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A general shopping list should include:

(see my favorites list at the bottom of the page)

  • Bowls for food and water

  • Brush or Comb

  • Flea Comb- I use the Nit free comb

  • Enzyme spot cleaner

  • Shampoo- I really like Scouts Honor (its Kiefer based & healthy)

  • Nail Clippers/ sander

  • Chew stop spray such as Bitter Apple

  • Crate with movable divider (30 x 19 x 21) for a medium-sized dog

  • Toys and Chews (boss bone not rawhide or little sticks)

  • Fromm's Puppy kibble - Hot pink bag

  • ID tag with your contact information to fit the collar you have purchased

  • Collar and Leash (not retractable)(@9-11 inch to start off with)

  • Baxter & Bella Online Puppy Training membership - use my discount code #DDPNW

A new puppy is a big job and commitment, with a lot to do and plan in advance. Most of the preparations are the same for an adult dog as for a puppy.

Use the following checklist to help prepare home, family, schedule, and more. So much to do!

What to Buy, What to Do, Who to Ask

1. If you plan to use homeopathic and wholistic care - find a natural vet. If you plan to vaccinate- Find a more holistic vet who allows single shot vaccines and titer test.  Have some homeopathic remedies on hand prior to vaccinations as a back up plan for any vaccine induced illness. (I send a few home with you)

2. Get your fence built, repaired, or redesigned for the type of dog who is joining your family.

3. Check out Baxter and Bellas Online puppy training classes (use code #DDPNW for a 25% off discount), if you prefer going in person- attend some "as an observer" to make sure they are acceptable, and get the information you need to be ready to enroll your pup at the right time. (but not too soon)

4. Decide where your puppy needs to eliminate. This is the first place you want the puppy’s feet to touch the ground at your home! You’ll be spending a lot of time here at first. [Read Potty Areas.]

5. Prepare your other dogs to be safe companions for the puppy: spay/neuter any who need it, eliminate infection or parasite issues in your dogs and property with your veterinarian’s help, and get all training in order. 

6. Evaluate and fix risks from your own or neighbor dogs to make sure your puppy will be safe from attacks. 

7. Research—thoroughly—the breed of the pup. Now is the time to change your mind if you realize the breed characteristics don’t fit your situation.

8. Find a dog groomer if the dog will have anything other than a clippered short coat. Make sure you know precisely what grooming the breed requires. Pups who need professional grooming later should start easy, introductory grooming visits when young. Sanitary & face trims get them used to the groomer.  Dont let them poodle your doodle- bring a pic of exactly what you want.

9. Hook up with other dog owners who can help you find the dog services and resources you will need in your community. These folks can also help in various other ways such as practicing your class homework together. When you see someone out with a well-behaved dog and they don’t appear to be in a hurry, a good way to strike up a conversation is to compliment the dog and the owner’s handling.

10. Get everyone in the house together on what the house rules will be with the new puppy.

11. Teach the kids what they need to know to start off safely with the puppy. A breeder or rescue group might be willing to help with this in exchange for their dogs getting some controlled experience with children.  Teach adults and older children how to pick up the puppy safely (ask your veterinarian to show you), and make sure children know NOT to pick up the puppy.


Dropped puppies often get horribly injured. Kids should NOT pick them up- sit on the floor.

12. Purchase a crate, a portable exercise pen, baby gates and any other equipment you need to make sure your puppy will be in a safe place for forming good habits at all times.

13. Purchase about three quality chew items suited for the size and age of your puppy, along with a safe bittering agent such as Bitter Apple that you can use as a training aid. Destructive Chewing.

14. Get a couple of weeks or more supply of the food the dog has been eating, as well as the new food if you will be changing. Food changes always need to be gradual with dogs, and this is especially true for puppies and for any dog who is going through the stress of adapting to a new home. I suggest going thru a full bag before making any switches, I've used a lot and this is the best brand to date.

15. Purchase a suitable leash NOT retractable, buy a collar or a harness if the pup is collar resistant.

16. Get an identification tag made in advance to fit the collar for your puppy with your name, phone number, address, and possibly email address. It need not have the puppy’s name on it. 

17. Arrange to bring your puppy home at the beginning of some time off for you, such as a vacation or holiday weekend, to help get the puppy better settled.

18. Plan for lost sleep and noise. Puppies tend to cry at first when left alone, when crated, and when you’re trying to sleep. If you give up and put the puppy in your bed (not recommended for the great majority of people), you have a playful, chewing puppy who may eliminate on your bed or get hurt jumping off.

19. Get a medical notebook for the puppy, something sturdy and portable. This book can follow your dog through life, and you’ll be glad to have the notes for reference.

20. Work out a schedule for your puppy. Decide which household members will do which care tasks.

21. Consider safety of locations, times, ability and vulnerability of who is to walk the dog.

22. Buy the needed grooming tools, learn to use them, and include daily grooming in your puppy’s schedule from the first day.  If your veterinarian approves, bathe the puppy every two weeks or so as preparation for baths later in life. Trim toenails for the same reason.

23. Review or learn about housetraining, crate training, collar and leash training, eye contact/attention training, jumping-up training and training puppies not to put teeth on people. Jumping Up On People.


24. If you plan to change food brands mix in a bag of the puppy food that your pup has been fed. 

Time Well Spent

One thing that happens when you make these preparations for your puppy is that you carefully think about the decision to add this family member. You also think about what kind of puppy is best for you. And you’ll be focusing on the day-to-day practical aspects of dog ownership—especially the puppy stage.

You also get your household, your extended family and your friends on board with the changes coming in your lifestyle. Your veterinarian, groomer, puppy class instructor and others help you get ready. You meet other dog owners in your community in a new way. This is all healthy, and builds a great network to support you and your dog. Some people even find that their friends give them puppy showers!

Thanks to The Canine Behavior Series By Kathy Davis

My Favorite Things


Click for a FREE Puppy Survival Guide

Baxter and Bella's Online puppy training classes (use my code #DDPNW for 25% off)

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