Sunday, February 9, 2014

Paw-sitively Fabulous: New Puppy Guide

As the Polar Vortex continues to bring chilly temperatures all over the East Coast, many people seem to be making the decision to warm up their homes and their hearts with a new four legged family member.

Along with the major responsibility of new puppy ownership, the sheer number of items needed can be daunting. I have often heard having a pup is like having a new baby (even from people WITH babies!), so I decided to put together a list of the products Holly & I couldn't have lived without during our new puppy phase!

1. Four Paws Wee Wee Pads:

Look, it's not the most glamourous part of pup parenting, but the fact of the matter is depending on the age of your pup, you may just find yourself house training (or at least getting the occasional carpet "present") for the first few weeks after you bring your fur baby home. Holly had a major aversion to going to the bathroom outside for the first month or so after I rescued her, but she was very diligent about using her Wee Wee pads (a lot of rescues and some breeders will pre train pups to these pads, which have a built in enzyme that tells them this is the place to go!). Not only did these save my carpet at the time, they still come in handy in my New York apartment if Holly has an emergency in the middle of the night.

We advise to go with the 100 or 150 pack and subscribing on Amazon or This is one thing you don't want to run out of!
2. Petco Collapsible 2 Door Crate & Pendleton Blankets:

People have different opinions on crates for pups, but after doing extensive research about how new puppies like to have a space of their own, I decided to have Holly crated initially. The key to crate training is not to leave your puppy for more than a few hours at a time (I have a dog walker who comes to take Holly out halfway through the day for an hour long romp, which not only helps keep her weight healthy but leaves her nice and tired until I come home), and to make the crate a happy, secure place. Holly loves her crate so much we have brought it with us on road trips so she has a "home base" in a new location--and whenever she gets nervous or insecure, it's the first place she heads to. Now we leave the doors open and keep her in a baby gated section of the apartment, but often I will come home and she is sound asleep in her crate anyway!

We went through several types of bedding (Holly will chew or shred bedding when she gets bored or nervous, and most plush bedding is dangerous when ingested), before discovering the one thing impervious to Little Holly's Big Teeth. It may be non conventional, but we have been using blankets from Pendleton Woolen Mills to line Holly's crate for several months now, and coupled with a more vigorous walk routine, the destruction of bedding has come to an end! For a less expensive but still durable option, I recommend checking out your local Army/Navy supply store for vintage woolen camp blankets. They are made from the same thick wool as Pendleton's blankets and can even be thrown in the washing machine so long as you don't mind a bit of shrinking!

Pendleton blankets may seem pricey for pup bedding, but compared to the cost of buying a new bed every few days they seem very reasonable!

3. The Art of Raising a Puppy by The Monks of New Skete:

Largely considered one of the best books on early pup training on the market, and written by some of the most respected breeders and trainers of puppies in the nation, The Art of Raising a Puppy goes into detail about each of the stages of puppyhood and describes how best to ensure your pup grows up into a secure, well mannered adult. I enjoyed reading it because I was able to see how some of Holly's difficult behaviors early on may have been a result of her having been a stray separated from her mother (puppies learn a lot of behaviors from their parents as they grow up); and made me even more in awe of her happy go lucky persona given her tough start!

The Monks use story of one litter to help explain stages of puppyhood clearly.
4. Oster Gentle Paws Cordless Nail Trimmer:

I am very nervous about the possibility of hitting Holly's quick when I trim her nails, but I also know the serious health risks that can come with letting her nails get too long. That's why I was thrilled to discover this product from Oster, which features a motorized grinder that rapidly files down your pup's nails rather than trimming them. The plastic safety guard further ensures you won't get too close to the quick. I keep mine by the bed and give Holly a quick paw-dicure while we watch TV in the evening!

5. Pawz Dog Booties:

We have a huge amount of salt on the streets right now thanks to the Polar Vortex bringing tons of snow to the East Coast, and in addition to being drying, stinging, and irritating to your pup's paws, it can be poisonous when ingested. All in all, it's not something I want Holly to come into frequent contact with, so we use these tiny balloon like booties to protect her little feet on her walks. I will warn you: from my experiences and those I have had with other puppy parents I have encountered, these are not something your pup will immediately adapt to. Since they are made of plastic, I am sure they feel a little funny on their paws, but rest assured that with a little time and a lot of patience your fur baby will be prancing through the snow and getting compliments left and right on their snazzy footwear! Pro tip: we had our local Petco trainer help with the sizing so we knew they were just right.

Little Holly loves how many compliments she gets on her orange booties! 
6. Firefighter Pet Rescue Stickers:

Essentials if you live in an apartment, these inexpensive adhesives let local rescue teams know that you have an animal inside and who to contact (you, your vet, etc) in the event of an emergency. I hope that mine never get put to use, but it brings me peace of mind knowing they are there when I am not.

7. Petco Puppy Training Courses:

Words cannot describe how much Holly and I have loved our time in Petco's Puppy Training Courses. We began with the basics in Puppy 1 and had so much fun bonding and working together that we are now enrolled in our fourth level, the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen prep course. Apart from providing a useful foundation of tricks and skills for puppyhood, the courses also give us a chance to work together and to have playtime with other owners and pups for an hour each week. Holly loves "school" so much she will whine when we are in the vicinity of our local Petco and try to pull me inside, even if we don't have class that day (FYI, this kind of behavior is NOT what we are supposed to be encouraging...haha!). In fact, the only thing Holly seems not to enjoy about school is the graduation hat I purchased for her on Etsy--or maybe she looks so unhappy in her grad pics because she knows the fun is over!

Do you have any new puppy must haves? 

Until Next Time, Darlings!

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