Puppies are great! Puppies are wonderful! Puppies are a lot of work!

HELP! I have a puppy!

The best advice I can give you is to buy my book. It details easy to follow, step by step instructions for every aspect of puppy training. The workbook format allows you to check off the skills your puppy is building.
Click below to buy Level Up:Dog Training Journal--Puppy Edition. It's the best $12 you'll ever spend on Amazon.
Free video lessons to help you understand more completely the lessons described in the workbook

More Resources

Before You Get Your Puppy by Dr. Ian Dunbar
This is a wonderful resource to help you prepare your home for your new addition. Chapter four, "Errorless Houstraining," is especially valuable for setting up your puppy's new home. 

After You Get Your Puppy by Dr. Ian Dunbar
What to do about:
  • Puppy Biting
  • Developmental Deadlines
  • Socialization
  • Adolescence

Equipment Recommendations


This is my favorite Playpen or Extra long Gate. I use it to keep clever puppies from learning how to climb over fences, since it has no cross bars. It is very sturdy! It can be configured like a playpen for young puppies who need a safe space, or it can be used as a long gate to separate parts of the house or yard to keep dogs or kids out of an area. 

My favorite outdoor or camping enclosure is one that I also use inside in my puppy room. I bought several of the 45 inch tall sets, and I use them all the time. I build safe puppy enclosures inside and outside, and they are tall enough that even my most clever puppies haven't climbed over them yet.

Crates are important. You can buy a new one or get one used off Facebook Marketplace as long as you sanitize it. Start small and get bigger ones as your dog grows. I have crates in the house and in the car


To help your puppy learn to enjoy grooming, being in a playpen in the house, or being crated in a car, these are my absolute favorite Licky Mats. They freeze well. They clean up in the top rack of the dishwasher. You can put all kinds of yummy, healthy foods in them. I like doing combinations of soaked dry dog food, canned food, whipped cream cheese, yogurt, sauerkraut, fruit, and canned pumpkin. Make it interesting for your puppy. A frozen licky mat or two can easily replace a meal, depending on the size of your puppy, and the puppy can learn to relax while being confined. These are the ones I recommend to everyone, especially if you have to travel with a puppy. Buy a box of these, fill them and freeze them, then bring them along to puppy-pick up day. Your new puppy will travel better with something to occupy his brain. 

My dog Kuma highly approves of these chew sticks. For teething puppies, these are the best! Kuma has my husband trained! Every time he walks into my office, she politely reminds him of where the bag of "chewy bones" are stashed. She gets one every time!

Going for a Walk

Martingale Collars are very helpful for dogs with thick necks, or for dogs who are smart enough to slip out of a regular collar. I like the colors available with this brand, because it's hard to find a good color for my red dog. Make sure you measure for the best fit.

For dogs who like to pull, I recommend the Halti head harness to help you maintain control until you finish training loose-leash walking on a regular collar. It's super important to measure your dogs face to get the one that fits properly.

PetSafe 3 in 1 Harness is very comfortable for dogs to wear and is especially helpful for dogs that have learned to pull on the leash.
Ruffwear or Lupine Harness are also good for dogs that don't pull on leashes. 
Lupine will replace chewed harnesses. My dog Keiko tested out that guarantee (It's made of stiffer material and she didn't like it.)

This is my favorite long line for training my dogs and for taking Relaxation Hikes. I like the 16-foot length. I also like that it's easy to clean, dries quickly, doesn't smell like wet dog, and is easy to untangle.

You never want to be in a situation where your dog is attacked by another dog, coyote, or other wild animal, but if something were to happen, how would you prevent it? I carry this little spray can of SprayShield in my treat pouch for emergencies. Fortunately, I've never had to use it to prevent a dog attack, but we did use it for emergency mosquito repellent on a hike one time. It's a high-powered citronella spray.

I take puppies who aren't fully vaccinated out in a stroller. This is like the stroller I have, but you can also find one used on Facebook Marketplace, sanitize it, then resell it when your puppy outgrows it. Look for one that opens on the top so you can easily reward your puppy for making eye contact in distracting situations.


I have used many different styles of treat pouches, but this one my favorite small one. It has separate pockets for different types of treats, a place for clean-up bags, and room to store my keys. It comes in lots of different colors. 

When I'm serious about hiking longer distances with more dogs, I use this Fanny Pack because it has places for my water bottles. It's also water resistant, so I can put my phone inside it when it rains.  It also has a mesh pouch where I can put the filled poo bag until I can drop it in a trash can. It leaves my hands free for training. My friend had one; I loved hers, so I got my own.  

Clickers are a great training tool, and they are easy to misplace. I keep one in my training pouch, one in my car, and several scattered around the house so I can always find one. I like getting multipacks of clickers.

I usually make my own treats, using nitrate-free organic hotdogs or boiled chicken mixed up with dry dog food and stored in the fridge. Or I buy a different type of dry dog food. The new bag is a treat, because novelty is rewarding. When the old bag is gone, the treat bag becomes the regular bag of food, and I buy another different kind to become the treat bag. This way I am constantly changing proteins and ingredients so my dogs develop a healthy microbiome. However, I do like to keep some high-value treats in the car for when I forget to grab some at home. 

Everything I have listed is something that I use and highly recommend. These are also affiliate links, so thank you for helping to support my site.

Living Life

My favorite, non-toxic cleaner is amazing! It eliminates odors and kills germs, not just in the puppy area, but it can replace all the cleaners in your home!!! This stuff is incredible! And it's a fun science experiment too!!! I asked the company the best way to use it on pet urine odors, and here is their reply:
"If you have a cat, cat urine odor is caused by the proteins in the urine because they create the perfect environment the odors to thrive. Force of Nature is great at stopping the odor from cat urine because it stops both the source of the odor and the proteins that create the inviting environment for them. If you have a dog, it's also highly effective on dog urine. The trick with both of those odors is to saturate all the layers of the surface that have been soiled (even the back of a rug if it's gotten through that far), then let it dry (don't rinse). And your pets will appreciate that it leaves no harmful fumes or residues behind - you don't even need to rinse. With rugs, we suggest testing 1st in an inconspicuous spot & letting dry before proceeding to confirm the dyes are truly colorfast."

This is my favorite Dog Vacuum. Yes, it's actually designed for vacuuming your dog! I use it daily during shedding season. I also expose all my puppy students to being brushed and vacuumed. It really helps control the amount of dog hair floating around my house, but it's quiet enough that the dogs don't mind the sound--especially when they have their favorite Licky Mats available during the grooming process.

I use and highly recommend Nuvet multivitamins and Joint supplements for both dogs and cats. My dogs and grand-kitties take them daily. Some behavior issues can be prevented or alleviated by adding in the right nutrient cofactors for the body to heal itself, allowing reduced anxiety, more focus, and less hyperactivity. These are the highest quality, best all-around supplements I've found.
They also have a wonderful puppy shampoo!
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