When you bring a new puppy home, you need to have several essential accessories. Make sure you purchase these before you get a new puppy so that you and Fido can have a successful transition to your new life.
Collar and Harness
Most dog owners know they need a collar or harness for their pooch, but many don't realize that the best setup is to actually use both. Collars and harnesses have their distinct advantages, and you'll want to have one of each for your new puppy.
A collar should always be worn, which makes it the ideal place to attach tags. You can also use a collar as an attachment point for a leash in a pinch or when you just want to let them out to take care of business, but this shouldn't be the primary way you use a leash.
A harness is better suited for walks, runs, and training sessions when your puppy is on a leash. The exact benefits that a harness offers depend on what sort of dog you have, but almost every type of dog will do well when their leash is attached to a harness:
- Dogs are less likely to be tangled up in a leash that's attached to a harness.
- Small dogs are less likely to be injured when you use a harness, because any strain they experience is spread over more of their body.
- Dogs have less incentive to pull against a harness, because the harness spins them around.
- Squirmy dogs can't escape from a harness easily.
When you're not actively walking or training your puppy, take their harness off so that they're more comfortable while relaxing.
Identification and Rabies Tags
You'll ultimately want to put tags on your puppy's collar, although you'll only be able to put one on right away.
As soon as you receive your new puppy, put its collar on with a tag that states the dog's name, your contact information, and emergency contact's phone number (in case you're unavailable). You might want the emergency contact to be someone who's not in your family, in case the dog escapes while you're on vacation and someone is watching the pooch.
If you don't yet have a name for the dog, at least put on a tag that shows your contact information and someone else's phone number. You can change the tag later with one that has the dog's actual name, but you shouldn't risk even one day of having a dog with no tag — puppies can be very adept escape artists.
Once your dog has their rabies shot, you'll also want to put a rabies tag on their collar. A rabies tag will show anyone who comes across your dog that your pooch has been vaccinated against this disease. The tag can also serve as proof of vaccination if you go to a dog park or some other place that requires the vaccination.
Puppies are first vaccinated against rabies at 14 weeks of age, so you won't have the rabies tag right away if you get your puppy when it's less than 14 weeks old.
Standard Leash and Long Leash
You can use many different leashes once a dog is grown and trained, but you should first begin with two particular types of leashes.
A standard leash that measures four to eight feet is good for on-leash training, such as heeling and walking. You may want to start out with a shorter standard leash, such as a four-foot one, as this will give you more control over your puppy.
A long leash is useful when you train your puppy for off-leash activities, like fetch. You can safely let go of this type of leash in a field, and you'll be able to catch your dog even if they don't come to you because the leash is so long.