This week was a big one for our family – we welcomed a new puppy! Are you soon about to hear the patter of four tiny paws too? Then you’re going to want to read this!
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I consider myself an experienced dog owner – I grew up with dogs and have had a fair few over the years, but a lot of time has passed since I’ve had a puppy and I found myself feeling a bit clueless when looking at the wide range of items that are available to buy.
Luckily, dog behaviour expert Hannah Molloy from Channel 4's Puppy School and author of dog body language book What's My Dog Thinking: Understand your dog to give them a happy life. came to my rescue, and gave me the lowdown on all the essential kit. I learned so much, keep scrolling to get her expert tips about what you need!
While the quoted words are Hannah’s, the items linked are all suggestions picked out by myself. Take your time to find the right fit for your particular pup!
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Food and water bowls
Slow feeder dog bowl, £7.96, Amazon
“The choice is yours! Remember with pups under six months the vast majority of your daily food allowance will be used to train your puppy from your pocket! I recommend using chewy puzzle feeders like Kongs (other brands available) to teach pups they get their delicious food in a fun puzzle helping them chew and chill after training in their pen or crate. My dog didn't eat out of a bowl until he was at least 6 months and then I would always use a fun slow feeder bowl.”
Spaniel water bowl, £7.24, Amazon
“Water bowls are much of a much. I do love a spaniel water bowl that tapers at the top to reduce drippy ears and obviously if buying a crate, getting a bowl that hangs off the side is useful to reduce spillage.”
Food and treats
Royal Canin puppy dry dog food, £9.15, Amazon
“First off, go to a pet shop, not a supermarket. I won't tell you what brand to buy but I can certainly tell you how to buy dog food and treats! Ignore the marketing (all of it) and search for the section on the box or packet that says ‘composition,’ which is usually in tiny writing. What should the first ingredient be in a dog's food or treat? Meat right! Surely..
“Good companies have meat as the first ingredient, Ideally fresh meat, then possibly a dehydrated meat meal if you're looking at dry food. I'd go for a 60-80% meat content in wet/ fresh food or a 40-70% in a dry food.
“Rip-off dog food companies will use the following ingredients to sell you a bag or tin of tasty-nothing:
- Cereals (often two or 3 types as bulking agents that have little to no nutritional value to the dog)
- Meat and animal derivatives (not meat, vaguely derived from an animal)
- Derivatives of vegetable origin (whassat then?)
- Colours and flavourings (give your dog the skittles effect and make dry pet food look like Christmas)
“There's an hour long interview with a pet nutritionist on my puppy pro course for a deep geek out on dog food.”
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Edgard & Cooper Natural Dog Treats, lamb and beef bites, £2.85, Amazon
“Use your pup's food inside the house and higher value meat treats outside the house. I can use 50-100 pea-sized treats in a 40 min training clicker training session so buy a ton of soft meat treats.
Dog treat pouch bag with clicker and water bowl, £11.75, Amazon
“Buy a treat pouch/Bumbag 100%”
Walking equipment – collar, harness, leash
Padded dog collar with buckle, £10.99, Amazon
“A padded buckle collar is better than a snap clip for safety. I wouldn't buy anything that pinches the neck or back. I would get a training lead, and a 5-10 meter longline or recall line."
Dog training lead, £10, Amazon
Longline 10 metre training lead, £6.99, Amazon
“Never buy a flexi lead as they teach dogs to pull and come with a booklet called '50 ways to kill yourself with a flexilead'
Soft dog harness (available in sizes S to XL) £19.54, Amazon
“Harnesses I'd pick a soft one and go to a pet shop like my dear friends at Just For Pets for a fitting as I've taught them how to provide force-free harness fittings and make the whole experience really positive for the pup!
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READ: Top 7 dogs to own if you don't have a garden - and not all of them are small!
Crate and puppy gates
Dog crate with plastic base (available in sizes small to XXL), from £38.20, Amazon
“Yes to all of them. Why not throw in a puppy pen to go around your crate so you don't end up shutting your puppy in the crate and treating it like a cage. The crate is their bed, they get fed in there, have all the best chews delivered in there and the key is to not provide a ton of other comfy beds outside the puppy pen for them to learn to prefer."
Puppy pen (various sizes available) from £89.99, Amazon
“Training your pup to love its crate is a whole article in itself but suffice to say, the pup is taught to walk into its crate and pen and enjoy being in there, rather than be picked up and put in like a wayward bunny rabbit. It should be their safe space and not a punishment zone. Pups need to be able to stand up, turn around and stretch out in a crate so you'll need a bigger one than you think you do!"
Waterproof dog bed, £29.99, Amazon
“Pups love super-soft things but they will also likely chew and or wee on their bedding at some point so don't buy something you will be precious about until they've finished teething (five months-ish) and are fully toilet trained (takes about a week if you're consistent and available).”
Teepee dog bed, £28.99, Amazon
“Some pups like a high-sided bed, some love a raised bed, some want a glamping style teepee. Variety is the spice of life, why not test out two or three different types in the kitchen to see which your pup picks, but make sure your dog can stay cool by stretching out on a cold floor when they need to if they're a floofy breed.”
Fleece dog blanket 3 pack, £9.90, Amazon
“I would also get a blanket for on top of the crate as a stimulus trigger to pull over for sleeping time
"And a few mats or towels you can use as mobile 'relaxation mats' that let your pup have a very clear seat in any room or cafe you ever go into!"
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Puppy pads pack of 50, £13.99, Amazon
“I can take or leave these as I basically use them as kitchen roll! Puppy pads just lengthen the time it takes to teach your pup to wee outside. I prefer putting a dangly chain of bells on the backdoor and teaching pup to poke the bells to get into the garden and swap wee's for snacks. If you're going to use pads because you live in a flat, put them by the exit point to their pen or the nearest door. This way your teaching pup to go to one designated place to do an indoor toilet. Don't spread them out like crazy paving or your house will smell like Glastonbury.
Chewy dog toy, £13.99, Amazon
“Chewy ones – get eight. Pups need to teethe and nom on things all the time so get a bunch of soft rubber nom-toys. On for each room, 2 for the pen a few in your bag! If you're going to handle a puppy, ALWAYS have a chew toy in your pocket to put in their little Pacman mouths. Frozen carrots are also great for teething.
Petface cuddly donkey toy, £6.98, Amazon
"Cuddly ones - one for the crate you can pop a well-wrapped hot water bottle underneath (it will get cuddled then probably humped and eventually destroyed over a series of months.)"
3 pack dog balls, £10.99, Amazon
“Balls - get three for swaps and decent fetch games.”
Dog rope tug toy, £11.99, Amazon
“Tug toys - get two of the same toy, again for good swaps.”
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Kong cuddle squeak toys, £9.92, Amazon
“Squeaky toys - great for use in the garden and on walks, also useful for separation training to teach your dog what to do to get you to come back - don't over squeak! - they can be scary first time round!
"Don't let them play with footballs unless you want to make the time to teach them later to ignore football matches."
Snuffle mat for dogs, £14.99, Amazon
Kong classic medium dog toy, was £22.99 now £16.67, Amazon
"Buy them all! Snuffle mats, licky mats, roller balls, brain teasers for their amazing snooters - fill, then supervise, then remove if you want them to last a long time."
Grooming mits, was £9.97 now £8.99, Amazon
Nail clippers for dogs, £11.76, Amazon
Tick remover for dogs, £3.98, Amazon
Soft brush for dogs, £6.79, Amazon
“You should get: Grooming Mit, nail clippers, tick remover, soft brush and slicker brush. Then it depends on your breed of doggo. Find a groomer that does SEVERAL intro sessions to grooming before they try and do a full groom then you know they're training the pup to love grooming (I teach new groomers this, it's very new and unusual)”
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