There is so much to think about when you bring home a new dog. Before you hop in the car with your new friend, make sure that your home has all the necessary items the pooch will require to have his needs met. Likewise, be sure that you have done your homework about the kind of behaviors your dog might manifest, as well as the training tactics, play rules, and house boundaries you will want to apply. Here is a brief checklist to be aware of before you and your pup start a new life together.

1. Dog care items. Bringing a puppy home entails a lot of prep work, planning and a fairly significant shopping list. Here is a quick, at-a-glance shopping list for first-time puppy owners.

  • Healthy pet food (such as the quality that may be found in Wysong Pet Food’s sample ingredients list.)
  • Food/water dishes (with timed feeders if you travel, or are away for long days.)
  • A dog bed
  • ID collar
  • A leash
  • Poop-scooper (or potty-patches for indoor dogs)
  • Dog toys (Chew toys especially are going to be necessary at this stage.)
  • De-shedding dog brushes
  • Shampoo
  • Antibacterial wipes (for dust, dirt, or goop that might get in your dog’s eyes. This is also a great tool to clean out puppy ears, under the tail, and help space out the need for a full-on bath).
  • Training tools (This could include dog treats, clicker training tools, ultrasonic noise emitters, taste deterrents, the list goes on! What you need will entirely depend on your method of training method and the struggles your particular dog may have.)
  • A crate (where he can sleep and stay safely in your absence).
  • Dental care items like tooth brushes, or dental chews
  • Pet first aid kit (in case of injury or accidents, which puppies may be prone to in a new home

2. House-breaking tactics: Be sure to keep a cupboard full of paper towels, because in the first few weeks, you will likely experience a number of accidents while the puppy is potty-training. Aside from basic obedience training, teaching your dog where (and where not) to do his business is one of the most important elements of training. Save yourself a headache and review solid tactics of how to house break your puppy.

3. Safe playtime: Spending time with our puppies is second nature to us. But there are still a number of hazards that playtime presents when a puppy is young and learning the ropes. Puppies are particularly known for gently biting arms, hands, and pant legs while they are small. Review how to curb puppy chomping so that the innocent gnawing doesn’t turn into painful bites when the pup is older. For more play tips, brush up on some of these playtime and safety rules for when you get a new dog.

4. Dog training methods: Before you bring your new puppy home, decide what kind of training you plan to incorporate. What incentives will you use? Will you hire a professional? Use clickers, taste deterrents, dog treats, or grilled chicken? How do you plan to train your puppy to accept handling? How would you work with an aggressive dog? Do you prefer discipline training or positive reinforcement? Help avoid confusion with your pet by deciding ahead of time what approach you will use, so that his training experience will be consistent from the moment he enters the new home.

5. Unusual dog behaviors: Though they don’t mean to, dogs tend to get into trouble when they are in a new place, if they are young, or are in the process of training. Among these will be digging, crying at night, eating grass, chewing their paws, foraging, etc. Be familiar with what you can expect to see from your future fur-baby so that you will know how to address each issue as it arises.