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5 Dog Accessories You Need--And 3 You Don't

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5 Dog Accessories You Need--And 3 You Don't

When adding a dog to your home, it's important to have the right dog accessories waiting for him when he arrives. This will help ease the transition for both you and the dog.

Necessary Accessory 1: Collar with Tag

If your dog escapes from his new home, a collar with a tag increases the likelihood that he will be returned. Include your cell phone number and home address on the tag.

If your dog is already microchipped, be sure to call the microchip company as soon as possible to have that information transferred. Regardless, it's still important to have a tag.

Necessary Accessory 2: Leash

Your dog needs to leave the house every day for fresh air and a chance to explore. Get a 6-foot leash for every day walks. If you have goals of off-leash control, a 30-foot leash is your bridge. Once your dog has learned to come when called, put him on a 30-foot leash and call him from a longer distance. Once he can be called off distractions, he is ready for off-leash.

Necessary Accessory 3: Crate

Your puppy should have a place that is all his. Add a comfortable bed and yummy bones to make it more pleasant. If your dog isn't potty trained yet, a crate is crucial. It can also be used for timeouts when your dog is out of control or overly anxious.

Necessary Accessory 4: Treats and Interactive Toys

Though you don't want to become reliant on treats, they are a great beginning point to training. They make training fun and are an excellent way to motivate the dog and demonstrate a behavior.

While your dog is learning to entertain himself in your absence, interactive toys are important. Regular toys are great for interacting with your pet, but when you aren't home, toys aren't that exciting. Instead, stuff hollow toys or marrow bones with food, treats, peanut butter or cream cheese and freeze. Buy a toy that spits out kibble when pushed. Stuff regular toys with treats and sew them shut so your dog can tear them open again.

Necessary Accessory 5: Seatbelt

If you are in a car accident, your dog will become a projectile, endangering you and your dog. Protect him with a seatbelt harness that can be purchased at any pet store.

Unnecessary Accessory 1: Choke Chain or Prong Collar

These pieces of equipment are not the most efficient way to achieve loose-leash walking. It must be taught. If you are having trouble controlling your dog, try something less aversive such as an Easy Walk harness, which is available at every pet store.

Unnecessary Accessory 2: Flexi-Leash

Flexi-leashes, or expandable leashes, are unsafe because they break easily. They also encourage pulling because they teach your dog to move away from you to get more space on the leash. A 6-foot leash is better for teaching your dog to walk politely.

Unnecessary Accessory 3: Food Bowl

When you first get a new dog, don't waste training opportunities by feeding him from a bowl. Handfeed him for two to four weeks while training him to do basic behaviors. Feed him the rest of his food in interactive toys so that he must think and work. This provides exercise and improves training success.

When adding a new dog to your home, it's important to be prepared. Obtain the necessary accessories before you bring your dog home to decrease the stress for both you and your dog.

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