New Puppy Must-Haves?

Hi everyone! I'm new here and am so happy to have found this wonderful community of doodle lovers! I'm adopting a mini ALD, expected to come home in February, but am already excitedly planning and shopping.

My family had a dog growing up, but this will be the first puppy I live with/raise as an adult and am quickly realizing there's SO MUCH more stuff out there for puppies than there was 20 years ago. Before I panic buy a bunch of stuff I'll never use, I wanted to ask you guys - the pros - what your must-have puppy items have been?

I'm already squared away with a crate and leash and all the "basics", but have been intrigued by the effectiveness of the Snuggle Puppy as a sleep aid and am reading about all the different types of harnesses available.

Thank you in advance for any thoughts/input you share regardign your favorite items! It's so appreciated and will certainly prevent me from drowning in a sea of Amazon and Chewy boxes ;)


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  • Smart! Congratulations on your February puppy to be! One of the best things I bought was a three drawer plastic drawer set large enough to house my shoes, when I brought my puppy home ten years ago. I have kept it all this time, because I knew there would be another puppy in my life. 

    • Thank you, Marianne! Such a smart and easy solution!

  • We never used anything like a Snuggle Puppy and both our dogs slept through the night within a couple nights of being home.  I know lots of people have had success with them but I don't find them necessary.

    A plain collar and leash is all you need (and should use) for training purposes.

    We got a Halti for Riley once she reached adulthood, we only use it sometimes (family walks when we have 2 kids to wrangle as well, or if I'm walking her because it gives me extra time to control her if she does pull).  With a smaller dog like yours will be (Riley is 72 lbs and built like a house) you likely don't need one ever.  We never needed any harness with our 40-lb Luna.

    Grooming supplies I would still have on hand even if I were having someone else groom my dog every 6 weeks or so:
    - slicker brush (for brushing daily/every few days depending on your dog's coat) and/or a pin brush like this one (I have this one and it's great, doesn't hurt their skin, Karen recommended it to me)   It also comes in a T-shape but I like my oval one.

    - greyhound comb (straight metal comb with different tooth spacings)
    - nail clippers (optional - you can take dogs in just for nail trims it isn't very expensive)
    - small round-tipped scissors (for face/feet trims in between big groomings and clipping off small mats you find)
    - puppy shampoo 

    Nature's Miracle spray - for cleaning up pee accidents and other puppy messes.  Seriously the stuff is awesome and I can't recommend it enough.  It removes the odour so that they won't choose that spot on purpose again.

    A variety of puppy-safe play objects (supervised play only!)
    - Chewing: Nylabone dura-bones (the hard kind - the soft type is not safe and an obstruction hazard), Kongs 

    *If puppy is teething* a good (very closely supervised) chew toy is a damp wash cloth that has been twisted up and frozen.  It seems to help soothe their gums and worrying at the washcloth can sometimes help loosen the baby teeth.

    - Interactive play:  Things like Hartz Dura-play squeaky bones (Riley LOVES these), big empty plastic bottles (I wash them out and then take off the sealing ring/cap) - they don't last long but puppies LOVE them.  You have to take them away if they start getting pieces off. Those have been favorites around here.  

    Realistically there are a lot of toys that are fine and safe if you are WITH them and watching them. Anything that starts to tear or pieces come off has to be taken away.


    That's all I can think of for now, good timing as I'm probably bringing home a puppy at the end of January myself.  Good reminder of what we'll need to find/buy for our 2nd pup!

    Happy shopping :) Chris Christensen 20mm Original Prin Brush
    Find Chris Christensen 20mm Original Prin Brush and more at
    • You know, I feel like I see harnesses everywhere on dogs of all sizes, whereas when I was a kid (in the 90s and not THAT long ago) our dog just had a collar and leash, as did all of my friends' dogs. I couldn't figure out if today's move towards harness walking was born from a genuine need to avoid walking dogs - regardless of size - on collars, or if it was just the trend at the moment.

      Glad to see that Nature's Miracle is still a puppy mainstay!! It really is a miracle!

      • I think it has to do with our busy lifestyles.  Teaching a dog proper loose-leash walking with a plain collar is time-consuming.  Our society is all about instant gratification these days and the no-pull harnesses can do that.

        • Makes sense! And also explains the rise of those puppy pee pads that people love. I'd rather just continue with "traditional" housebreaking instead of trying to teach both pad potty training and curbside potty training...but to each their own!

          PS: Riley is so stinkin cute!! What a beautiful pooch!

          • Do NOT by a flexileash - those ones that extend out forever.  They are dangerous and your dog will NEVER learn proper walking manners.

          • Thanks!  Riley is adorable and it's so hard to be mad at her lol.  She is a major troublemaker but that little face gets me every time.

            I agree pee pads are not a good way to potty train.  We have used them in the past though for when our puppies were very young and we had to be out at work all day.  We'd set up a few pee pads and a sleep area inside an ex-pen or small gated off area.  They're good for those types of situations when you can't let out the puppy every time they need it since you're not home or can't leave the room for whatever reason (these days if we're home with a new pup and in a remote meeting or something that will take hours).

    • I agree with J. No harness, no pee pads. Plain buckle collar, plain 6 foot leash. Nature's Miracle by the gallon. Stainless steel or ceramic bowls, no plastic bowls. Nylabone non-edible teething bones and toys. Kong makes some great sturdy puppy toys. 
      Of great importance: DO NOT CHANGE ANYTHING ABOUT THE PUPPY'S DIET FOR AT LEAST TWO WEEKS AFTER HE/SHE COMES HOME. Use the same food and treats the breeder was giving, even if they are not very good.  
      I like having two crates, one in the living area and one in my bedroom. Soft washable pads for the crates. I have never used snuggle puppies or other night-time "comfort" objects, but I've also only purchased puppies from breeders who trained them to sleep quietly at night in their own individual crate.s, and who didn;t send puppies home until 9-10 weeks.  I don;t think most doodle breeders do that. 

      • Thank you, Karen! The breeder I've selected allows pickup between 8-9 weeks and does work on crate training with the puppies, so I'm hopeful there will be at least a little bit of familiarity to work off of once pup is home with me.

        I've already scoped out some Nylabones which look infinitely better than the Booda Bones we used to use back in the day. (I don't think they're even available anymore, and I can't imagine they were any good for dogs!)

        Appreciate all these tips!!

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