Copyright 2008 / Deborah Lee Miller-Riley, Monroe, Connecticut

My First Puppy’s

Shopping List


Expand Awareness and Knowledge with Books & Videos on Raising & Training a Puppy

First Week Comfort Ideas

Poison Prevention Knowledge

Get a Support Team


Wire Crate

Exercise Pen or Baby Gates

Food & Diet Knowledge



Harness up for walks

Grooming Supplies


Indoor and Outdoor Cleanup Tools

TOYS!  All kinds

  1. Books & Videos:  If you have not already done so,  get a book about your breed or breeds and a few books/videos on puppy training.  Visit for the best books and videos available - they have recommend reading lists for dog owners.  I like “starter” books by Dr. Patricia McConnell, Way To Go and The Puppy Primer, these are informative, easy to read booklets.

  1. Comfort:  New puppies are a joyful time for us, but separation from siblings, mom and familiar people and places is a time of great stress for a puppy entering a new home.  In wild dog families pups are not separated from the  pack until they are mature,  hunting with the adults begins around six months of age.  If someone tells you that you should isolate your new pup and let them scream - consider how traumatic this might be for a pup, a baby not able to survive on its own yet.  It is not natural for a puppy to be left alone.  Isolation, for some 8-12 week old pups, may actually cause undue emotional harm and suffering.  The new  baby will need your understanding, constant attention and a lot of patience as she learns to feel comfortable and safe with her new human pack.   If you work outside the home, consider taking a two week vacation to bond with, train  and  acclimate your pup to her new home and routines.

  1. Here are some ideas to reduce stress, increase bonding and help her acclimate:

  2. 1.Send the breeder an article of your clothing (smellier the better) and let the pup sleep/travel with it before coming to your home.  This will help her become familiar with your scent and associate it with the safety of her pack

  3. 2.Have the breeder give you a towel or blanket from the pups home saturated with scents from siblings & mom to comfort the pup in her new home.

  4. 3.Have the breeder send you some of the pups food and water (or use filtered bottled water) or give you a list of the  foods the pup is use to eating, as immediate changes in these can lead to an upset tummy and or diarrhea.

  5. 4.Have on hand and learn about flower essences ( Relocation, Special Stress or Tranquility formulas by  Place a few drops of formula in the pup’s water bowl to help the puppy adjust emotionally to the new environment.  Check out or speak with employees at Village Critter Outfitter’s, New Canaan or Earth Animal, Westport for more info.

  6. 5.For the first week or more  keep the pup in your presence at all times (this will help with training too) this includes placing her in a (cradle) crate near your bed at night so you can comfort her and be aware of her needs. 

  7. 6.Avoid constant activity , set limits for children (always supervise children with pup) as a young pup needs lots of rest.  

  1. Learn what is toxic to your puppy:  visit  Animal Poison Control Center for tips on poison prevention.  Know the phone number for your vet and the emergency center near you.  Put them on your speed dial.  Norwalk Emergency Vet and Referral Center  is: 203 854-9960. Take a drive there on a nice day so you know how to get there if you need to go in a real emergency. Foods that can be toxic to your pets:  Alcoholic beverages, Avocado, Chocolate,Coffee, Fatty foods,Macadamia nuts, Peanuts, Moldy or spoiled foods, Onions, Raisins and Grapes, Salt,  Yeast  dough, and some sweeteners like Xylitol.

  1. Line up a support team:  Breeder, Dog Trainer, Veterinarian, Groomer, Pet Sitter and experienced dog owners who have friendly dogs with whom you can share walks, questions and stories.

  2. for trainers;

  3. for Connecticut vets; 

  4. for holistic vets;


  1. A crate: There are different types of crates and different sizes.  I like wire crates that fold up - they are well ventilated, allow the puppy to see the room and allow me to see &  hear everything the pup is doing.  See for information.  Be sure to look at crate accessories and invest in a crate divider.  The divider panel will allow you to purchase a crate size for your pup’s expected adult size and then divide the adult crate to make it an appropriate size for your pup as she grows into an adult.  Crates should be large enough for your dog to stand up, turn around and lie comfortably on her side with legs out stretched.  For convenience consider purchasing two crates - one for your bedroom where your puppy will sleep at night and one for the kitchen or den for use during the day or for travel.  A professional trainer can help you with information on how to introduce your precious pet to a crate and time limits for crating.   A crate, like a play pen, is meant for use as a safe  place for rest, meals and play.

  1. Puppy gates:  Its important to protect and limit your puppy to a safe area of the house until she has been trained.  Puppy Proof Gates for doorways are a good way to protect your pup.  Another option is a puppy play pen that you can use in a room or outside on the lawn.  Remember the goal, as it is with human toddlers,  is to keep the  pup  under your supervision and to limit the opportunity for mischief.

  1. Food:  Initially you will feed your pup a familiar diet recommended by her breeder or the shelter until she is comfortable in her new home. After that you will need to make an educated choice about how and what your are going to feed your new addition to the family.  Food quality and bio availability are important to your dog’s long term health.  K9 diets can be home prepared  raw or cooked,  commercial frozen raw, cooked canned or  commercial dry like kibble.  These stores can help you with information and a selection of the best diets: and  My dogs are primarily fed frozen raw ground meat and store bought whole, fresh, raw meats, bones, and organs.    You can learn more about raw food diets at  or by doing a search for Raw Diets for Dogs.

  1. Food bowls: Avoid plastic, aluminum, and ceramic bowls that are not food rated.  Stainless steel and heavy, food safe, ceramic bowls are fine.

  1. A Leash: For your pup’s safety you will need to keep her on leash in most public areas.  Puppies do not inherently know  how to walk next to you, you must teach them  where they should walk, otherwise they may learn to pull on the leash.  Select a leash made of cloth, leather or nylon with a snap weight appropriate for the size of your pup.   Avoid using flexi leads and chains --  flexi leads tangle quickly and encourage pups to wonder further away from you, exposing them to danger. I use a soft, 6’,  leather lead  when teaching puppies to walk politely on a restraint.  A professional trainer can demonstrate and teach you fun ways to train your puppy to walk next to you.

  1. A Harness:  Thick, broad, nylon or leather collars are fine for adult dogs over 30 lbs, who have been taught to respect leash limits.  However, puppies are best restrained by a body harness and not a throat collar, which has the potential to damage the neck and throat.  A simple nylon, nonrestrictive, body harness that has snaps on both sides is the one I recommend. You do not need a No-Pull punishment based harness system for a puppy.   Most pet stores and online suppliers have regular harnesses for small dogs and puppies.  Remember collars and harnesses are a safety system - they should not be used to force, drag, or punish a dog. I do not recommend head halters, gentle leaders, for puppies.  Devices like a prong collar, training or choke collar, chains or an electric collar ARE NEVER APPROPRIATE FOR A PUPPY. Puppy walks are an adult responsibility, ALWAYS supervise a child who wants to help with a puppy walk, not only can a large puppy instantly pull a child into harms way, but children are often unaware of the degree of force they place on a pup’s body when then run or yank on the leash. Because children tend not to be effective at setting limits puppies can quickly learn inappropriate habits from children; cause damage or injure others; or ingest toxic or unsafe objects.

  1. Grooming supplies:  shampoo, (you do not need flea shampoo for a puppy unless your vet prescribes it) brushes and combs appropriate for your pup’s coat type, dog towels (I like white terry cloth), ear wash (not powders - I like Veterinarian’s Best ear wash) nail clippers and styptic powder, (have your groomer or vet show you how to use the clippers, styptic in case a nail is cut too close and how to keep ears healthy).  A grooming table is optional, but owning one is a real back saver.

  1. Bedding:  Consider bedding source for-  toxic dyes, chemicals, durability, washability, warmth, comfort  and fillings that may be dangerous to chewing puppies. Faux sheering is a lovely material for warmth, comfort and wicking away fluids like urine.  Bowser dog beds and mats are great too.  I prefer the mats for travel and puppy bedding since they are the easiest to wash and store.  New puppies may required several clean mats in a week. If you use a towel as bedding remember puppies find them easy to shred and cotton, when wet, can pull heat from a body.  Remove bedding that's frayed to prevent puppies from eating threads that might cause an intestinal problem.

  1. CLEANUP! Stain and odor remover for floors, crates, carpets: The  enzyme based cleaners (Nature’s Miracle and Petastic) are safest and do a good job at breaking down proteins in urine and vomit.  A  kennel spade and scoop or rake set will help with yard cleanups.  Also, consider using a small, conveniently placed, exterior container (like a 5 gal bucket with a top) for storing waste material until garbage pick up day.  Make sure you have plastic bags or mitts for k9 cleanups during dog walks too.  Your town and your neighbors will not appreciate puppy deposits on their property - Be kind and clean up behind!

  1. TOYS: Consider what dyes, chemicals or treatments are in/on toys that may be harmful to your pet. Organic plush toys are now on the market!  Sometimes quality is reflected in the price tag. Consider purchasing different kinds of toys, hard toys like Kong’s rubber toys for chewing, balls for chasing, toys that encourage exploration, creativeness and persistence and  plush toys with sound makers inside for interactive play sessions.  Do not leave toys down - they belong to you.  Give an appropriate chew toy to comfort a pup by herself and save plush toys for games with people.  Remember, plush, soft toys can be quickly shredded by sharp puppy teeth.  So, supervise puppies with plush toys and remove objects that could be swallowed. Shredding is okay - its natural and fun for puppies, just not always safe if your pup likes to eat non food articles.

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