A new dog can be a major source of stress for an unprepared owner.  Help your new friend make a quick and easy transition into your home by procuring a few essential tools  in advance.  The following items are must haves for the average dog owner’s tool kit.  A little preparation will help ensure that your “honeymoon” does not end on a sour note.


Useful for potty training and curbing destructive behaviors, an appropriately sized crate allows just enough room for your dog to turn around in and lie down comfortably.  If you have a puppy chose a crate that is big enough for a full grown dog but place a divider or large box in the crate to minimize the room he has.

Collar and Leash

Choose a sturdy well fitted buckle collar or martingale collar. Tighten until you  can just slide your palm between the collar and your dog’s neck.  Choose collars made with sturdy metal hardware as plastic clasps fatigue more quickly and can fail under pressure.  Use a comfortable non-retractable 4 to 6 foot leash that has smooth edges.  A 20-30 foot leash is helpful for advanced training.


Metal tags can attach to a collar or harness and are great if your dog gets loose while wearing them.  More permanent forms include microchips or tattoos.  Microchip clinics are routinely held throughout the area.

High Quality Food and Treats

Look for kibble with a simple ingredient list and whole single source proteins.  Avoid food and treats that list high fructose corn syrup, by-products, grains, corn, preservatives, coloring and other additives in the top 5 ingredients.  When possible home prepared meals recommended by a canine nutritionist are best.

Dog Bed

Have a comfortable place for your dog to rest in an out of the way area in the main rooms your family frequent.  A trash liner or mattress protector can be placed over the insert to prevent for easy cleaning.  Towels or thin bedding can provide a mobile and comfortable place for your dog to rest when away from home.

dog with kong chew toy

Toys and Chews

Puzzle toys like the Kong® Wobbler can help burn excess energy during meal times.  Kong® Classics can be stuffed soft spreads to help keep your dog occupied at other times.  Deer antler provide a great outlet for chewing.  Remove high valued items between training sessions and supervision is recommended for soft toys or ropes.

A well behaved dog is set up for success by the intentional actions of a proactive owner.