Tips from the Front Lines!
Eclair is 25 weeks old now. She's settling in and maturing a little more each day, but we do have several pieces of equipment and supplies that I consider must-haves for puppy-hood.
1. Ex-Pen. I'd never used an ex-pen much prior to Eclair, but I use it all the time with her. It's been a huge lifesaver. The ex-pen gives her more room than her crate, but it’s still puppy proof. With the ex-pen, I don’t have to worry about what she’s getting into.
2. Crate (and crate training). I cannot imagine trying to raise a puppy without a crate and crate training. The ex-pen is an option when I can intermittently supervise her, but the crate is used when I can't supervise her at all (i.e. I'm out of the house or sleeping). I Bait the Crate with a few treats before bringing her over to get inside, and she usually has no problem entering. If she does start resisting, I know we need to do more practice getting in and out without being shut inside.
3. Baby Gates. Another must-have piece of equipment! Save yourself from being run ragged and invest in a couple of these! The step-through kind are awesome, and you can usually find them used on Craigslist or at kids' resale stores.
4. Cow Tail. Puppies have to chew! The cow tail is a recent discovery for me, but I love it! It's relatively inexpensive compared to other intentionally consumable chews, and can last a really long time depending on the size and dog.
***The cow tail has a thin bone running through the center so it does require fairly close supervision to prevent choking.
5. No-Hide. A fun treat for puppies that's better for them than rawhide. They come in multiple sizes and flavors. Once your pup eats the yummy coating off, you can smear the crevices with some peanut butter to keep them going.
6. Bully Stick. More widely known than cow tail or No-Hide, bully sticks are usually incredibly popular with puppies and adult dogs. Because they're rather expensive and quickly consumed, I ration these and only use them when I really need to be sure the puppy will be entertained. www.bestbullysticks.com is a good resource for quality sticks at a decent price.
7. Flexi Leash. These are dangerous for use in public, but I do use them in the backyard. On a Flexi, your pup has room to move around and toilet, but he cannot play Keep Away.
8. Ho-lee Roller. I've used this toy with two puppies, and both have enjoyed it. It's been fairly durable for me, and I like that I can play fetch or gentle tug with the same toy.
9. Protein Powder Jug. Yes, I'm serious. Eclair really enjoys chasing this thing around the kitchen. It does make her pretty aroused (i.e. excited, stimulated) so we limit how often and long she does it. Great for getting her heart rate up.
BONUS: Training, of course! Training is a HUGE part of surviving puppyhood. If you’re in the Round Rock area and need help, check out my in-home training for puppies.