So you’ve made the leap and decided to bring home a puppy! Congratulations! Hopefully this was a well thought-out, carefully made decision that everyone in the family was on board with. Hopefully you did your research and knew well in advance what you were getting yourself into before falling head over heels for a sweet little fluffball. Hopefully you chose a breed or mix that truly suits your lifestyle. And hopefully you have loads of patience.

Puppies are such a tremendous commitment and the quickest ways to get in over your head are to 1) make impulsive decisions, and 2) have unrealistic expectations. It can be a hard pill to swallow, but most of the time puppies aren’t to blame for their alleged problems – owners are. Owners don’t learn how to effectively communicate with their dog. Owners get lazy with housebreaking routines. Owners expect the new puppy to behave just like a dog from their past. In short, as owners, we can easily be rather unfair to brand new puppies, whether we realize we’re doing so or not.

Being consistent, diligent, and patient will make the journey through puppyhood a bit smoother, but that’s not to say there won’t still be challenges. Luckily, being well-equipped with the right tools can make things a little bit easier. Below, I’ve put together a list of my Top 20 items and supplies to survive puppyhood.

If you’ve already pieced together most or all of this collection, good for you! You and your new addition are off to a fabulous start. If you’re still missing some of these items, it may be worth your time to do some more research and perhaps invest in a couple of new tools. Your puppy will thank you!

What are your must-have items when it comes to surviving puppyhood?

Taylor Herr IACP-CDT
Director of Training