Getting Started

Equipment List

The list below is provided as a guide. We encourage people to know and understand the many different pieces of dog equipment, their uses, their advantages and disadvantages.

What You Need To Get:

We advocate working with food and explain in detail how this works in the How Dogs Learn section.

Treat Pouch

If you would prefer not to put dog food in your pockets, a treat pouch comes in handy and can be hooked on to your waistband for easy access to the food.

A Nylon Collar or Harness

Pick a collar that fits; you should be able to place two fingers under the collar when it is fastened.

Be sure to remove the collar from the puppy when he is in his crate. This is done as a safety precaution.

Most puppies will react to a collar, harness and leash the first time they have one on. Some breeders will have already put collars on the puppies. If you are putting a collar and leash on the puppy for the first time, fasten it so that you can fit two fingers between his neck and the collar. It should not be tight, but it should not be so loose that the pup can scratch it off or that comes off over his head with tension from the leash. The same goes for a harness.

If it is the first time for the pup, let him get accustomed to the collar. He may cry and paw at it, but ignore this and he will get used to it quickly. You can play a quick game with him as a distraction (see Games).

No Pull Harness

There are a variety of harnesses on the market. A “no pull” harness is something worth exploring. It can be a welcome aid in teaching an exuberant puppy not to pull when you are walking together. If you are interested in trying out a no pull harness, a good pet supply store will help you fit the correct size on your pup and allow you to take it for a test drive.

A Nylon Leash With Metal Snap

Get a leash of the proper length. When you hold it at (your) belly-button level, it should hang down a few inches past where it is connected to your puppy’s collar. There should be some slack in the leash while you are holding it in this position, but without the leash dragging on the floor.





Be sure that the buckles and snaps don’t weigh the pup down excessively. We recommend a snap that opens by pushing down with the thumb as opposed to pushing in. The snaps that open by pushing in can pinch the pup’s feet or toes if they step on the snap in a certain way.

Be sure that your leashes, long lines, collars and harnesses are all in good condition. It is smart to have an extra collar and leash. If the equipment gets worn or chewed, be sure to replace it.

Before you do any major amount of leading the pup around by the leash, attach the leash and let him just drag it around to get a feel for the weight and the strangeness of it. Like the collar, he will adapt quickly but it is important that you allow him time to adjust. Be sure not to placate the puppy if he seems distressed about the equipment; instead, ignore him or distract him with some fun stuff.

Good leash tension

Good leash tension

A Nylon Long Line (15′-30′ Long)

The exercises and games on this site don’t require a long line, but it can be a useful piece of puppy equipment to have. It gives the pup the freedom to run around in an outdoor area where you may not feel comfortable letting him run off-leash. With the long line, you have an added safety precaution.

A Crate

Please refer to House Training for more information about the importance and benefits of crating your pup. There is no downside!

Although they are the least appealing to look at, metal wire crates are the most effective. They allow good air ventilation, can be easily cleaned, and allow the dog to look around. At times, if you would like to give the pup some added coziness, you can drape a blanket or old towel around part of the crate.

The crate should be big enough for the puppy to stand up, turn around, and lie down in. If you wish to get a crate that the puppy will grow into during the months that you employ it, use something to make the crate smaller while the puppy is young. Make sure it is not something the puppy could chew and hurt himself with. You can make a large crate smaller by using large plastic storage containers. When the puppy begins to outgrow, remove the material.

Puppy with treat ball Puppy with treat ball Puppy with treat toy
Dog and toys

Puppies occupied with toys…


There are some recommended toys that are important for your puppy. We suggest you use something you can fill with food such as a food ball, or hollow bone. A squeaky stuffed toy is very useful to get your pup’s attention. These toys have been specifically suggested to either assist you in the training of your puppy, or to help keep the pup occupied when he is on his own.

Like food, the use of toys is a potent way to motivate your puppy. They are also essential for certain games. Not all toys are created equal in your puppy’s mind. You will need to experiment with toys to see which ones your puppy prefers.

Keep the toys in a toy-box, bring them out for puppy play-time, use them and then put them away afterwards. Mix things up. A variety of toys is best. It helps keep things unpredictable and keeps the puppy interested.

Toys we Love

When raising and living with a dog, we all share some common goals.

  • Dog that are happy and healthy!
  • Dogs that are properly house trained.
  • Dogs that come when they are called.
  • Dogs that do not chew our prized possessions.
  • Dogs that can go for a walk or run with us and not be frightened by city sounds and sights.
  • Dogs that are able to stay on their own while we are away at work making a living, without tearing the house to shreds.
  • Dogs that do not bite anyone and that play nicely with other dogs.
  • Dogs that are able to live harmoniously in our homes and our communities.

Go ahead and make yourself a list of goals and objectives. Revisit as you go through the first 16 weeks of socializing and training and see how well you and your puppy are doing.

A Word about Gender

For simplicity, we refer to all puppies as he or him – this is in no way intended to insult all the female puppies out there!

If There are Two Dogs in the Home

Should there happen to be more than one dog in the home, it is imperative that you work with your puppy independently of the other dog(s), even if that other dog is a puppy. The two dogs should be socialized separately and trained separately. There are two main reasons for this. The ideal situation is for your dogs to bond strongly with you. If the two dogs spend too much time together, particularly if they are litter mates, they stand a chance of bonding more with each other than with you.

Young woman and Pup

Also, if two puppies are socialized together, one may be inhibited during this process in the presence of the other pup. This could undermine a lot of your hard work and nullify the puppy’s socialization.

Rest assured that your puppies will have plenty of time to hang out together and become great pals!

Have Fun and Get Silly

Although our goals are of an important nature, the main reason we adopt dogs is to enhance our lives. As you go through all the exercises on this site remember to relax, have fun, and get silly! Don’t forget, dogs love to play!

Young smiling woman holding puppy
Young woman holding puppy