Bringing Home A New Puppy: Tips & Checklist

Hi friends! I can’t believe I haven’t done a blog post about Jojo yet!!!! Omg! While she 100% deserves her own introduction post, I wanted to put together a list of puppy essentials that you’ll need if you’re bringing home a pup. I’ve gotten a few questions about this stuff, so I figured I’d try to publish it this first, and then I’ll do a post on Jojo’s story later.

In addition to the obvious food, water, and lots of TREATS (when Jojo was v smol I’d even cut them in half or quarters so that I could give her more throughout the day to help with training lol), there are many things to consider buying when bringing home a pup! Many of these things will make your life SO much easier, and there are certain reasons I recommend these specific brands/products over others due to their durability.

Some of these you’ll want to buy right away when you get a dog, and others you can hold off on purchasing until they’ve matured a little or until you know their behavioral habits.


  • Wild One Collar & Leash
    • Be sure to get a non-retractable leash for training purposes!
    • I really like this collar & leash set from Wild One because it’s easy to clean and is literally bulletproof. Jojo (especially when she was younger) would chew on her leash all the time, and these ones are indestructible.
  • Non-slip grip food & water bowls
    • Use stainless steel, non-tip food bowls, which won’t break or absorb odors!!
    • The non-tip/slip food bowls are great because this prevents the bowls from sliding around the floor as they eat/drink.
    • I also noticed Jojo didn’t like water bowls that had any sort of print on them, because I think she thought there was something in the water (dramatic). She would try and paw the water to get the “thing” out of the water and it would make such a mess! So definitely get bowls that are solid colored lol.
  • Name tag
    • I originally got one from QALO that was silicon because it didn’t jingle when she’d walk around, but it sadly broke off like 2 months after I bought it.
    • Just get a standard one from Petsmart! I think you can engrave them for like $17.
  • Car seat
    • The thing I get the most questions on!! I wish I had had this the day I brought Jojo home from the shelter – it would have made driving with her a lot more enjoyable in the early days. It comes with two straps to secure her into the seat by her collar, and comes with a little “booster” seat too for when she was smaller!

Sleepy/Down Time

    • Crate with crate divider
      • Crate training was the best thing I ever did for me and Jojo (mainly me). Now that she’s older she doesn’t need to sleep in her crate, but sometimes when I have guests over it’s nice to put her in her crate to calm down. The divider helps when they’re younger because it prevents
    • Crate water bottle
      • If you plan on “crating” your dog while they’re gone, they’re going to get thirsty, and if you leave them with a water bowl they’re probably going to spill it in their crate and make a mess. This one works just like a hamster water bottle (it attaches to the side of the crate and has a nozzle at the bottom) and Jojo likes it better than her regular water bowl lol.
    • Crate cover
      • This helps your dog to know it’s quiet time when they’re in their crate. The darkness while help them sleep and will prevent them from getting distracted!

The Not Fun Stuff

  • Poop bags & poop bag holders
    • This one is obvious haha. But these are the best price I have found for an awesome quality!!
  • Pee pads
    • If you live in an apartment/condo and don’t live on the ground floor, these will save you in the early months when puppies go to the bathroom every hour haha. I Googled how to properly introduce them but still worked on getting Jojo to go pee outside too.
  • Stain remover
    • This stuff (Skout’s Honor) is the best. My friend Tatyana gave me a bottle and it really does a great job getting all of the scents and stain out of the carpet.
  • Training / Behavior Correctors
    • “Stop That” Spray
      • This spray is designed to help stop bad behavior with a scary sound and scent. Spray it whenever your pup does any unwanted behavior (like jumping up on chairs), and it should scare them and help kick the habit.
    • Rannick’s Bitter Apple Taste Deterrent Spray
      • I went through an entire bottle of this in like two weeks when Jojo was just a puppy haha. She would try and chew on EVERYTHING. Shoelaces, the couch, baskets, rugs, etc. You spray (read: drench) this stuff on whatever they are trying to bite and they’ll stop because it tastes so bad to them.
    • Anti-bark machine OR a Shock Collar
      • I started with the anti-bark machine for our office but recently had to buy a shock collar to break her habit. The anti-bark machine seemed like a good place to start, but after a while, Jojo got used to it! I resorted to the shock collar, and after one good shock, her behavior completely changed!
    • Baby Gate
      • This was super helpful when Jojo was a puppy to keep her coraled in certain areas of the house.
    • Potty Bells
      • These saved me and it’s really easy to train your dog how to use them! Basically, you hang the bells from the door you typically take your dog out of when they go potty. All you have to do is encourage them to hit the bells when they want to go out! Sometimes, Jojo takes advantage of the bells and will ring them just to go outside, but I’m so glad I taught her how to use them.

Glam Time

  • Hair-catching Gloves
    • Jojo went through a phase around 6 or 7 months where she shed her winter coat and there was hair EVERYWHERE. I had previously purchased the standard dog brush, but it didn’t do what I needed it to lol. I bought these and she seems to like the feeling of them more! Just clap your hands outside when wearing the gloves to get all the hair off haha.
  • Toothbrush
    • Gotta keep them teefers clean!
  • Dog shampoo
    • A pup that smells good is a pup worth snuggling.

The Fun Stuff

  • Doggie DNA Test
    • Since Jojo is a rescue, I wasn’t sure what her breed was when I got her. My mom got me this doggie DNA test right after I adopted her and I’m so glad I did it! They mail you a cotton swap that you put in your dog’s mouth and mail back to their lab. In like 10 days, they’ll email you with the results! And if you’re curious, Jojo is:
      • 50% cattle dog
      • 12.5% border collie
      • 12.5% White Swiss shepherd
      • 25% herding groups (kind of unknown)
  • Toys, balls, chews
    • BarkBox
      • We just bought our first BarkBox last month, and Jojo loves it! She’s at the age where she goes through toys pretty quickly, and each box includes 3 toys, 2 bags of treats, and 1 chewy. Would definitely recommend this so you don’t have to keep buying new toys to keep your pup busy!
    • Bully sticks
      • These are kind of pricey but will keep Jojo occupied for a GOOD hour. Just be sure to get the unscented kind because they kind of stink!
    • Treats
      • These are Jojo’s favorite! When she was just a few months old, I would cut them in quarters and use them for training!
    • Frozen snacks
      • Carrots! A really healthy alternative to treats.
    • Herding Ball
      • Jojo is obsessed. *warning* It’s a little loud while she rolls it all over the hard floor, but it keeps her entertained & moving!
  • Bandanas
    • The Pet Scout Shop makes the cutest bandanas! They have such a wide variety of prints and even do cute holiday ones too. Jojo is wearing her cactus bandana in this post’s feature image!
  • Shark Life Jacket
    • Obviously necessary for Jojo’s first swim at grandma’s house.


  • Doggie Bed
    • Jojo loves hers! I got this for her after she outgrew needing to sleep in a crate at night
  • Fanny pack for carrying treats
    • I got this one from Nordstrom to not only carry treats whenever I was with Jojo (v necessary for positive reinforcement for goob behavior), but I could put my phone/keys in here on walks!
  • Bug repellent bracelets
    • Handy to wear during the months when bugs are bad and you’re taking the pup on a walk
  • Visor
    • If you’re outside with you dog a lot, this comes in handy because you won’t have to completely mess up your hair like you would with a hat. Plus, you guys know how much I love skincare, and it’ll protect your face from the sun!
  • Doggie boots (for hot/cold temperatures)
    • I don’t really have a brand I love or recommend, but I got these and they worked fine! They’re disposable and biodegradable, so when they get really dirty you can just toss them.

Hope you guys found this helpful! Feel free to DM me any questions over on my IG @bbooks or just comment on this post and I’ll get back to you.

xx bbooks

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