Getting a puppy is one of the most exciting things you can do. As the proud dog mum of two, we’ve been through our fair share of toys,treats and training items for both dogs.
Some of which were so good, we repurchased them when we got Riley. Both of our dogs are avid chewers, adventurous and intelligent, so keeping them entertained and enriched is really important to us.
So, here are some items we recommend buying for your new puppy after being dog owners for nearly five years.
Snuffle mats have been one of the best activities that we bought for the dogs. When we took Albie to his puppy classes, he was introduced to one and our dog trainer told us that “20 minutes of sniffing is the equivalent amount of energy and brain power for them as 2 hours of walking!”.
They are good for keeping dogs busy on wet, rainy days or when you’re busy. For example, both ours get them in their crates when I’m vacuuming the house. It keeps them out of the way and entertained, and sometimes they go for a little nap afterwards. You can get ones like the one above, or ones like this one with flaps, hidey holes etc to mix it up. We don’t leave Riley with one alone as she is still young and may start chewing it.
Similar to the snuffle mat, the Snuffle Ball is a great toy for getting your dogs natural sniffing instinct going. Each hole has a piece of cloth that you can unfurl, wrap some treats into and tuck back into place. I found it takes me about 5-10 minutes at most if i’m using every single piece. This is a great activity for indoor, rainy days. It’s been particular useful for me working from home, as it keeps them both very entertained.
Training Treats and Chewy treats
Training a puppy takes a great deal of time and we found that little training treats are the best thing to work with around meal times. We feed our dogs a raw diet, so we can’t use their kibble throughout the day to train them to work for their food in that sense, so we do training with a few different flavours of training sized treats.
One of my favourite places to buy them from is The Snack Pawtal, a North East based dog treat business. We’ve been buying from them since Albie was a puppy and the quality is fantastic. They also do natural chews, natural strips as well as natural bite treats. For Riley when she was teething quite badly, we bought the red bass skins and they would last her quite awhile.
Kongs (perfect for avid chewers!)
Kongs are one of the best things we have bought for the dogs. They have at least 2 each if not 3 so that we can have them on rotation. You fill the kong with treats, paste, peanut butter- whatever your dog likes! Then you give it to them and because there’s only one hole, they have to work at getting the treat out. This is great for mental stimulation. To make it harder for them so it lasts longer, they can be popped in the freezer.
They are also able to be put in the dishwasher which makes cleaning them up so much easier and more hygienic!
Kongs come in different sizes and toughness levels. They have puppy ones, normal ones, black ones made of tougher rubber for strong chewers and they even make one for older dogs. Find them here on Amazon.
Nylabones (particularly the puppy starter kit)
The Nylabone puppy starter kit was one of the first things I ordered from Amazon when I found out we were getting Albie. 3 bones for the 3 stages of puppy teething! When we got Riley, I ordered it again. I also got her the dinosaur shaped Nylabone as it was too cute to not get.
Find more Nylabone products here on Amazon, they have a wide range of items perfect for dogs.
Clicker for training
Clicker training is one of the best things we’ve done with both dogs. Riley has boundless energy and training her has been a bit more of a challenge than it was with Albie. So i’m having to do more training with her during the day than I think I had to with Albie.
These clickers are great, even if you have long acrylic nails as they just press down so you can use the flat part of your thumb to use them. They come in a pack of two and the bungee cord makes it easy to wear on your wrist as you’re doing your training sessions.
Long Line Training Lead for training puppy recall
A long line training lead is essential for training a puppy recall, I think. You can get them in 5 metres up to 20 metres. They are also useful if you don’t ever plan on letting your dog off leash but want them to still be able to explore a bit more on walks. We find them really handy in open spaces like fields and parks when we want them to be able to run around together a bit more. You can find them on Amazon here.
Snuggle Sheep for puppy getting used to sleeping alone
We bought this snuggle sheep for Riley and I wish we had have bought it for Albie. From the first night we got her, the sheep has been in her crate. It comes with a little plastic heart inside, that when pressed, gives out a heartbeat. This helps soothe the puppy to sleep, making them feel less lonely in the crate.
I was keen to get this as she had come from a bigger litter than Albie had and was used to sleeping cuddled up with her brothers and sisters. It has been a GODSEND. She has slept through the night since we got her and I really do think the sheep has a lot to do with it.
Even now at around 21 weeks old, she will drag it into her crate at night for company and jump on it until the heartbeat begins. The poor thing has also become a bit of a chew toy!
The heartbeat is hidden behind a velcro opening in the tummy, so just keep an eye on it. I’ve found the batteries do last quite awhile, at least 2 months we’ve had this and it’s been used nightly and it only just now needs the battery changing.
You can also buy ones that give off heat too. Find snuggle toys for puppies here on Amazon.
Lickimats to cure puppy boredom, stress and anxiety
Finding Lickimats has been a great thing for our two dogs. We actually feed them their raw diet off of a lickimat or from the Lickimat Bowl. The licking helps soothe them, reduce stress, anxiety and boredom. They’re great for popping some treats on and paste like peanut butter, popping in the freezer and giving to them to give them some enrichment.
Lickimat do a few different type ones and you can even get one for sucking onto the side of the bath to help with bath time! Click here to see their range on Amazon.
A word of advice though is don’t leave them alone with dogs that like to chew as they are only thin and will definitely be able to be chewed up.
Puzzle Feeders to keep puppy busy!
Puzzle feeders are great sources of enrichment for your puppy. Another item to put in the ‘wet, rainy day’ or ‘working from home’ box. I like to set a couple of them up to keep them both occupied. Alongside their snuffle mats, this really adds some thinking into their day and makes them work that little bit harder for their food.
You can get a whole range of different types of puzzle feeders, from ones that roll around dispensing treats to sliding ones like the one above and more. Mix and match them and change them up frequently for your dogs and they will have a fun activity!
I hope that this blog post has been useful for you. As we come up to Riley’s 1st birthday, I will update it with more items that we have found useful!