The Alternative Puppy Equipment List
Having just survived the first four months with her own new puppy, Bramley Tutor Karen Boardman shares her learning curve with us on some rarely mentioned equipment that will definitely help you to manage yoru own new addition!
If a new puppy is about to land at your house, you've got to go shopping!
You have the essentials: the food and water bowls, a collar, harness and lead, and toys. You've followed good advice and also bought a crate, a puppy pen, and lots of things for your puppy to chew. But what else might you need??
There are some other items though that you won't see mentioned in any dog training book, which I have found made my life a lot easier while raising my puppy. So I bring you, my alternative list of 6 puppy essentials.
Yes, rubber shoes are my number one item. For the first 10 days when my puppy came home it rained every day. Sometimes the puppy needs taking out as frequently as every hour. That’s a lot of going outside in the rain. Puppy bladders cannot wait while you tie your shoelaces, so you really want to have shoes you can quickly slip on and off. Using Crocs meant my nicer shoes could be safely stored out of chewy puppy reach while the Crocs were left by the back door. My husband mocked me when I bought them, but I would rather wear lime green rubber shoes outside than clean up puppy pees and poops inside. (Note: He is now the proud owner of his very own bike maintenance Crocs.)
- Bins with lids
Ideally your kitchen bin will live in a cupboard completely out of reach. If that's not possible, a bin with a lid that can't easily be displaced will save you a lot of hassle. Far better for your puppy to never realise that bins contain tasty and fun items, than have to train them to leave it later. Same goes for any other bin in the house - they need to be out of the puppy's reach or have a lid, otherwise they will certainly be helping themselves. I knew this before I got my puppy - I was prepared! But, I forgot about he laundry basket… In puppyland there is nothing tastier than dirty pants and socks. You can save yourself chasing your puppy with your underwear and get a laundry basket with a fixed lid.
- Excess packaging
Chances are you've bought something online that's come with far more cardboard packaging than necessary. Or as I like to see it - free puppy training resources. We play in it, on it, around it, and treat treasure hunt. For treat treasure hunt let your puppy sniff out treats that you've scattered into an open box. Once they've learnt the game you can up the difficulty level and make it a bit harder for them to get in the box. Big cardboard boxes can also be pretty noisy and move around, so this all helps build confidence in your puppy. Empty egg boxes and rinsed out milk cartons can also be used for treat treasure hunt. Word of warning - don't let your puppy play this game unsupervised, cardboard and plastic may be close behind dirty underwear in the list of puppies favourite foods.
- Pee and Poo diary
This is for if you are toilet training your puppy. You don't to buy a £15 posh diary for this one, any sheet of paper will do. For 48 hours write down the time for every single pee and poo your puppy does. You could also add a few extra details such as the time your puppy was asleep, time they eat and drank, and time they were playing. Essentially - you are collecting data so you can work out the pattern to when your puppy needs to go outside to toilet. Don't try and rely on your memory to track this, writing it down is so much easier and especially important if there is more than 1 person in the household. Your spouse will love nothing more than discussing the poo diary with you, especially if you mention it over dinner. They certainly love it more than standing in an indoor poop.
- Head torch
Many of those trips out into the garden in my lovely Crocs were in the dark. I much appreciated having my hands free for picking up the puppy, rewarding the puppy, praising the puppy, cleaning up after the puppy. To help with this, I recommend a headtorch. You can get them really cheap among camping supplies. I also used my head torch indoors in the middle of night. When my puppy was 8 weeks old she needed a wee around 4.00am. I found using the headtorch rather than switching the big lights on allowed me to stay semi-asleep (and maybe the same for the puppy) so after the night-time excursion I could back to sleep quicker. Hurrah.
- Microwaveable beanbag
Following the last outdoor toilet-visit pre-bedtime, and after any night-time toileting visits to the garden I found myself quite chill, and this hindered getting to sleep. The puppy also felt a bit chill. I figured she was much more likely to go to sleep if she felt comfortable so I used a microwaveable beanbag that I put in her crate to cuddle up to. She seemed to appreciate it. And while you are at it, do one for yourself as well, much easier to get to sleep without cold feet. Even if it's not particularly cold outside your puppy will be used to cuddling up to the warm bodies of their littermates so it is good to replicate this. Words of caution: Make sure the beanbag/hot water bottle isn't too hot, and don’t use anything your puppy shows any inclination to chew or eat.
And there we have it - 6 items to make you and your puppy's lives simpler. You may notice there was a strong connection to toileting, sleeping and chewing. Welcome to the world of puppy ownership.
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