Whether you've just brought home your first-ever puppy or are a seasoned dog owner, having a list of items to refer to when planning to add a new family member to your home can reduce a lot of stress. From itty-bitty, baby fluff-balls to massive, full-grown rescue adults, every dog has some equipment he ought to be able to call his own.
Collars and Tags
From very basic nylon buckle collars to extremely intricate, jeweled, hand-made leather collars, options for a collar are limitless, and it's easy to find one suitable for your dog's size, personality, style and flair. A collar is one of your pup's most important pieces of equipment. Not only does his collar serve as a lifeline back to you, it keeps him safe while you're out showing him the world. Make sure your pooch's collar is outfitted with a tag inscribed with your current address, phone number and email address.
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A good, sturdy leash allows your dog to explore the world outside his own yard with you safely at his side. Leashes come in a variety of styles, materials, strengths and designs, and there's one suitable for every dog walking, training and showing purpose under the sun. Choose one that you're comfortable with and that's suitable for the purpose you have in mind. Ensure the snap is sturdy and the leash is long enough to allow your canine friend a bit of room, but short enough to keep him out of trouble. Avoid retractable leashes for his safety and your own.
A crate provides your pup with a safe, secure spot to rest, sleep and enjoy quiet time on his own. It also allows you some peace of mind. While Fido is enjoying time in his crate, he's not destroying your couch, house or shoes. Begin crate training as soon as your puppy or dog comes home, so your pooch learns early on the crate is a safe place where fun things happen.
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Your dog needs a durable set of bowls for food and water. Stainless steel makes an excellent choice because it is easy to sanitize, difficult to destroy and relatively inexpensive. There are several varieties of bowls ranging from the plain, ol' standard bowl to slow-feed bowls that ensure your dog doesn't eat so quickly he throws up, as well as bowls with a flared base to keep them from tipping over.
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Toys are vitally important for your sanity, and your pup's mental and physical stimulation. With toys to call his own, your dog will learn to leave your pillows, shoes, socks and other personal items alone. Dogs have a deep-set biological need to chew, and toys help fulfill that desire in a safe way without costing you an arm and a leg. Additionally, toys help you exercise your dog and give him an outlet for all of his seemingly boundless energy.
Since 2001, Kea Grace has published in "Dog Fancy," "Clean Run," "Front and Finish" and an international Czechoslovakian agility enthusiast magazine. Grace is the head trainer for Gimme Grace Dog Training and holds her CPDT-KA and CTDI certifications. She is a member of the APDT and is a recognized CLASS instructor. She's seeking German certification from the Goethe Institut.