Must Have Puppy Stuff

Must Have Puppy Stuff

Congratulations!  You’ve decided to take the plunge and get a puppy.  Whether this is your first dog or your tenth, it’s always a big commitment. There’s a reason people compare it to having a new baby. I distinctly remember one customer, years ago, who literally looked like a deer in the headlights as she entered Struttin Pup, announced she was getting a new pup and almost cried as she asked for help on how to prepare.

We are here to help! This list of must-have items will help prepare you for your new puppy. We can help with the products that will make your life easier (and your new dog’s life too!). We wish we could help you with the sleepless nights that often accompany your pup’s arrival.

1Freedom Harness

“The Freedom Harness is the Ferrari of Dog Walking Harnesses.” – Grisha Steward, Ahimsa Dog Training

We couldn’t agree more!  Most people use the Freedom Harness to reduce pulling, but it also reduces neck strain and helps prevent your small pup from escaping (many small pups can turn into Houdini and slip out of their flat collar).  This harness has a soft velvet lining on the strap underneath the legs that prevents chaffing and it has four points of adjustability which is great for growing pups.  We love how this harness offers pups more “leg room”, meaning it won’t restrict your pup’s gait, which we have seen in other no-pull harnesses.

2. Waist Leash

The one thing that has made the biggest difference in my dog, Sage’s, and mine relationship, especially when compared to my previous dogs, has been tethering.  I was introduced to Dr Sophia Yin, an amazing dog trainer and animal behaviorist who, sadly, passed away in 2014.  But her work remains alive and strong at By using a waist leash like Leashes by Liz or Ruffwear, your pup is in a position to learn some manners!  Tethering (whether to you or to furniture, and I did both) prevents jumping, chewing on things you don’t want them to, running around, and house-training accidents.  It rewards them for lying quietly, which in turn, gives them more freedom to go more places with you!

3.  Training Treat Bag

A dog training treat bag is a must, especially if you’re using a waist leash to tether your dog to you!  Back in the “good old days” before treat bags were around, I used to carry a small plastic bag filled with cut-up pieces of hotdog to train my first dog, Reed.  Not only did I smell, but my pockets were always greasy and I was always fumbling to get a treat out quickly enough.  But times have changed!  Now you can quickly treat your pup, not stain your pants and not smell like the local butcher shop!

4.  Lots of Treats

You’re going to go through A LOT of dog treats. In fact Dr Sophia Yin promotes not feeding your pup a typical meal out of a bowl, because your dog should be “learning it to earn it”.  I’ve never actually been able to do this, but I did make sure to adjust how much food my pup got depending on how many treats we went through that day.  My favorite treats are small (so you can give a lot of them) and those that are primarily made up of meat.  Favorites include:  Boulder Dog Food Company Turkey Bits 8 Oz , Sadie’s Bison Heart Chips, Bixbi Pocket Treats and Real Meat Treats 12 oz .

5.  Toys

Besides being oh, so cute, toys really do serve a purpose with your pup.  Puppies chew to explore the world, ease anxiety and soothe their gums from the pain of teething.  And we all know that if you don’t offer appropriate, safe, natural chew toys, they will find something inappropriate to chew!  Toys like Chilly Bone and Huggle Hound can be used to keep your pup from biting people’s hands, a common habit amongst teething puppies.  Whenever your pup nips at you, simply replace your scarred hand with a cute toy!  Toys like Puppy Can Toy treat dispensing, dog toy (Large) can be stuffed and frozen for hours of safe and tasty fun for your pup. Take a look at our blog,”Safest Chews for your Dog.”

6. Pet Stain & Odor Remover

For the inevitable accidents that will occur, one of the best pet stain and odor removers is Absolutely Clean Pet Stain & Odor Remover Made in Colorado, this cleaner can clean bile, vomit, diarrhea, urine, skunk (!) and even the red wine you spill on your brand new carpet!

Make sure to bring your new pup into Struttin Pup; we’d love to meet your newest family member.  In between “oohing” and “aahing” over your new pup, we’ll be glad to answer any questions you may have to help you along your journey!

The Safest Chew For Your Dog

The Safest Chew For Your Dog

ltThree years ago, after bringing home my new pup, Sage, I asked my holistic vet about safe and long lasting things to give her to chew on while she was home alone.  Her number one recommendation, hands down, was a stuffed and frozen Kong.*  (For those wondering, raw bones came in a close second.)

Many people think that Kongs are meant to be stuffed with peanut butter and anything else that Kong, itself, manufactures.  Not true!  First of all, that much peanut butter isn’t good for anybody – including your dog.  Can you imagine how much peanut butter it would take to stuff a Kong?  Even a small Kong would take at least half a cup!  That’s just asking for a tummy ache.  Personally, I like almond butter (the Paleo world has influenced me, I suppose!) and my dog, Sage doesn’t seem to mind.  In fact, she runs to the kitchen whenever a jar of almond butter is opened!  While I don’t recommend stuffing an entire Kong with almond butter, it is a great option to start or finish stuffing a Kong with, as it makes a great seal (so that the gooey ingredients listed below don’t fall out). It’s also a good idea to use your fingers to line a little bit of it inside your Kong – this will really keep your dog busy trying to lick it out!

So, if using jars and jars of nut butters as a stuffer for your dog’s Kong is out, what are you suppose to use?  Here’s a quick list of our favorite foods that can easily keep your dog happy and busy when stuffed and frozen in a Kong:

  • Organic, Plain Yogurt
  • Natural Baby Food
  • Fruits such as bananas, apples slices, strawberries, blueberries and watermelon (just remove the seeds first)
  • Veggies such as carrots, green beans, cucumber slices, or zucchini
  • Pumpkin (canned)
  • Leftovers – salmon, chicken, beef, veggies that are going to go bad in your crisper drawer despite your best intentions to eat them yourself, etc
  • Broth (low sodium chicken or beef broth is a great choice and makes an excellent teething treat for a puppy)
  • Kibble or Canned Dog Food
  • Dog Treats
  • Don’t Feed it to the Dog Lis!

Above are my suggestions for WHAT to stuff in a Kong.  As to HOW to stuff and freeze them – simple!  I like to take as many Kongs as I have (usually 3-5), place them in a large Tupperware container so that the large openings are at the top, and start stuffing!  The Tupperware will catch any spills (especially if you’re using something “leaky” like broth or yogurt). Place the Tupperware full of Kongs in the freezer and, viola, you’re set for the week!

Where you give your dog its’ Kong may depend on what you stuff it with.  Keep in mind that what freezes, must thaw!  And while your dog may be lightning fast at emptying out the Kong, chances are you won’t want to give Fido a Kong stuffed with canned pumpkin and plain yogurt on your brand new oriental rug.  So, perhaps its crate, a tiled or hardwood floor or the backyard are the perfect places to let your dog go to town.

Really, once you have a Kong, the ingredients are quite inexpensive, especially when you compare the cost to other chews like bully sticks!  It’s a great idea to rotate through different kinds of chews, but your dog will love a stuffed and frozen Kong and this is a great opportunity to get creative in the kitchen!  Bon Appetit!

* Throughout this article I  use the word “Kong” to describe a toy that can be stuffed with treats to keep your dog busy.  Kong is a wonderful option but other options exist, like my favorite – SodaPup.  It’s made in the USA out of natural rubber that is sustainable, non-toxic and biodegradable.  Think of Kong as the Kleenex of dog toys.  While Kong makes a great product and has dominated the market for years, there are other great options available.