Equipment for Your Teenage Puppy
Now your puppy is growing up and has approached what we call dog adolescence, most of the things you bought when they were a young puppy have been outgrown, and it’s time to go shopping again! Just like when they were smaller, you may start wondering: what do I need for my dog? Read on for our guide to knowing what kind of puppy equipment to choose for your pup as they become an adolescent.
Choosing the right collar and lead as your puppy gets older
By now your teenage dog will have grown out of their puppy collar, as with lots of their other puppy equipment, and will probably be ready for their first adult collar. You need to make sure you get a collar that is going to be comfortable for your dog to wear - so find a soft material or padded leather one that doesn’t have hard edges. The wider the collar the better, as it will spread any pressure over a greater area – making it gentler around your dog’s neck.
You will be doing more training with your dog when you are out and about, so finding a 6-inch training lead with clips on both ends and various D-rings to adjust the length will be a great investment. They are wonderful to add to your selection of puppy equipment: great for walks, classes, and also useful if you need to secure your dog to anything. Find one that is strong but also comfortable for you to hold. Stay away from any collars that can tighten around the dog’s neck, such as choke chains, and extendable leads.
Choosing a harness for your teenage pup
As your puppy gets older, they’ll also get stronger. Unless your dog walks without pulling on a flat collar, you may want to consider adding an anti-pull harness to your arsenal of puppy equipment. This will lessen the chance of injury to your dog’s neck and also make walks far more enjoyable for you both. A good harness should be easily adjustable, fit your dog without rubbing anywhere, not move around or slip with movement, and keep the dog’s shoulders free so they can move without restriction. Having various places to attach the lead is useful too, as it will mean you can walk your dog from either side and vary its use.
Making sure you have a puppy ID tag
An ID tag is one of the things at the top of the list of things you need for your dog! The law in the UK, states that a dog must wear an ID tag with the owner’s name and address on it. It doesn’t matter that your dog is microchipped, they still need to have an ID tag at all times when they are outside of your property. Make sure whatever collar you choose has somewhere to attach the tag – and check to see if your puppy’s tag is readable, or if you need to invest in a new one.
The benefits of a long line lead
Teenage dogs can suddenly develop selective deafness when it comes to recall, so having a long line will be a useful part of your puppy equipment tool box! They take a bit of practice to use without tying your legs together, but once you adjust to using one you’ll find it will be invaluable during your dog’s adolescence.
Should I get a new puppy bed yet?
While it is tempting to think that now your dog is nearly fully-grown it’s time to splash out on some fabulous beds that complement your interior design, but don’t be too hasty. Teenage dogs tend to go through a chewing phase for a few months when they get their adult teeth, so this might not be the best time for expensive investments. Make sure your dog has comfortable places to sleep in every room you spend time in together, with padding thick enough to support growing joints. But don't buy anything that you would mind getting gnawed, and save buying top-of-the-range beds until your dog is a little older and past the chewing phase.
Things for a puppy to chew
At this age dogs do need things of their own to chew and gnaw. There are plenty of toys that can help them do this. Kong toys are the best known as they are perfectly shaped, so you can stuff food into them and make chewing them rewarding, as well as being good for your dog’s new adult teeth. Make sure that once your puppy’s adult teeth have come through that you clean and care for them properly.
Some of the best toys aren’t expensive and can’t be found in the shops! The inside of toilet rolls or kitchen towels – or even small boxes, as long as they don’t have sharp edges – can make great toys to hide treats in. This kind of puppy equipment will give your dog a chance to rip and tear to get at the food inside, giving them a chance to do some problem-solving, and also indulge in their natural scavenging behaviour in a safe and appropriate way.
Teenage dogs need mental as well as physical exercise, so now that you’re revisiting your collection of puppy equipment, it’s the time to invest in toys that provide mental stimulation. Most of these have ways to hide treats or kibble inside so your dog has to use their brain to work out how to extract the yummy goodies from inside. To start with, you may have to help and encourage your dog while they work out how to get the treats out of the toys, but soon they will work them out for themselves. You will discover if your dog prefers to use their mouth or their paws when they play, and you can focus on building their own specific skills with more complex toys.
Sniffing toys such as snuffle mats (which you can either buy or make yourself) are also ideal as they encourage your dog to use their nose in order to find treats, which most dogs love but are rarely given a chance to do.
Check your existing toys
This is the perfect time to check all the toys your dog already has. Are they big enough so your dog can’t get them stuck in his throat? Are they worn or broken? Throw out and replace any that might not be safe or appropriate.
Knowing what your dog enjoys doing is the key to providing the perfect toys. For some dogs, nothing can be more fun than having their own digging pit in the garden, or even some starter agility equipment so you can practice going through tunnels and round weaves. For others a paddling pool can be their idea of heaven especially during a hot summer.
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