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We are getting a Puppy - What do we need?

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

You're probably excited about your puppy arriving soon, but soon you might be feeling anxious too as you think about all the things you still need to do to prepare for the puppy's arrival. It isn't very clear, and the possibilities of puppy gear are overwhelming.


Dogitivity dog trainer christina Bluhme and black labrador puppy
Dogitivity, Dog Training Surrey

Christina Bluhme

I'm a dog lover, a dog sports enthusiast and a dog trainer based in Surrey, UK. Also, I started this blog as I love sharing relevant, practical puppy and dog training tips. I am the founder of Dogitivity Positive Puppy and Dog Training, Surrey, UK.


Puppy Checklist - The ultimate puppy shopping guide.

Vizla Puppy
Dogitivity, Dog Training Surrey

Here is my puppy shopping list for you who expect a new furry family member.

"The Puppy Checklist" is a great way to keep track of things you need to do to prepare for your pup. I have organised the list into three parts: the weeks before and the days after.

Download Puppy Checklist

Table of content

Puppy Bed

The Weeks Before

The weeks before will be your time to get you set up, so you'll want to start thinking about where your puppy will sleep at night and where he will spend his time during the day. Most of my puppy clients choose the kitchen, which is often the room in our house where we spend the most time. It's easier to teach your puppy to sleep in the room you are planning for him to be in in the future rather than getting him out of your bed later.

Are you ready to get started?

Labrador Retriever puppy in a crate, snuggle puppy, puppy chew, puppy bed, dog water bowl
Dogitivity, Dog Training Surrey

Snuggle puppy comforter

This puppy advice will help your puppy feel safer with you away from his mom and littermates during the first days. When your visit your future puppy the first time, bring the snuggle puppy and leave it in the whelping box for the whole litter to play with.

When you bring your puppy home, remember the Snuggle Puppy, the scent of the littermates, the pounding heart and the warm body will help your puppy tremendously in the first days.


Finding a vet that you and your puppy trust, one who is knowledgeable and gentle in the approach of handling your puppy, is one of the most important decisions you will make for your puppy. Know that veterinarians are busy people, and many are closed for new patients.

Do your research by looking at reviews asking your neighbours and local dog-related Facebook groups who they would recommend. When you have found the perfect vet, it is time to get your puppy signed up; it is not time to do this type of research in an emergency.

Within the first few weeks after your puppy has arrived, you will need to take him to the vet for a wellness appointment and vaccination.

Puppy Training

The first three months with a puppy are the hardest. Establishing a daily routine, potty training, and teaching your puppy not to bite is challenging. In the first three months, you build your future adult dog's behaviour. Raising a puppy can be tricky, especially during the socialisation period where your puppy is sensitive, and new experiences can have a lifelong impact. Check the Dogitivity Puppy Training Program

You might wonder how to find the right dog trainer? The dog training industry is unregulated, and everybody can call themselves a dog trainer even if they haven't the appropriate knowledge and skills.

Find your puppy trainer at, The Animal behaviour and training Counsel, where: "ABTC Practitioners must use science-led, compassionate and non-punitive methods. Training and Behaviour programmes must not be based on Positive Punishment or the creation of anxiety or fear". Your guarantee for finding a reward-based and well-educated puppy trainer.

Pet Insurance

Pet insurance exists to protect you against unexpected costs related to your puppy. Finding the right insurance company prices differ is very tricky, but so do quality and customer experiences. Do your research, use Trustpilot and ask your veterinarian; you will find that they can quickly tell you which companies are ready to support you and which are not.

Poster with text: Download your puppy checklist
Dogitivity, Dog Training Surrey

Puppy Crate and Playpen

Honestly, getting a puppy is practically a full-time job, especially in the first months. A puppy crate and a puppy playpen is a very safe space when you aren't available to supervise your puppy, when you need a break or when you practice "alone home training".

It is super important that your puppy feels comfortable in his dog crate and that you are introducing the crate training slowly and with a gentle approach, but that's a topic for another blog.

You will be amazed at how easy it is to find preloved dog crates and puppy playpens online. Remember that you most likely only need the set-up for the first few months of your puppy staying with you.

It is essential to choose a crate that has the right size for your puppy; dog crates for puppies should provide them with the possibility of movement, lying down, standing up and most importantly, growing in. Most dog crates are collapsible, making them very easy to bring when you spend time with your puppy away from home.

Ensure your puppy with a bed, toys, a potty area, plenty of space, and fresh drinking water. Are you curious about how to organise the perfect set-up for your puppy? Read more.

black labrador retriever puppies in a puppy pen with a natural potty area
Dogitivity, Dog Training Surrey

Puppy Bed

It would be best if you chose the correct size puppy bed: small enough for your puppy to feel protected and big enough for a leg stretch. A good mattress sufficiently padded and a washable dog bed is preferable; as your puppy grows and might like to chew on the fabric, consider buying an affordable bed that you can change as your puppy grows.

Puppy Food

High-quality puppy food is an excellent investment in your dog's health. Several of the dreaded bone disorders are associated with deficient nutrition. Initially, I recommend that you continue using the same food as the puppy breeder; most responsible breeders will provide you with a bag of food for your puppy.

Later you can consider if there are better alternatives out there. Be prepared; making decisions regarding dog food is complicated. It is easy to pay an insane price for hyped, low-quality dog food. Start your research at, which provides consumers with independent dog food reviews. Essential, Acana and Orijen are some of my favourite goto brands.

Puppy Pee Enzyme Cleaning spray (Stain and odour remover)

For removing urine, if your puppy has an accident on the floor, you must remove all scent traces from the urine; use a specific enzyme spray that eliminates bacteria and odours.

Read also:

red dog collar with red heart name tag
Dogitivity, Dog Training Surrey

Puppy Collar and Name Tag

Don't go big on the puppy collar. Your puppy grows rapidly, so choose a cheap soft, adjustable collar. The puppy collar is essential as it is where the nametag is attached. You can buy the name tag online ahead of time. By Uk law, dog owners must display their name, address, phone number and postcode on the name tag.

Dog Lead

You need two types of dog leads: I recommend 120-150cm for the city walk, avoid cheap nylon, as it is very hard on your hands. I love the Mendota leads; absolutely the best puppy lead with a high-quality brass carabiner. They are light and soft in hand. Next, you need a puppy recall training lead; a 10m training lead is what you need in the woods until you have trained the perfect recall. My favourite is a biothane dog training lead that is super easy to clean.

Do you want to learn how to build a Rocket Recall? Then this blog is exactly what you need.

The Days after

Black labrador with a balance harness and dog name tag
Dogitivity, Dog Training Surrey

Dog Harness

When you buy a harness for your puppy, you must find one that does not inhibit your puppy's movements, and again be aware that your puppy is growing and that the harness does not last forever. The Perfect Fit harness is Y-shaped and adjustable. You can buy parts individually for the harness to adapt to your puppy's development.

dog training equipment, a dog training pouch, dog training treats, clicker for dog training
Dogitivity, Dog Training Surrey

Clicker and Dog Training Pouch

Undoubtedly, the clicker is one of the most important tools in reward-based training. Are you ready to start training your puppy? This blog is for you who are new to clicker training.

In addition to your clicker, you will need some delicious healthy dog treats and a treat pouch for Clicker training.

Dog toys

I don't use dog food bowls for my dogs; instead, I use interactive feeding toys. My absolute favourite is a puppy Kong, and I always store frozen stuffed Puppy Kongs in the freezer. Bob-a-lot is another of my favourite choices for keeping my pups entertained. Not so long ago, I wrote a blog post about how you can keep your dog busy and enriched by spending only 5 minutes a day; read more.

Prevent your puppy from chewing on shoes and furniture by making sure you have plenty of chewable puppy toys in stock. Forget about Nylabones and rubber toys in general. Instead, use stuffed puppy friendly soft toys and natural chews.


Start early with your puppy; Slowly get them used to having their feet, ears, and teeth touched and looked at. When they are tired, use a brush to brush their back gently. Small steps your puppies experience handling at this age can affect how they will feel about grooming in the future. You will need an ear cleaner solution, toothbrush, hypoallergenic puppy shampoo, brush/comb, and nail trimmer. The best nail trimmer on the market is Millers Forge; it is cheap, practical, and handy.

I wish you a wonderful journey with your new family member.

All the best

Christina x

* Dogitivity is an Amazon affiliate. I earn a small percentage of the sales prices of the products linked to with no additional cost for you. I only recommend products that I use and like.

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Christina Bluhme

I'm a dog lover, a dog sports enthusiast and a dog trainer based in Surrey, UK. Also, I started this blog as I love sharing relevant, practical puppy and dog training tips. I am the founder of Dogitivity Positive Puppy and Dog Training, Surrey, UK.

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