Congratulations on your new puppy!

Adopting a puppy is always very fun and exciting.

Here’s a list of what you’ll need to buy for your furry kid:


When it comes to a crate, you’ll need to find out what size your puppy is going to be when you pick him up. The problem most pet owners make is that they purchase a crate that’s too big for the puppy, and it makes house breaking difficult. You need a crate that allows your puppy to stand up, sit and lay down comfortably, but isn’t so big that he can sleep on one end and potty on the other end. Too much room is a bad thing. A plastic crate is preferable to the wire crate. I recommend Petmate Ultra Vari Kennels because they have tough, durable walls with easy-open squeeze latches. In many cases, it may be better to borrow a crate that’s small enough for your new puppy, and then purchase a crate once your puppy reaches about six months of age. Puppies grow a lot in the few first weeks so plan to go through two or three crates before you reach your final adult-sized crate.  You’ll also want a lightweight blanket to put over the crate and a fan to add white noise in whatever room you puppy is staying in.

Food, etc.

Food is an obvious necessity, but a big mistake most puppy owners make is that they don’t do their homework and simply purchase the same food the breeder was using. In some situations, this is fine if the breeder places a special emphasis on health and nutrition, but in many cases breeders simply use whatever is cheapest and most convenient. I’m a huge supporter of raw diets, so I feed my dogs freeze-dried dehydrated raw food called Grandma Lucy’s along with raw meat (chicken, beef, fish, etc). For a complete list of dog food brands and quality ratings, check out this website. Coconut oil, fish oil and raw eggs are healthy, cost-effective toppers you can put on your puppy’s food. We also recommend NuVet Plus and NuJoint Plus supplements, for all dogs, but especially for active and/or large breed dogs. When buying online, you’ll need an order code – our code is “45459”.

Bones to Chew on

Whatever you do, don’t buy rawhides for your new puppy. They’re made of harmful chemicals, they can cause digestive issues and when the pieces get small enough puppies can choke on them. Instead, I recommend the following: organic carrots (yes, carrots!); bully sticks; marrow bones; Himalayan dog chews and deer antlers. If you choose to feed raw, consuming raw meat and crushing bones is a great way to keep our dog’s teeth clean and plaque-free.

Leash, Harness and Collar with ID tags

For your new puppy, you’ll want a comfortable and adjustable harness, a lightweight leash and a nice collar with basic ID tags.  Attach the leash to the harness to allow your puppy to pull and explore the world without damaging his neck by pulling on the collar. Once you’ve started training and the teething period is over, you can purchase a nice quality leash and collar combo that will last you for years to come. Leather is my material of choice. What you’ll want to avoid is heavy duty leashes, cheap collars with plastic snaps and flexi-leads.


This is one category where you really can’t go wrong. Buy whatever suits your fancy! You’ll want a combination of play toys and interactive toys. For play toys, I recommend Kong Squeezz Crackle Ball, the Kong Extreme Ball Dog Toy, the Kong Tug Dog Toy, and, for working breeds flirt poles and leather shames. Do not get tennis balls for your puppy as the knotting wears down teeth. For interactive toys, I recommend the Kong Puppy Activity Ball, the Starmark Treat Dispensing Ball, the Starmark Bob-a-Lot and the Starmark Treat Dispensing Pickle Pocket.


When it comes to food and water dishes, avoid plastics and look for something that’s durable, long-lasting and easy to clean. I use stainless steel bowls. You can buy non-skid bowls and put an anti-overflow silicon mat beneath the dishes to help with messy eaters and drinkers.

Treats and Treat Pouch

The best training treats are small, soft, non-crumbly and easy to consume quickly. I recommend Happy Howie’s beef, turkey and lamb rolls. (Red Barn sells a similar product, but their treats are crumbly.) I like a treat pouch that’s easy to access, holds lots of treats and can be adjusted based on how many layers I’m wearing. PetSafe makes a nice treat pouch; they sell two sizes, purchase the larger of the two. I put treats in a ziplock baggie to keep the oils from bleeding through to the front of the pouch. I also wash mine every week or so to keep it looking clean.

Don’t forget to sign up for training classes with a local reputable trainer. Early training is key! We start puppies at 10 weeks of age. Happy Training!

Amy Pishner is the Owner and Head Trainer of Valor K9 Academy, LLC. She uses a balanced approach to training and is triple certified through Starmark Academy, Vohne Liche Kennels and The Michael Ellis School for Dog Trainers. Amy specializes in puppy training, basic obedience and behavior rehabilitation training. Amy can be reached by email at For more information on raising your new puppy, click here.