Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting moment for the whole family. And along with lots of love and cuddles, there are a few items you’ll need to add to your puppy shopping list.
New York City dog trainer Shelby Semel tells Yahoo Lifestyle that a few basic items are all it takes to help make your new puppy feel welcome and set them up for success. Semel says that “having things to keep them busy, getting them the right amount of exercise and training,” will also help your furry friend settle in and feel right at home.
Below she shares her top 10 must-haves to add to your puppy shopping list.
1. Exercise Pen
First thing’s first: Designate an area for your new pup and keep them within that space using a pen. “I like exercise pens that are metal because you can also use it to block off an area,” says Semel. She notes that this style allows for multiple configurations when you want to open up more of the area to your pup, and can be easily stored away when Fido is ready to be left alone.
2. Wire Crate
Semel recommends placing a wire crate within the pen, which you can cozy up with fluffy blankets and toys for comfort. She adds that a metal crate gives owners the ability to see their pup and the option to add a cover if your dog is more at ease in a cave-like space. When it comes to size she says, “when they’re full-grown they should be able to stand and turn around comfortably, so even if it’s a little big when they’re smaller, most crates come with a divider so you can set it up for them to stand and turn when they’re puppies.”
3. Doggy camera
“I think a lot of times puppies can have issues when you’re not home and you find out when it’s too late, whether it’s through neighbor complaints or when something gets torn up,” says Semel. “A puppy camera is really helpful so that you can check in to make sure they’re resting comfortably and not getting into trouble.”
4. Bitter Apple Spray
“If your puppy is chewing on furniture or hands and feet, spraying this once or twice a day is usually a deterrent for most puppies,” explains Semel. “I like the apple one the best because if you spray it on [human] skin it doesn’t feel sticky or gross.”
5. Interactive Toy
Semel says interactive toys are great for keeping your pup busy, whether you’re away or just want to watch a movie. “I love this one because you can put kibble or treats inside,” she adds. “You can stick it in the crate or pen to create a positive association, too.”
6. Bully Sticks
Speaking of keeping your puppy busy, Semel says stocking up on your pup’s favorite bully sticks, flossies or marrow bone is always a good idea to switch things up. “You want to always have a delicious snack that they can safely chew for when you want a solid 30 to 40 minutes of downtime.”
“I like to have treats that come in tiny pieces during your puppy’s training phase so you can keep them in your pocket without making a mess,” she says of having treats on hand to reward good behavior.
8. Nature’s Miracle cleaner
Accidents happen, but luckily Nature’s Miracle can save the day. “I use a lot of this — just clean up the mess, spray away, dab it and then let it air-dry,” says Semel who adds that the trick is to be generous with how much you spritz.
9. Slow feeder
“The slow feeder is great because it will help your dog avoid shoveling lots of food in his mouth, ” says Semel. “It’s also great to pair feeding time with pen time to create a positive association.”
10. Stuffless toys
Stuffed toys are great — until your living room is covered in stuffing. “Stuffless toys are a great alternative, especially if your dog is the type who loves to carry a toy around. Plus, you can play tug or fetch with it,” says Semel.