New Puppy Supplies –
What a Puppy Needs

Things to ask from our breeder –

  1. A blanket with smells from our puppy’s litter-mates and mother.
  2. Some of our puppy’s current food, so that we can slowly transition him over to his new diet.
  3. A favorite toy, so that he will have something familiar to play with, while he is getting used to his new surroundings.

1. New Puppy Supplies – Crate


Crating is important for a variety of dog issues, including puppy potty training and destructive chewing.

I get a crate that is large enough to accommodate my dog when he is full-grown. Initially, I put in a divider or a box, to make the crate smaller. Dogs do not like soiling in their sleeping area, therefore, by making the crate smaller, we discourage puppy from soiling inside it.

Put the smelly blanket and toy we got from our breeder, inside the crate. Puppy will feel safer and more relaxed, amid the smells of his litter-mates. Just make sure that the toy is chew-safe, and our puppy is unable to break-off or swallow little pieces of toy, which may be a choking hazard.

Some people think that crating is cruel for the dog.

Crating is only cruel if we leave puppy in there for too long, and he is forced to soil his sleeping area. When properly introduced, a crate can become a safe den for our dog; a place where he goes to sleep, eat, and get some peace and quiet.

The general guideline for maximum crate time is 1 crate-hour per month of age.

For example, an 8-week-old puppy can be crated for a maximum of 2 hours during the day. It is usually best to crate for less time than that, especially if we are not home, so that there is a healthy margin for error. Here are more detailed crate times taken from the ASPCA.

Here is what the Humane Society of the United States and the American Dog Trainer’s Network have to say about crate training.

2. New Puppy Supplies – Food and Treats

Research our puppy’s current dog food.

  • Make sure it has a named meat as its primary ingredient. For example,
  • Chicken > Chicken meal > Poultry meal > Poultry by-products

  • Avoid food with artificial coloring, preservatives (e.g. BHA, BHT), or that contain too much filler material (e.g. corn hull).
  • Avoid any food with wheat or corn gluten. Here’s why.
  • Apply the same food ingredient rules to dog treats. Only get treats that do not contain unnecessary sugar, salt, or other additives. Split treats up into very small pieces so that we may reward puppy often, without overfeeding him.

If his current food does not meet these requirements, then find a higher quality kibble and slowly transition him over to the new food. Some good kibble brands include Innova, Orijen, Nature’s Variety Instinct, Wellness, and Blue Buffalo.

Start with 1/4 portion of the new kibble, and 3/4 portion of the old kibble. Do this for 3-4 days, and observe puppy’s stool and behavior. If everything is well, then do 1/2 new, and 1/2 old kibble, and so on.

Gradually switching over to the new kibble, will ensure the least amount of digestive issues with our puppy.

If we have a large breed puppy, it is important NOT to feed him food that is too high in protein. It is generally safest to use puppy food until he is almost fully grown (usually about 1 year). It may be longer for larger breeds, and shorter for smaller breeds.

I called up the food company and consulted with my vet, before switching my first dog over to an adult, high-protein kibble.

Here is more on different dog diets and dog treats.

3. New Puppy Supplies – Lots of Interactive Toys and Chew Toys!

Most puppies are high energy, and love to chew.

Get our puppy some good chew toys, and make sure to supervise and teach him, which items are good to chew on, and which are not puppy safe. Every time puppy chews on something unacceptable, no-mark him (Ack-ack) and redirect him onto a sanctioned toy. When he redirects onto the toy, make sure to reward him by playing with him.

In this way, puppy learns that some toys are a lot more fun and rewarding than others, and he will quickly abandon the uninteresting, non-sanctioned items.

Kongs are great chew toys for my dogs. We can even put food into Kongs, which will motivate puppy to play with them, and exercise his mind. I put wet dog food into Bubble Kongs, and then freeze them. These are fun for dogs, and great for teething puppies.


I am a great fan of interactive food toys.

Wild animals spend most of their time working for their food. Domestic dogs who get food presented to them in a silver bowl, often get hyper, because they lack the physical and mental exercise of working for their dinner.

A great way to keep an energetic puppy occupied, is by making him work for his food, either through obedience training exercises or through interactive food toys. Be creative and challenge puppy with a variety of food puzzles and commands, but make sure to always set him up for success. If we make ‘work‘ fun and rewarding, it will help build puppy’s confidence and keep him coming back for more.

Note – some chew toys can be dangerous to dogs.

Chew toys that are overly hard and have no give (e.g. processed white bones, processed deer antler, hooves) may crack our dog’s teeth. My Shiba Inu cracked one of his pre-molars while chewing on a deer antler from AntlerZ.

Chew toys such as rawhide, may become a choking hazard. Dogs can tear off large chunks of the material at once, and when swallowed, the material may obstruct their throat or intestines. Rawhide is also very water absorbent. They may expand while in the dog’s intestines, and cause further digestive distress.

Always supervise when we give puppy soft toys to play with, or to fetch. Soft toys frequently have plastic parts that may be chewed off, and swallowed. Many squeaker toys contain plastic squeakers that can also be swallowed. These various toy parts, may become a choking hazard and cause digestive issues.

Here are a list of interactive food toys that have worked well for my dogs.

4. New Puppy Supplies – Grooming



Like walking, grooming is something we will have to do almost everyday with our dog, for the rest of his life. Therefore, it is important to make grooming into a fun and rewarding experience.

Some useful grooming supplies

  • Soft brush. Depending on breed, we may later want to switch over to the Furminator.
  • Nail clipper and styptic powder. I prefer using a nail grinder (Dremel Minimmite) on my Shiba Inu because he is very sensitive to clipping.
  • Small toothbrush and dog toothpaste.
  • Dog wipes or shampoo in case puppy gets into something smelly.

Try to be very patient while grooming puppy, and do not rush the process. Many dogs become fearful of grooming because they are forced to endure it, rather than taught to enjoy it. Instead of using physical force, go slowly and reward puppy for working with us on a combined task.

Here are some tips on how to clean puppy’s teeth from home, and make it into a fun joint activity.

Note – Do not shampoo puppy too often. Brushing is the best way to remove most surface dirt. Shampooing too often, for example less than once per month, may cause our dog’s skin to dry out and his coat to become unhealthy.

5. New Puppy Supplies – Puppy Activities


Two key activities puppy will be engaged in initially, include potty training and leash training.

Some useful potty training supplies

  • Enzymatic pet cleaner for potty accidents.
  • Puppy pads for situations where puppy is alone, and may not have outside access.

Other useful puppy supplies

  • Stainless steel food and water bowls. Some ceramic bowls may contain lead in their glaze. Plastic water bowls may be chewed, can be easily knocked over during play, and provides a more conducive environment for bacterial growth.
  • Collar and leash. Get a 6 foot regular leash for walking. Retractable leashes do not give us enough control, during the training process. They are most appropriate for dogs that are already leash trained.

I use a 6 foot leather leash for walking my dog. Leather leashes are very durable, and comfortable on the hands.

I also use the Premier Martingale collar during walks. For smaller dogs, consider using a harness instead of a collar, so as not to accidentally hurt their neck.

I size the Martingale collar so that at its tightest, it is the size of a regular flat collar. I like the Premier collar because it is thick, sturdy, and not susceptible to breaking or slipping-out. However, as with other training collars, they are only appropriate under supervision. They should be removed after the walk, or whenever our dog is off-leash.

Note – Do not perform leash jerks or leash corrections on puppies. Even traditional trainers do not recommend using leash corrections on dogs, until they are at least 16 weeks of age. In general, any physical corrective methods are inappropriate for young puppies, including alpha rolls.

Only use reward training techniques on puppies. If we want to switch to aversive training methods, wait until the dog is older, or we will risk hurting him mentally and physically.

6. New Puppy Supplies – Dog Bed


Many people get designer soft beds for their dogs. However, while most people do prefer soft beds, this is not necessarily the case for dogs.

The bed that has worked very well for both my dogs, are elevated outdoor beds. I have two outside, and one inside.

During cold weather, the dogs will curl up on the carpeted landing, or in front of the fireplace. During warm weather, they like sleeping on the elevated bed, or on the tiled floor areas.

Soft beds were just looked upon as chew toys, and not as beds :)

During the puppy stage, there may also be potty mistakes on the bed. It is extremely difficult to get all the smell out of soft bedding, which can further encourage more mistakes. Therefore, it may be best to hold off on the soft beds, until puppy is fully house trained.

I also have a cool bed (water bed) for my Siberian Husky, which I put in her crate. If we have a thick-coated or double coated dog breed, the cool bed can help to cool things down during hot days and nights.

Make sure to get a bed with removable, washable covers. The beds frequently get a lot of fur and dirt on them, and it is a lot easier to just remove and wash the covers.

7. New Puppy Supplies – Conclusion

Most of all, make sure we have a good supply of humor and patience.

A puppy is a crazy ball of energy, and can be a highly destructive force.

Humor and patience will be needed to redirect that energy into positive areas, and away from the Dark Side.

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Comments

  1. Danielle says

    This was SO HELPFUL!! I’m in the process of adopting a Siberian Husky puppy that will be coming home late November and am trying to do as much research as possible! I’ve never bought a dog from a private party or a breeder before (just a shelter)…I read a lot of sites about what I need to ask the breeder but do you have any tips on what I should be asking?

  2. Molly says

    My female dog Lola (a lovely Golden Retriever aged 2) keeps on jumping up on me when I put the lead on her and giving her a tip on her nose doesnt seem to work. I dont want to slap her and all i want is to get her not to jump up, you see she puts her paws up so she can pull down the lead and it get tangled on her paws. Its so distressing so please have an answer for me. Thank you.

  3. HMagoncia says

    Hi, thank you for your very informative site, I’m looking for help on deciding for a crate size for a full-grown male shiba http://www.amazon.com/Petnation-Firstrax-Port-A-Crate-Indoor-Outdoor/dp/B0007IOYIE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1372337962&sr=8-1&keywords=Firstrax+Port-A-Crate+E2+Indoor%2FOutdoor+Pet+Home%2C+36-Inch I ordered the largest one and was wondering if it will be too large as there are other sizes for ~30lb pets. Your help is greatly appreciated.

  4. Hannah says

    Hi there :) My Jack Russel puppy (Sasha) is allergic to grass. She gets a pink/red rash on her tummy, under her arms and by her feet. She loves to play in it so we can’t just take her away from it. We have tried putting on a jearsey but that drove her insane. She is about 5 months now. She never stops scratching and I feel so sorry for her and am trying to find out what can help her but have no luck :( Love Han

  5. Colleen says

    As much as I’m still in love with Cha Cha (and the poor thing is still available), my husband is not fond of Pitbulls. So Reptar has not met Cha-Cha. I just want to adopt all the SPCA dogs and rescue dogs!

    I guess you could say we’re not actively looking at this moment. Thats usually when you end up finding the right pup, though. With Reptar, we got him in October because we just fell in love with him. We hadn’t planned on getting a dog until the following Spring (which is right now). Until then, we’ll just keep playing with his best dog friends.

    I saw an Akita the other day on a walk with Reptar! That was the first time I saw real dog of that breed and boy they sure are beautiful too. Our obedience class instructor said she had 3 Shibas in her play group last week. We were not able to make it to that play group, hopefully this week we will and will meet some other Shibas. The last week that we went to play group, Reptar was getting to know a little Chihuahua, they were smelling each other and then the next thing I knew, Reptar marked him. EEEEK! I’m a little nervous to bring him back there but he loves going there to run around and play with the other dogs! I may just have to make an extra effort to keep him away from tiny dogs.

    • shibashake says

      The last week that we went to play group, Reptar was getting to know a little Chihuahua, they were smelling each other and then the next thing I knew, Reptar marked him.

      LOL – that is so Shiba. They are such scamps and will always push the boundaries.

      I saw an Akita the other day on a walk with Reptar!

      Yeah I also love the way Akitas look. One of my neighbors has a Shiba and an Akita. They make a lovely pair while walking together. According to my neighbor, her Akita is very friendly with people but a lot more iffy with other dogs. She says that the Akita is very particular about her space and doesn’t like dogs coming in uninvited with the yip-yaps.

      I just want to adopt all the SPCA dogs and rescue dogs!

      Yeah – I feel the same way. Have you watched the show DogTown on NatGeo? It is one of my favorite shows. Another neighbor of mine goes there every few months to volunteer. Ultimately, it would be great to move somewhere close to an animal sanctuary and just hang out with a whole bunch of dogs.

  6. Colleen says

    There is a litter of Sibes here and my-oh-my they are adorable! Reptar attends a play group session with a 3 mos old Sibe and she is just a clumsy affectionate playful thing . I would absolutely love to have that breed in my life however at this point in time, I do not think I have the energy and availability to give to keep up. So thanks for sharing so many pictures of both of them, I love looking at their pictures! Both Shania and Sephy seem to tell stories with their facial expressions. Every picture they are saying something different.

    Our second dog search is crawling. We’re looking first to get a dog from a shelter, SPCA. We happened to find Reptar in the local online newspaper, did our research on the breed and then went to see the little guy. There is a Pitbull named Cha Cha (http://www.niagaraspca.org/4716Cha%20Cha%20001.jpg)at a local SPCA that I’ve fallen in love with however I do not think a Shiba and a Pitbull would be a good fit/match. Especially with Cha Cha’s special needs. I’ve been known to be wrong before however, we are still just beginning the search. We have a lot to consider, especially after reading your Second dog post.
    Thanks!

    • shibashake says

      Cha Cha looks absolutely adorable. I also read her page on the spca site.

      The nervousness will probably make it challenging in the beginning especially with a no-fear Shiba :) But she is such a beautiful and sweet looking girl.

      With Sephy, at first I thought he would be too much for Shania because he comes on pretty strong. However, he turned out to be a very goofy fellow who lets Shania do whatever she wants and lets her win. Sometimes it is difficult to predict how two dogs will interact with each other.

      Has Cha Cha met Reptar?

      When I first got Sephy I didn’t have a backyard so one thing that really helped was to exercise him at the SPCA. We arranged these dog play sessions with them, where one of their trainers was present and helped us with dog-to-dog socialization training.

      Sephy really loved meeting all the friendly dogs at the SPCA. It was great because the staff there helped pick dogs that suited his personality and he had a blast playing with all the different dogs.

      Good luck with the search. When the right dog comes along, Reptar will pick her out :)

  7. Colleen says

    I just have to say that I cannot get enough of Shania! That first picture on this post is my favorite puppy picture ever! Her expression is priceless!

    • shibashake says

      LOL – yeah we always laugh at Shania’s expressions. Sometimes she looks fierce because of her mask.

      Sibes are a great breed and in many ways, easier to take care of compared to the Shiba. The two key challenges I have found with Shania are –
      1. Crazy level of energy. She needs a lot of exercise and she is still going and going. She plays with Sephy, we go for 2+hour walks, and she is still active and hunting for critters in the backyard!
      2. She likes to pull, pull, pull. Leash training is a lot more of a challenge with her.

      How are you? How are things going with the second dog search?

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