Yesterday, I published an article online that is my sort of "Top Ten" list for positive puppy products -- a list of things that I wouldn't dare try to raise a puppy without. I thought perhaps it might be helpful to the puppy owners here on the forum, so I'm sharing the link in case anyone is interested. You can find the aticle here:
Thanks for looking!
Toys, toys and more toys! -- A puppy should have at least 15 different toys. Only keep about five down at a time and rotate which five toys are down every few days. This keeps things interesting for the puppy. Get a variety of toys – soft toys, rubber toys, toys that squeak, toys that rattle, toys that bounce, etc. Be careful with stuffed toys – some dogs like to “un-stuff” them and spread stuffing around the house! Online sites like Pet Edge
and King Wholesale
are great sources for inexpensive toys and other products. Keep the toys handy. Whenever puppy starts to chew an inappropriate object, calmly substitute a toy and praise him for correctly redirecting his energy.
– A super durable, red rubber hollow toy. Great for stuffing with treats. A dog can spend a long time “working a KONG” to lick out all the good stuff. A quick search down the toy isle of any major pet store will reveal several other similar toys designed to hold kibble and treats. You can even feed a puppy his entire meal out of a KONG or similar toy. Not only will this keep him happily busy for a fixed period of time, he'll also be using his brain to problem-solve!
Appropriate Chew Toys – Puppies and dogs need to chew. As puppies, it's part of the teething process and in adolescent and adult dogs, recreational chewing can relieve boredom and stress. The trick is to teach puppy to prefer chewing appropriate items. Durable Nylabones
are a wonderful choice. They come in different flavors, shapes and sizes. They also make a softer puppy version
– but it’s not recommended for aggressive chewers. I like to limit the amount of rawhide products. It's often highly processed and can be difficult for some dogs to digest. Dogs can even choke on a chewed-off piece of a rawhide bone.
Sterilized Hollow Bones – Like the KONG, you can stuff treats inside the bone or smear a little peanut butter or cream cheese inside one end of the bone. Most dogs even like to chew an empty bone, too. Look for bones that are “clean” on the inside – meaning, they are free of the honeycomb texture, etc. A peanut butter filled hollow bone makes a GREAT puppy pacifier – and who can resist a dog with peanut butter breath! Try preparing in advance and freezing the peanut butter bone for a cool summer treat that takes longer to eat.
-- I've yet to meet a puppy who wouldn't happily settle down and chew a bully stick! Bully sticks are made from, are you ready for this? Dried bull penis! Yes, it sounds gross, but the good news is that it's completely safe for canine consumption and a Bully Stick seems to be the ultimate in pooch pacifier for most dogs. Unlike Durable Nylabones and hollow bones, bully sticks can be completely consumed by dogs. Be sure to supervise your dog with any chew product and discard it when it becomes small enough to present a choking hazard.
Pressure Mount Baby Gate
– Great for creating a “puppy safe” area in your kitchen or laundry room. Target, Wal-Mart, etc. sells wooden gates with see-though wire mesh for under $25. If your dog is bigger than “toy” size, we recommend the 32” gate. Most dogs can easily be taught not to jump over a baby gate, even if they're physically capable of doing so. Contact a local trainer if you need help with this behavior.
– An X-pen works much like a play- pen for a human child. When you can’t directly supervise puppy, he can go in his X-pen with toys and a nice bone to chew. While in the X-pen, he can’t get to your fancy Persian rug, so it’s impossible for him to chew on it when you’re not looking!
– Great for creating a special, private “room” for your dog. Dogs are den animals and appreciate having a secure place to “den up.” A crate is a wonderful, safe place to put the puppy when he cannot be directly supervised and at night for sleeping. It’s also great for traveling – wherever you go, you can take your dog’s room with you! Crate training a puppy also helps with house training because a dog will instinctively not want to soil its den, so he will whine and bark to let you know he has to “go,” giving you the opportunity to take him outside and reward him for “going” in the proper place. Crates come in three styles: plastic, wire and soft-sided. Soft-sided crates are not recommended for puppies due to their tendency to chew whatever they can reach! When choosing a puppy crate, make sure it's just big enough for the puppy to go in, turn around and lie down. Any bigger and puppy may potty at one end and nap at the other. Many wire crate manufacturers now offer a divider panel that can be used to shrink down the usable space of an adult-size wire crate.
– A taste deterrent spray you can apply to items you don’t want puppy to chew. For example, if you baby gate the puppy in the kitchen, you can spray the cabinets, etc. if you think he might chew them while you’re at work. Don’t let puppy see you spray the items. Bitter Apple and similar deterrent sprays are available in most pet stores. You can also try using the original yellow Listerine (or generic brand) in a spray bottle.
– Great for thoroughly cleaning up pet stains. Also available at most pet stores.
[Admin Edit: Added referenced links and updated formatting for ease of reading.]