Puppies are kind of like babies – there are a lot of things made for them and everyone has different opinions on what you need to get started. As a person who values minimalism and not cluttering up my home, I have created a list of my top items that I think are necessary to get off to a great start with your new puppy (or rescue dog!) – in no particular order.

*Note: as an Amazon Affiliate Partner, should you choose to buy any of the products on this post from the links provided, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.

  1. A puppy playpen

Playpens are a great option for containing your puppy when you can’t actively supervise. Put your puppy in the pen with a few bones and toys and maybe a bed and you automatically have a puppy-proofed area. This is also a great option for when your puppy starts to get a little worked up and needs to take a break or a nap (similar to a toddler, overtired puppies can have more outbursts).

  1. A Crate

Crates are essential to puppy well-being. They allow your puppy to have a safe space to be in, you get a break from watching their every move, and it is a great potty-training aid. Be sure to introduce the crate positively and never use it as a punishment space. Keep the crate in a central location to start where the puppy can still see what’s going on. I highly recommend giving a food puzzle or filled Kong™ when your puppy is in their crate.

  1. Bed

Your puppy needs a soft space to lay its head and this is one of my dog’s favorites. The bolstered sides make for great pillows and my dog loves to stretch out with his back against the soft sides.

  1. Toys!

There are so many options to choose from for toys and every dog will have different preferences for what texture they enjoy chewing and playing with. This pack of toys is a great starter for you and includes a treat ball which is next on my list of must-haves!

  1. Puzzle Toys

There are about a thousand different options when it comes to puzzle toys for your puppy. This one is a great starter for puppies to learn how to work for their food and push the ball around to dispense treats. Puppies not only need physical exercise, but they also need mental exercise as well. Using puzzle toys to engage their mind during their dinner is a great way to give them both a physical (moving the ball around) and mental (figuring out how to get the food out) activity. So instead of feeding your puppy from a bowl, try putting their whole dinner in a treat ball like this! Once they master this one, experiment with the other options on the market. Let me know if you want recommendations! Note: never leave your puppy with puzzle toys unsupervised.

  1. Leash, Collar, Harness

A leash is also a must-have for all dogs. This particular leash is lightweight so your puppy can easily drag it around your house if needed for redirection or stopping the puppy from chasing the kids (again). Leashes are one of the most underused management tools we have available.

Collars are needed to hold your puppy’s identification tags as well as a great option for easily grabbing a hold of your puppy if needed. Practice doing collar grabs to make sure your puppy is comfortable with you reaching for and holding their collar.

A harness is important for protecting your puppy’s throat. If we attach the leash to the collar for walks or when meeting people or other dogs, your puppy will most likely pull as you work through training them how to walk properly. The thyroid, esophagus, trachea, and other important organs are in your puppy’s throat right where the collar sits. To prevent any injury, we want to use a harness. Introduce the harness positively using treats and make it a great thing to put on. Never leave a harness on your puppy unsupervised.

  1. Bones

Your puppy will soon be teething and to save your beautiful wood dining room table that has been in your family for generations, we want to provide an alternative. Bene Bones have been a hit in almost every household that I have recommended them to, including my own. So along with providing things like ice or frozen waffles to teething puppies, give them some age-appropriate bones to chew on.

  1. Water Bowl

Be sure to have water available to your puppy in any room they are confined to. Water is essential to your puppy’s health and we never want to restrict their access or ability to drink.

  1. Training sessions

This one can’t be found on Amazon but is the most important on this list by far. Age-appropriate training with your new puppy is vital to help mold your individual dog to be the companion you dream of. Find a certified trainer who can work with you to socialize your puppy properly and get you on the right path to owning a great dog.


And there you have it! My 9 essential items to buy when bringing home either your new puppy or new rescue. Feel free to spoil them rotten outside of this list though – they are too cute not to!


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