential.
Whether you choose a crate, a pen or use a baby gate to keep your puppy in a safe area – you’ll need to introduce it positively so your pup enjoys being in there.
Lots of them! Puppies eat four times a day and what goes in, must come out! Picking up immediately after your dog will form good habits and prevent build up of bacteria and diseases.
Once your puppy has settled into their new home, you may want to give them a bath/shower. Whether after accidents as they’re mastering toilet training or after they’ve found something icky to roll in – you’ll need a gentle puppy shampoo to clean them up.
Crate, harness or guard for the car
Your puppy needs to be safely restrained for car travel by law. If your puppy is free in the car rather than contained, they can not only be a distraction while driving but in the event of an accident they are not safe.
If emergency services need to attend, your puppy could bolt when the car door is opening. You can use a travel crate, a car harness or a boot guard.
Get your free webinar and ebook on stopping puppy biting here 👇
New puppy nice to haves
- A longline training lead (4-6 foot)
- Puppy toys
- Puppy chews
- Puppy treats
A longline training lead (4-6 foot)
A longline lead gives your puppy freedom to explore while keeping them safe. It’s a vital training tool when you progress onto teaching your puppy to come when called. Learn more about how to use a longline training lead safely here.
Your puppy needs to play! And it’s a great way to develop your bond and to burn some puppy energy. The best puppy toys have nice long handles with a bite area at the other end. Puppy teeth are very sharp – and they use them during play!
Long puppy toys allow you to play safely together while keeping your hands far away from your puppies mouth!
Learn more about how to handle puppy biting here.
Puppies chew – it’s a completely natural behaviour. Your puppy learns about the world through exploring with their mouth and chewing offers relief from teething pain, frustration and stress.
Having a stash of puppy appropriate chews will keep your furniture and favourite items safe.
Give your puppy regular chewing time and swapping stolen items for an appropriate chew to help your puppy learn what they’re allowed to put in their mouth!
Puppies learn through rewards. Have a haul of puppy treats at the ready and reward your puppy whenever they do something you like – and before you know it, they’ll repeat it!
Consistent rewards for the behaviours you want to see will help your puppy learn how you’d like them to behave. So don’t be stingy! Reward heavily and watch the results stack up!
What you DON’T need for your new puppy
- A flexi-lead (or extendable lead)
- A ball chucker
- Puppy pads
Flexi-leads will give you a severe lack of control which is not only unsafe, but will really hinder your loose lead walking and your recall.
A normal lead or a longline training lead gives you better control of your puppy and will allow your puppy to get feedback as they feel you at the end of the lead. This will really help you when you progress onto training walking nicely on the lead and recall training so they can have off-lead time.
I could rant all day about ball chuckers but I’ll save your ears! It’s important for you to know though that your puppy’s joints and bones are still developing and any intense exercise, twists and turns can have a profound effect on their health.
Learn more about safe ball play with your dog and discover what to watch out for to keep your puppy’s joints safe.
I’m by no means the fun police – I want you guys to have an awesome time doing lots of play together. But I want you to do it safely to avoid big vet bills and painful lessons that you can avoid.
Where do you want your puppy to go toilet? Indoors on a puppy pad or outdoors?
If you want your puppy to toilet indoors on a pad or a litter tray, then go ahead and teach them to toilet there.
But if your end goal is that they toilet outside, don’t start by teaching them to go inside! You’re just making your life harder and things more confusing for your puppy.
Instead, take your puppy outside regularly – especially after eating, sleeping, and playing.
Reward your puppy when they toilet outside and you can even introduce a cue when they’re toileting. Yes, your puppy can learn to toilet on demand!
Your puppy training guide
We’ve spoken about most of the things that you need (and what you don’t). But this one’s so important that I’ve dedicated a whole section to it.
If you find yourself googling ‘how to’ stuff about your dog, for example, how to stop my dog doing blah or how to teach my dog to… you’re going to get yourself in a muddle.
This is especially true when it comes to dog behaviour.
The results you receive will:
- Be conflicting (not everyone trains the same way)
- Not be specific to your dog (or your problem)
- Confuse you (and your dog)
I can’t tell you how many people come to me with problems AFTER they’ve watched all the YouTube videos, asked all the well-meaning people they know, and read all the blogs.
Obviously, you’re reading a blog written by me. I appreciate the value in providing broad advice and educational material to help owners with their dogs.
But, if you’re experiencing any problems with your dog, please don’t wait for them to get worse.
Get an ethical dog trainer on your side to guide you from the off, and you’ll save money, get faster results and feel much calmer about what you’re doing and why.
Left unaddressed, behaviour problems get bigger. They’re harder to untangle and take a lot more effort to fix.