March 3, 2023

Episode 319: Essentials For Your New Puppy

In this episode (31:16)

In this episode, the BDA team talks about preparing for a new puppy.

You Will Learn

  • How Sarah, Jennifer and Esteban prepare for each new puppy.
  • How to use your day to day routine to create a supplies list.
  • Jenn’s shopping weakness.
  • The one essential tool that Jenn only uses with new puppies.


(upbeat music) - Welcome to "Bad Dog Agility," (dog barks) a podcast helping you reach all of your dog agility goals. Whether it's competing under the bright lights of the televised finals at Westminster, or successfully navigating a homemade course in your own backyard. We'll bring you training tips, interviews, and news about the great sport of dog agility. Are you ready? - I'm ready. - I'm ready. - I'm ready.

- The show starts with your hosts, Jennifer, Esteban and Sarah. - I'm Jennifer. - I'm Esteban. - And I'm Sarah. And this is episode 319. Today's podcast is brought to you by and the new Teeter TeachIt, an easy to use tool that controls the amount of tip on your teeter so you can introduce motion to your dog in a gradual way. Go to for the new

Teeter TeachIt and other training tools and toys. Use discount code BDA10 to get 10% off your order. That's Today we're gonna talk about the essentials that you need when you get a new puppy. And for those of you who have had many dogs, I know you think that this podcast isn't for you, but actually it's exactly for the person who has raised multiple dogs. Because what I

find is that every time you get a new puppy, all of a sudden you are like, do I have everything I need? What are all the things? You have to get things out of storage that you haven't used in a while, and it always feels like you kind of have to re-remember everything. Does that happen to you, Jen? I know you have like a new puppy now. -

I do, I have a almost 19-week-old, so I kind of went through that process recently. I feel like I was kind of eased into it because my mom welped the litter. So it was very much on my mind from birth, well even from pregnancy to birth. But it was like the day that he was old enough to come home, it was like, oh no, it's real. He's coming

from her house to my house. Did I have everything ready? So absolutely kind of that checklist of what things do I need? What stuff do I have to have? You know, I think especially those of you who are on your second or third dog, it's easy to take things for granted and kind of forget some of the stuff that we need with those young dogs or puppies. -

Yeah, exactly right. And you know, I find after decades in the sport that I don't really have to buy too much. Like I have most of the stuff, but a lot of it hasn't been used in years because the dogs kind of outgrow it. So that's what we're gonna talk about today. So I'll start things off and say that, you know, the first thing that I'm going to

make sure that I have is a size-appropriate crate for the dog, depending on like how big and how old. You want it to be small enough to help with potty training. And I think what's different about a puppy versus an older dog is that I find I want a lot of crates. Like, I don't know if that's just me, but I want like a crate in the study

and a crate in the living room and a crate in the dog room where they're gonna sleep and a crate in the bedroom. Like, I want crates everywhere for this puppy. - Yeah, when you said crate, I was thinking crates, plural. We definitely gotta add the plural, and I'll add to that, possibly even like smaller area X pens. What I do, is I have the crate where he

sleeps, and kind of downtime, but like in our living room, I had like an X pen when he was young enough, where it's like, you're not really sleeping, you know, it's the afternoon, you're hanging out after dinner before bedtime, and you're watching TV or whatever. He doesn't need the entire house, but I don't want him to be crate crate. So even X pens, I had two areas where

I had X pens, one at work, and then one in our living room. And then I had crates in the bedroom and laundry room. So the crates I did more of like, yep, go sleep, go take a nap, go relax, make 'em a good place. And the X pens were more like, we're awake, we have mobility, but I don't want you to have access to everything where you

can get into trouble. So definitely the plural of the crate, crates, or X pens. - Right, and then when it comes to sizes, I always find that every time I get a new dog, I'm going up into the attic or into the storage to find the five different crates that are all different sizes, that like progress through the age of the dog. We had all of these teeny

tiny crates that are only good for like an eight week old puppy. And then you've got the next size up, the next size up, the next size up. And you only use them when you're raising a puppy. - Yeah, yeah. Different breeds too, so different sizes. I like what you're saying about the X pen, having the setups around the house. Eventually our dogs just graduate to hanging out

in their crates with the doors open, so our dogs kind of have their own dedicated dog room where they have a lot of space they can hang out. And then there are several crates in there just with the doors open and they choose to go lay down in them with or without covers. If it's hotter, they prefer the ones without, right? And they'll lay on the tile and

stuff like that. And then we have an X pen set up near our PlayStation. So Sarah and I have PlayStations, one each, so we can play Fortnite together. And so we're like seated right next to each other, right? With the two monitors on the table. And to my direct right, so I get to be closest to the dogs is of course the X pen. And the dogs know

as soon as you turn on a PlayStation, it's like how your dogs probably are when you go for a walk, or you pick up your keys, or they know it's training time and you're gonna hit the backyard. For our dogs, it's Fortnite time, so it's like- - It's literally like the PlayStation literally makes like a beep and all of the dogs starts going crazy. - They all recognize

the- - And they don't want to be anywhere else in the house except for the X pen right next to the PlayStation. And then just like other people with their routines, like on the very rare evening that we don't play, 'cause it's pretty predictable kind of like eight to 10, nine to 11 type of timeframe, if we're not playing, if we're watching TV instead they are like trying

to go into that X pen anyway. - It's like how your dogs try and fake you out for dinner. - Yeah. - They're like, "Hey, - It's PlayStation time. - Yeah. - Yeah, that's our dogs, yep. And so I think the next thing similar to crates and like you said X pens or gates, so we have a whole bunch of gates so that we can partition the house

into a whole bunch of different pseudo dog proof areas. We know that in our house and our lifestyle and our family, our living room isn't ever going to be completely puppy proof. So when we bring in a new puppy, it's like the kitchen becomes its own area and some other areas in the house that we put gates around to kind of help out with that management. - Now

that you said you can almost back engineer what you're going to need for a puppy. So you kind of wanna go through your day-to-day routine. You say, okay, in the morning we wake up and what are we gonna do? Where do we want the puppy? And then as you think about where the puppy is going to be throughout the day, you kind of think of the supplies that

you need. Like what is the absolute bare essentials? Of course, I'm assuming y'all go well beyond this. Jen, do you impulse shop for your puppy? You know perfectly well you don't need another collar, you have about 20 different collars of all sizes at home. But you're gonna go get this nice fancy collar, maybe put their name or call name on it. Are you an impulse shopper for a

specific puppy? - Very minorly, and it tends to be with, when I'm shopping with a friend or I'm under the influence of bad friends where we're out shopping and they're like, oh this would look so cute on your puppy. And you're like, yeah, it would. But I am not one left to my own devices to like go on Amazon or go into the store or anything. I tend

to be a one collar for the lifetime of a dog person. So they often have a puppy collar, but then once they get their collar, it's generally like that collar from Puppyhood. I don't do the fancy collars, I don't do the trading out and the wardrobe for the dogs. What I'm a sucker for is puppy pajamas and little coats. 'Cause they're so cute when they're little, but like

when they're big, big pajamas aren't as cute as little ones. So I actually just this past weekend bought split, a little like winter coat, it's patterned like a little lumberjack and it's very cute on him. It's winter here, right? So it was on clearance and it looked cute. He'll outgrow it very soon. So I would call that an impulse purchase. - Okay, I think we need a photo

and that'll be the photo for the- - Yes. - ...podcast on social media. - That's so funny because you know, the last time I shopped for a puppy I wanted to just go on a shopping spree because I was excited but then I found that there was nothing that I needed, that I had everything and that everything that I had, I liked better than like what you could

just get off the shelf at Petco. So I like walked into Petco with the intention of treating myself and my puppy to a shopping spree and I came out with- - Hey, you actually went without me. - Yeah, and I came out with a caller 'cause I'm like Jen, like one caller for the life of the dog, you know, except for the sizes and everything. So a caller

and a bunch of poop bags. I thought I might need more poop bags. Might be- - That's all you got? - That's all I got. - That's disappointing because I'm pretty sure you left me at home so I wouldn't be there to tell you, "Hey we don't need that, oh hey we already have that, hey, we got one that works fine." - I self-regulated, very good, it was

very surprising. But yeah, everything else tend to get online or we have it already so. - Okay, well lemme stop you there. So we've talked about X pens, we've talked about baby gates and we've talked about crates. So kind of areas for the dog, right? And I think that's a great strategy, love it. Especially, especially for us and for Jen, like we have, there are other members of

the family, there's another adult for Jen and for both of us there's kids, right? - Yep. - And now for collars, let me ask you specifically, because I get this question every once in a while from people, what kind of collars do you prefer? Like the rolled up leather, clip, buckle, like what kind of collars are we talking about that y'all like to use? And then how do

you feel about harnesses versus collars for walking, but especially for the puppies for the first several weeks, what do you think? Let's start with Jen. - Mine's a very unofficial answer. So I'm just putting it out there for anybody who wants the veterinary side what's best for the dogs. But my guys all wear just like flat buckle collars. Like I typically pick a like pattern or fabric that

is specific to them. Whether it's like, you know, if you name your dog princess you want little crowns on it or if it's name is pizza, you're gonna get one with pizzas on it or something like that. Or maybe it's bity so you get one with a shark, I picked something out and that kind of matches them and I just use a flat buckle collar. And then typically

for ID, I'll either have an embroidered like their name and our phone number or get those like flat boomerang tags that are flat on it as opposed to the ones that dangle. And then I do use GPS callers when I travel. So if I'm gonna be going like out of state on the long car ride, like when I'm headed out to NAC, I do have the five callers

that I will put on them. I don't tend to have them wear 'em for everyday use just because of the weight, and I worry about the weight on their neck, not that they're super heavy, but it's more for traveling in car accidents or getting away from me when I'm far away. So that's kind of my routine. As far as harnesses, I love a good visually appealing harness. Like

I like the cute ones or they're in patterns or you can get tags on 'em. But I'm not one to be much into harnesses for the benefit of no pool or pool. Like again, I'm not trying to get into that debate. I do tend to use the harness for high five just because she does behave a little better on it. So I don't wanna say I never use

harnesses and then people see me in a harness. I have put harnesses on her and used harnesses on her, but I've also just used regular Martingale Leashes. I tend to not be too picky, I am pretty superstitious though as we've talked about these past. So I do tend to be like, once I get a leash that works and it has some good vibes, I tend to use that

for a lot of events. But I will say that like my non agility gear is very different than my agility gear. So like the leashes that I use to take my dogs to the ring at an agility trial are not the same leashes that I would like take 'em to the vet in or take 'em on a walk in. So I kind of have some different stuff, but

I don't have anything like super systematic, I'm pretty simple. Flat buckle collar, Martingale Leash to go in the ring and harnesses as needed I guess. - Yeah. - Yeah. - You know, I was recalling a time when retractable leashes are popular. I still see them every now and then, but I think that's probably one leash that we don't use - Yeah, we don't do that, no, no- -

...retractable leash, I remember that. I'm trying to remember other trends. I like what you were saying about the dangling tags. I think here's still in Texas, like you get, when you rabies they give you a- - The other day I was going through all this stuff, I was like, why do they still give me this tag? Like I never put it on the dog. I've got the piece

of paper that says that they have it. I was like, why do they still give me this tag? - Yeah, yeah. - But yeah, I'm with Jen flat buckle is all day every day. And I remember with our first dogs, somebody turned us onto the rolled leather and it like looked all fancy and it was more expensive, which made us feel. - It's supposedly better for our golden

retriever or dogs that have certain kind of hair wouldn't leave that matted down or even hair loss in the area for certain breeds. - But we never really ended up using it. We always went back to the flat buckle. So I just like the flat buckle ones. I like it to have like a nice big buckle and I like for the color itself to be a little on

the wide side 'cause we do a lot of color grabs and color starts and restraint and stuff like that. So we like the kind- - Because we generally have larger dogs, right? - Yeah, that's true. Yeah, yeah. - Yeah. - So I do like the flat buckle and then yeah, I'm with Jim, we just use just the nylon leashes, clip leashes. I do do like a harness for

walking. I just prefer to have the leash attached to the dog's back instead of their neck. I feel like it gets tangled up less. You know how like the dog will step over their own leash and get all like tangled up. I feel like that happens less when you have like, let's say a four foot leash instead of a six foot leash and you have it connected to

their back instead of connected to their neck. Maybe so, but I'm with Jen on this, like I'm not gonna get into that. Okay, so I think the next thing to talk about would be two toys, and it's not just two toys, I wanna say that there's a whole generation of toys out that simply was not around or at least wasn't popular 10 years ago. And I'm talking about

the- - Puzzles and stuff. - Yeah, yeah, like the Kong- - Like puzzle feeders and stuff like. - I guess the Kong would be the first generation, right? You wanna get a Kong for your dog because it's hollow on the inside. It's this kind of rubberized material that the dog can chew on, if they actually are able to break it down and eat it, it's safe for them

to ingest and then pass. But you can freeze 'em, and put peanut butter in there or Bil-Jac, whatever you wanna do and make little treats that'll keep your little guy/gal busy for an hour. - I do think that's good for like, if you wanna keep them busy for a long time and feed them then I like freezing Kongs. But for just like everyday chewing, like my favorite is

antlers. Like we switched to antlers years ago and now we just have 'em on subscribe and save and every time we get a new pack the dogs get super excited about the new ones for whatever reason. And then there'll be some antlers that they like chew up in a day and then others that last six months, I don't even know why. But I really like the antlers because

they don't smell and they don't get sticky. Like we never do raw hide anymore or pigs ears or anything like that 'cause we can't really stand it, so we just do antlers, the dogs love them. And they're like clean mess free, smell free, love it. - Now I'm recalling how slimy and gross those got. Jen what about you? - Yeah, when I think choose, I'm kind of very

similar to you guys. My guys have recently discovered water buffalo horns, which are similar to the antlers in that they don't have like that smell and that like stickiness to 'em. They're very similar to an antler, and relatively soft I think so chewable but not gonna break a tooth on. But as far as like preparing for the puppy chews don't come immediately to mind. They're not my number

one because I have chews for even my adult dogs. But if somebody says, okay, you're getting a puppy, number one thing on your list, even before crates, even before leashes and collars, it's enrichment puzzles and toys because those to me are very puppy specific. Like crates, X pens, I've got 'em for the adult dogs, leashes, collars got 'em for the adult dogs bones, got 'em for the adult

dogs. But when I think puppy it's like what do I have to get out that I don't already have that I don't really have readily available that it's in the storage, and it's those puzzles and those enrichment exercises and games. So they're very readily available at my house right now. And what I tend to do is it's kind of, as you mentioned Sarah, it's like feeding time to

give some enrichment and stimulation instead of just, "Hey, here's a bowl and in three minutes, okay, what's next? So I take one of our gated off rooms, those baby gates that come in so handy and I will take a meal and I will disperse it among anywhere from five to seven different types of things. So I'll put some kibbles in a snuffle mat, I'll put some peanut butter

on a licky mat, I'll put kibbles in different puzzles. I'll even just simply put kibble in like a slow feeder and then I spread him out across the room and I open it up and let him go. And he'll spend quite a bit of time going from kind of puzzle to puzzle and over to this snuffle mat just to give him some enrichment, so that when he gets

done he's like, "Oh, that that was a workout." So if you come home, I think of a lot of people, you come home from work at 5:15, 5:30 and the puppy's like ready to go and you're like, you just need a little time before you start like training at 7:00 7:30 or whatever, you can kind of give them a little stimulation and make them work for and give

them some enrichment. I mean a lot of people can even make their own enrichment. I mean even just taking a box and crumbling up newspaper, tissue paper and putting food in the bottom and digging through. There's one that's going around on TikTok where you roll up treats into kitchen towels and you tie these kitchen towels in a certain knot and it's designed to be like a little interactive

thing for dogs. Yeah, definitely the puzzles, a snuffle mats, the topples, I'm a big topple fan. I don't do the Kongs as much now as the tops as you said Esteban, Kongs are like first generation, we're now onto the next one. And I will soak his puppy food in those and then add a little bit of like yogurt or peanut butter so that it's again, makes 'em work

a little bit for it. Especially there's gonna be some days that you just can't do as much with them as others. And so that gives them a little bit more to do. So that's kind of at the top of my bringing home the puppy list of things that I might not already have out and available. And then we do like a trading kind of system. So we each

have two or three puzzles, but then when our puppies figure the puzzle out, we have a little group where we can trade. - I love that. - So like, okay, I'll take those two puzzles, you take these ones so that we're not constantly buying, you don't need to buy 10 puzzles but if you have friends that have different ones than you, and like there's a bunch of nice

puzzles that like TJ Max and Marshalls, I was just there over the weekend. They had a ton of shopping really nice ones too. The ones that are like real expensive on Amazon. They had, I forget the name of the brand, but they had some, and they come and stage like one, two or three depending on difficulty. So check out stores like that. - You're gonna need to send

me some links to the things, things that you have and then maybe like a picture of your different puzzles 'cause puzzles is something we did had a little bit. But again we have bigger dogs and they tend to be destroyers. (laughing) I think maybe we try to use them too long into like they get older and then, or we're like, we get so excited about the puzzle, we're

like, "This would be great for all of our dogs." And you give it to the adult dog and they like just eat the snuffle mat and you're like, "I don't think snuffle mats are good for us, you know?" So maybe just for the puppies. - I put a video camera on the room one time and walked away, just observe him like going around from like puzzle to puzzle

and figuring it all out and it was like a 22 minute video before he finally was like, okay, I'm done with everything. It was just interesting to watch him learn and figure it all out. How quickly he would get frustrated with one and go to another versus coming back to it. Or did he go one at a time? Like he tended to, like when one got hard he

went to another one and then would make his way back. He didn't do one at a time. He kind of picked them based on difficulty, and one of 'em is like a ball that has a hole. So he'd be rolling all around the room. That one was one of his favorites 'cause I think it was like the most interactive and involved movement versus just standing or laying there

trying to work out the puzzle. - That is super interesting. Okay, we have to get some of those. And then I think what we'll ask Sarah to do is put some of these in the show notes- - Yes, yes. - then you guys can see exactly what Jennifer and Sarah are using for their puppies. You can use it for your own puppies. This is pretty brilliant making

them work for it and having all this brain enrichment type stuff. I used to do this for our human children as as well. And I would get these plastic containers, they were kinda like egg shape and then I'll put a candy in 'em and then I would hide them all around the yard- - Once a year. - Once a year. And our older child is like, you know,

they're a little more experienced, a little more intelligent, well maybe not more intelligent, more experienced definitely. So I would make it more difficult. Like I would hide it so it wasn't as easy for them to see. And then like some of the more obvious ones for like the little kid, and then lower where they can like reach it. - This is a really good idea. You should make

it into, I mean holiday. - I didn't know that I was such a good parent, like decades ahead of my time apparently. - Yeah, yeah, absolutely, absolutely. Alright, the next thing that I do think is different for puppies is the toys. And I'm thinking specifically tug toys because, Esteban and I, with all of our dogs, we teach them to tug. It's a very important part of their foundation

training. And by the time they are adults, we hopefully have gotten them tugging with the toys that are easiest for us to manage in the field. And which for me is like a burlap bite stick. It's like a schutz and toy. But when we're first teaching them how to tug, you've gotta, first of all, you have to find what the puppy likes. And so, we'll have all these

different tugs and they may only even want to tug with like 50% of them. So right away, you know, 50% get put right back in the box for the next time you have a puppy who might like a different 50%. And so that's kind of the box that comes back out every time we have a puppy is the toys that our dogs have graduated from but are more

fuzzy, bigger, and stuff like that that we can entice the puppy with. - Yeah, yeah. Yeah, we kind of graduate our dogs to smaller, more compact toys. Like less for myself, I turn my dog into a leash tugger. And so I graduate them all the way to a specific kind of like rounded nylon leash. I put some knots in it so they have a surface area to bite.

And so I'll go all the way there, but yeah, it's for the tugging dogs. - I start with really fancy, fluffy toys. I say fancy, fluffy, you know? The bright colors and big fuzz because I like to buy 'em and shop for 'em, but I do that to build the toy interest. Like shelties predominantly, they don't come with a lot of natural toy, so I get really exciting

ones, like fuzzy ones mimicking, like the sheet hair type thing. But then once I have a little bit of established toy drive and enthusiasm, I do kind of back off pretty quickly to boring toys because I get into that like party of one. And that's where we're at right now. The toys that I was using couple weeks ago, I went to a seminar and realize very quickly the

toy that I was using was just too exciting. And so as soon as Split would get the toy, he was like off on his own plucking and running around. So now we're down to a holy roller, which is like, I have it on a little like little rope so I can pull it back in. But like relatively boring because we're working on like, hey, the fun happens when

you bring the toy back, the fun is happening with me, not the take the toy and go off. So I kind of start with those super exciting ones to build that initial drive, especially ones on long strings so you can play chase games and drag 'em. And then I kind of key it back down. And then once they've like earned toy privileges where they can bring it back

and they'll engage with me and not run around in circles or pluck it, I can get some of the nicer ones back out when they're older. - Yeah, I'm so glad you mentioned Hol-ee Roller because to me that is like the most ingenious, wonderful invention ever because it rolls, so you get that pure chase drive, dogs love to chase it, but it's not going to take those stupid

ridiculous bounces that can lead to weird twisting motions in the dog's spine and neck and- - And they're holey, so if the dog gets like a real tight grip, they can still breathe. - Exactly. - And if they're not a super heavy tugger, you can like hook your finger in the hole and kind of shake it or tug with 'em. - Yes, you can tug on- - I'm

a big Hol-ee ball fan. - Valuable and stretches. Yes, me, absolutely it comes in different sizes. - Colors, colors. - And colors. Exactly, We have so many, they are so wonderful. Easily replaceable, not overly expensive. And you know, linked to that is this idea of tennis balls. So our first generation advisors, like 20 years ago was you got them tennis balls, especially retrievers, you know, but no, like

our goldens now they chase Hol-ee Rollers. - Yep. - When I was at Home Goods this weekend and I found all those puzzles, they also had Hol-ee Roller's, like name brand Hol-ee Roller's, TJ Max Marshalls, Home Goods, I'm telling you. And they were cheaper than what they had 'em at the dog show that I was at that same weekend. - Crazy. - Bargain shopper. - Yep, nice, love

it. - Yeah. - And I think the other thing that I was thinking about was a long line that seems to be something that we typically just bring out with our younger dogs. I can't remember the last time we put one of our older dogs on a long line. So that's like one of the things where I'm like, where do we keep the long line again? It's either

in this box or that box or this cabinet and you have to go digging through everything to find it. But that's something that comes out whenever we have a puppy. And I can't think of anything else that's very puppy specific. Have I missed anything, Jen? - I'm trying to think of the things that I have currently out and yeah, I think you've covered a lot of it. I

tend to have some of my training tools a little bit more readily available. I'm right now finding clickers in like every table and pocket of every desk. I have, doing a lot with the click right now. I've gone a while without using one or I have it in my training bag, but now I find one on my desk, on my nightstand in every pocket of every coat. So

I have that out. And then I do the resealable Ziploc baggies because I train with the daily allotment of food. So at this stage it's not meals. So I wake up in the morning and I put his daily allotment of food in like one of those resealable Ziplocs and like, that's what we work from through the day. So it's not a breakfast, lunch, and dinner as much as

take it with me, have it in my pocket, and by the end of the night hold the bag up and go, "Okay, well we've worked through most of it." So I tend to do that kind of as part of my relationship building and very organic training throughout the day as opposed to meals and treats. I'm not a big treat giver for puppies. I do a lot of kibble

both just to make sure like stomachs are good and we're not getting upset puppy stomachs, but also to make sure I'm not, I hate to say it, but spoiling the puppy too much. You're starting to give them like the roast beef, the hotdogs and the cheese at this age, then the other stuff becomes less appealing, so they kind of work their way up. So most of what I'm

doing right now is for kibbles. So having a little Tupperware bag or something for when you want to train throughout the day, I think. But otherwise, I think- - I guess the last thing related to that is the food. Every time I'm like, oh, what do we feed our puppies again? I gotta re-remember, and then I gotta call my vet who's my friend and be like, how long

do I need to feed him this puppy food before I can feed him regular food? Because all of our dogs are on the same food, have been for like 20 years. Same, same flavor, same brand. Then it's like suddenly you introduce this new element and I have to re-remember what I wanna feed them. All right, well, for anybody else out there who is getting a puppy, hopefully this

will be your podcast to go jog your own memory about what you need, what you have, what you still need to get, what you might want to go splurge on shopping wise, and to enjoy your new addition. We'd like to thank our sponsor, Happy training. (upbeat music) - Thank you for listening to "Bad Dog Agility." We hope you enjoyed today's episode. For more information updates and links

to all our socials, just check out our website, If you haven't already signed up for our email subscription, we would love to have you join the BDA community. Until next time, take care. (upbeat music)

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