You are bringing a puppy home, so what do you do next?
Make your vet visit appointment: Many vets book out weeks in advance. Make sure to contact your clinic well in advance to schedule your well puppy appointment. Discuss recommended vaccines, as well as flea/tick and heartworm preventative.
Training: AFTER your puppy has their second round of immunizations, training is very important. We suggest an appropriate puppy class. You can search AKC's website for the AKC STAR Puppy class, or utilize one of the multiple web based training options. We have had many of our puppy owners have great success with Pawsitive Futures, as well as the Puppy Culture program for new puppy owners.
Puppy proof your house: Install baby gates, secure any cords, elevate small items out of puppy's reach, keep shoes/socks away from puppy. It is virtually the same as baby proofing your house. Keep doors shut or blocked off with baby gates.
Purchase supplies: Be prepared prior to puppy coming home and make sure to consider any shipping delays if you purchase online.
Food and Supplements
We feed and recommend Purina ProPlan food, specifically Sport 30/20 Salmon. This is an all ages appropriate food and what we start puppies on. It is fed to all of our adults.
Moving to a new home with new surroundings can be stressful on puppies. We have found that probiotics help with than transition. We also recommend probiotics any time after your dog is on antibiotics or is administered immunizations. Purina FortiFlora is available in a packet which is sprinkled over food, or in a chewable tablet.
At times we are asked about joint supplements. Dasuquin is the one we recommend should you chose to give one.
Various chews, like Greenies, really pose no use other than to freshen breath. If you are looking for a product to improve your dogs dental health, we recommend Oravet chews. The chews attach to plaque and actually pull the plaque off the dogs teeth.
Toys, Canine Enrichment and Treats
These products we personally use and like. I use the Wellness Core soft puppy bites on my adult dogs as well. I am able to break one treat into two or three small pieces. Crumble style treats (Milkbones) are not sufficient for training. You want a treat that your puppy or dog can quickly consume and be prepared for their next task. Keeping your puppy's mind busy is incredibly important. A tired puppy is a good puppy and mental stimulation is just as important as physical work. Try feeding your puppy their entire meal using a snuffle mat or treat dispenser. Aside from the products you see here, you can also find several DIY brain games on canine enrichment groups on Facebook or on Pinterest. Kongs are fantastic. I keep several prepped when I am crate training. I load up the Kong's with peanut butter, greek yogurt or pumpkin and keep a few frozen. Placing a frozen Kong in their crate helps distract them and settle. For more Kong recipes, check out their website or Pinterest. Ensure that as your dog grows, you replace their puppy Kong with a larger one. You want to make sure there is no possible way your dog can ingest the Kong. Goldens should use a large.
Collars and Leashes
Collars with sewn in or engraved contact information helps return a lost pet even when tags are missing. Not having tags on your collars also lessens the possibility of tags being hung on crates, air returns, etc. Lupine is a high quality brand that stands by their product. If your Lupine leash or collar are damaged, they will replace it! We have had two collars replaced, both because another dog chewed them. Hands free leashes can be extremely handy when training your dog to work on a loose lead. WE DO NOT RECOMMEND FLEXI-LEADS.
We recommend a 42" crate for a Golden. The style that has the removable partition is great for your puppy, as it easily transitions into their adult crate. X-Pens (the Pet Trex wire pen) are fantastic for putting around furniture, Christmas trees, blocking off rooms, etc. It is an essential tool and well worth the cost. The BestPet playpen is a sturdier pen. We use ours when we are camping with our dogs. Our dogs enjoy their elevated beds, as it helps keep them cooler. The "fluffy" beds are so cute, but not recommended for puppies as they can easily ingest the stuffing, causing a potentially deadly obstruction. Baby gates can be useful to block off rooms or prevent your puppy from going up and down stairs. The No Chew spray is quite useful on wooden furniture, wall corners or baseboards. While we have never had an issue with it causing staining, we suggest testing the spray on a small, inconspicuous area.
Various Helpful Items
Pill Pockets makes giving medication a treat, rather than a chore. Coprophagia is for that rather embarrassing act that some puppies and dogs partake in (poop eating... yuck!). This brand of washable female underwear are sturdy and stay one quite well. This item is a must for female dogs that are in heat. Chlorhexidine wipes are handy antiseptic wipes that take care of bacteria on skin. Chlorhexidine wipes are great for treating puppy pyoderma or other skin irritations. The Snuggle Puppy, commonly called the Heart Beat Puppy, is well-liked among many of our puppy families. The puppy has a battery powered heart that gives off a heartbeat pulse, helping calm puppies in their new homes.
Some people prefer books over Facebook or various other online groups.
We do not recommend plastic bowls. Heavy duty metal bowls work fantastic and can be sterilized, which we suggest doing at least once a week. If you have a fast eater, slow-feeder bowls work great. You can also feed your dog/puppy dinner in a snuffle mat (above) or in interactive kibble dispensers (also above). Make your dog work for their food!
These are the products we use to groom our dogs. We love TropiClean shampoos and conditioners. We frequently use the deodorizing spray before going to pet therapy visits, just to give them a little extra clean scent. The blower listed is variable speed with a heating function should you want it. What I like most about the dryer is that you can blow out the undercoat, which is useful even when your dog is dry. This helps tremendously with shedding. Burt's Bees shampoo is a great gentle option for puppies. I use the antiseptic (Veterinary Formula) before and after trips to the lake where my dogs are in and out of the water throughout the day. I have found that this shampoo has eliminated hot spots after our lake visits.