It doesn't matter if you are bringing home a brand new puppy or an adult dog, there are things that you will need to buy! I have to say that I find shopping for pet supplies super fun and unfortunately in the past, slightly addicting. However, buying baby supplies is even more fun and addicting so I guess I traded a habit for a habit!
The following is a general list that applies to every breed, size or age of dog in respect to the supplies you will need;
1. High quality food (read my post titled "Feeding your Dog" for more info on choosing a food).
2. 1 food dish (stainless steal or ceramic as plastic can harbor bacteria and be chewed).
3. 1 water dish of same material, yet slightly larger.
4. Crate (see "Crate Training" for more info on choosing a crate and using one properly).
5. Toys (choose only a few toys of various textures. I prefer a kong toy, a rope, a high quality plush and a ball to start with).
6. Bones/chews (see post "Bones" for more info).
7. Basic nylon or leather collar and 4 foot leash (hold off on pulling devices or read "Does your Dog Pull?").
8. Stain remover (you will need this no matter what! I love Simple Solution brand by far over the others).
9. ID tag for collar.
10. High quality shampoo like earth bath.
There are some things you can hold off on for a while or all together;
1. Poop bags: if you live in an apartment, this may be essential or you may find that you can use accumulated grocery bags or grab a few bags every time you pass a public dispenser.
2. Pooper scooper: really only helpful if you have a large yard and don't want to use a shovel or bags to pick-up.
3. Place mats for under food: I have never found these helpful, but my dogs aren't super messy.
4. Bed: only get a dog bed for the crate or outside the crate if you dog is not a chewer and is OVER a year old. Puppies will destroy beds and not only will you lose money, you could have a sick pup on your hands if he digests any stuffing and possibly needs an expensive surgery.
5. Treats: get treats once you have committed to training so you aren't doling them out for "free." (see blog post "rewards" for ideas of proper treats).
6. Food bins: super helpful, they are not a must-have and are spendy. I have two myself, and love them!
7. Flexi-leash: a lot of owners see these extendable leashes as must-haves, but honestly, they teach dogs to pull and are super dangerous in the hands of untrained dogs and untrained owners. I only use mine in open space areas when I cannot let my dogs loose and they need more freedom than a 4 foot lead allows.
8. Brush and nail trimmers: while you will need these later, most puppies don't start shedding till they get their adult coat and some owners may want to get the pup or dog professionally groomed and never deal with it at home. I do advise all owners to pet a new pup, put fingers in her mouth, touch her paws, play with her ears softly and generally desensitize her to grooming procedures.
9. Flea treatment: these have been marketed to us as preventatives but really should be used as treatments as we are now creating super bugs that are immune to the chemicals in these products due to consumer over-use.
10. Pens or gates: buy if needed for potty training and confinement.
You will want to make sure that you purchase all these things BEFORE you bring your new pet home because it is super stressful for a new dog to be drug into a pet store while you attempt to shop! Have the crate set-up in your main living space or bedroom (if you only bought one crate, you will probably be moving it back and forth for a while from living room to bedroom at night). Have the water bowl down where you would like it be and have all the gear put away and have a few toys out for your new friend.
For a new puppy: it is advisable to bring your pup straight home from the breeder/shelter/wherever and not make any stops to visit doting friends. Place your puppy in your backyard or front yard to eliminate before going inside then give him a tour of the house. Let him sniff his new home, but be close behind. If you have a slightly older puppy, you will probably want to have him on leash so he doesn't go tearing off into the house. Once he has explored his new digs you should assess his activity level. Does he need a nap? Is he frisky and wanting to play? Did he eat already today? Oblige with whatever he needs, but be sure to not leave him loose and make sure you start the crate training right away!
For a new dog: bring your new dog straight home as well, however, your new dog will have had all his shots and may want a little walk around the block to pee and get acquainted with new smells (provided the dog is not a fearful one). Once you bring your new dog in (on leash), let him explore the place and evaluate his needs. Start the crate training right away and don't be lax on your house rules because this is his first day. If you don't want him on the couch and he jumps on it, be sure to lure him off of it right away. If he starts going through the bathroom garbage, shut the door and redirect him to his toys. If he starts destroying your backyard, bring him in and make a mental note what you need to do to dog-proof your yard.
The next few days you will need to go about business as usual. I don't recommend anyone take excess time off when getting a new pet because we don't want to set-up any separation anxiety. After the first few days, consider starting training with a trainer either in your home or via a group class. If you are local (in the SF Bay Area), check out the training I offer, located on the "training" page.