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Every puppy needs a food and water bowl, a collar, a leash, a brush, nail clippers, shampoo, toys, and a place to sleep. We also think a crate and a pen are essential. Most families will find many of the other supplies listed below helpful as well. Below is a discussion of the things that we recommend.
The best dry food we have found that almost all puppies and dogs do well on is TLC.
TLC has probiotics and a little bit of grain for fiber so that even dogs with sensitive stomachs do well on it. For older puppies and dogs, we recommend rotating your dog’s food between TCL and a few other top quality foods. However, if you prefer to stick to the same food, TLC is a good food for long-term use.
TLC has just the right amount of the ingredients that we look at when evaluating dog food. See our How to Choose a Dog Food page for the criteria that we use to decide on our favorite foods. You can only buy TLC directly from the company. It is not sold to distributors nor stores so that it always comes fresh from the manufacturer without sitting in warehouses or store shelves for months. Click on the link below to go to their website and get $5.00 off your first order.
You can read more about this food on our Favorite Dog Foods page.
Keep in mind that I strongly encourage people to not keep puppies or dogs in collars when they are unsupervised.
I have a breeder friend who recently lost a dog when his collar got caught in the fence and he strangled.
Many years ago, we had a 15-year-old miniature schnauzer in a collar with tags. She was sleeping on my deck when her tag fell in between the slats, got caught, and pinned her there. Fortunately, we were right there with her to take the collar off. However, if she had been alone, she could have strangled herself.
One of our puppies who went to another family got her collar tangled up with another dog’s collar while playing and the other dog almost strangled when the two collars became intertwined. Fortunately, this person was with the dogs also.
A different breeder friend had two dogs who got their collars tangled together. She had to do CPR to save one of her dogs.
I know a lot of people leave collars on 24/7 but I’ve seen the dangers so we only have colors on our dogs when we are with them.
One of our favorite collars is the Blueberry Pet 3M Reflective Adjustable Collar. The Blueberry collars are very attractive and hold up well over time. Another favorite brand is Ruffwear Collar. Your puppy will need a snap or buckle collar and he/she will be in a 10-15 inch collar while here. Most puppies will need a collar adjusted to 11 or 12 inches when they leave our house. Make sure to bring a collar that will adjust to that size when you pick up your puppy. Your puppy will grow into about an 18-22 inch collar as an adult, depending on sex and size.
For training or leash walking, I recommend a martingale collar after your puppy is 10-12 weeks old. I never recommend a slip collar or choke chain. I like a martingale because you can put them on your dog fairly loosely. It will tighten up before it pulls over his head so you don’t have to worry about your dog pulling out of the collar. I recommend getting one without a chain. I’ve had several with chains to leave dark marks on a dog’s cream fur like a cheap ring leaves a green mark on your finger. Both the Blueberry collars and the Country Brook collars are really nice looking, well-made, and have lasted for many years.
My favorite martingale collar is from Country Brook Design. They hold up very well over time and I get a lot of compliments on how they look. Most adult girls will have about an 18-inch neck if kept at a healthy weight and most boys will have about a 20-inch neck. Because of this, both boys and girls can usually wear either the medium or large sized collar.
Another favorite brand is the Blueberry Collar. Get the small Blueberry collar for a 10-week old puppy and a medium for an adult female. Most males can still wear a medium when they are full grown, but some like our Micah need to wear a large.
We do not recommend the “Gentle Leader” or any other head halter. Those recommending head halters claim that they are a way to get a dog to walk loosely on a leash without using punishment based training. I wholeheartedly disagree and would argue that these head halters are uncomfortable for a dog, that they do give punishments, and even that they are dangerous. Many veterinary orthopedic specialists have come out against them because of damage to necks from dogs pulling with head halters.
Prong and Star-mark Training Collars
We do not recommend the traditional use of prong or training collars. Summer Brook does not advocate the “Pack Leader” mentality. Instead, we cause leash pulling to be uncomfortable for a dog without causing pain. We want any corrections from the dog’s perspective to be coming from the dog’s behavior itself and not from us.
If someone wanted to use one, GREAT CARE must be used. They are a very powerful training tool that have a big chance of negative consequences. They must be used so lightly and with such gentleness that a dog feels only slight discomfort without pain. Prong collars are the power steering of dog collars. A car steering wheel must be handled with gentleness or you risk putting your car into a spin. In this same way, a prong collar must be used with gentleness or you will cause pain and risk emotional damage to your dog. Because prong collars can so easily be misused, we don’t recommend them.
Leashes are a must for a puppy or dog of any age. We have a variety of leashes of various lengths and thicknesses for different purposes. I suggest getting at least two leashes, a short leash under 2 feet for when you want to keep your dog close to you and a 6 foot leash for when you want your dog to have more freedom to pee or just sniff around.
For taking a dog out to potty on a leash, we use a 6-foot leash. Taking a dog to potty on a leash is a good idea if you prefer your dog to potty in a particular spot such as on mulch instead of on your grass. Here is our favorite 6-foot slip leash: Alvalley Sport Slip Leash. Alvalley makes very attractive high-quality leashes that have held up for us over time and they come in a variety of colors. We use a slip leash a lot because we don’t keep our dogs in collars unless we are traveling. However, if your dog pulls, don’t use a slip leash. Instead get an Alvalley Nylon Snap Lead. For those times that we have a collar on our dogs, here the Alvalley Nylon Snap Lead is our favorite leash to snap onto a collar.
For training a puppy, we prefer a 4-foot leash. Alvalley is a high quality brand for all lengths. We like the Alvalley 4 Foot Snap Lead. For adult dogs, we recommend a leash that is 8 mm in diameter. For young puppies, we use a 6 mm Alvalley leash. An 8 mm leash works fine for a puppy, but I prefer the smaller one for ease of use and because it fits easily into the outside pocket of a treat bag.
Traffic 12-24 Inch Leash
I recommend a traffic leash or a leash that is 12 to 24 inches long for jogs or brisk walking where you want your dog to stay close to you. The correct length depends on your height as well as your dog’s. You want it long enough to reach from your relaxed hand to your dog’s collar with just a little bit of wiggle room for your dog to have a little freedom but still stay right next to you. These short leashes are my go to’s for every day walking.
For shorter people like myself, we love and recommend this Round Genuine Rolled Leather Dog Short Traffic Leash 12 in for when you want your dog to stay close to you. If you are taller, then we recommend this Round Genuine Rolled Leather Dog Short 24in Traffic Leash. These leashes are made of rolled leather. They are extremely soft and comfortable to drape over the back of your hand. You only have to actually hold onto them if your dog should pull or lag. I’ve taken 4 dogs at a time jogging on a regular basis with these leashes.
For a puppy, a 24-inch leash is a good length for most people. For a young puppy and a tall man, you might need to use a 4-foot leash. A 3-foot would be ideal but I’ve not found a 3-foot leash anywhere. For adult dogs, if you are 5 ft. 5 inches or shorter, a 12-inch leash is a good length. If you are taller, you’ll want a longer leash, either 18 or 24 inches.
Bowls and Buckets
I recommend bowls or buckets made of stainless or ceramic. Puppies and even dogs like to chew the plastic ones.
I like to use buckets instead of bowls for water. Puppies love to dig in their water which makes a mess out of it. If you clip a bucket to the outside of their crate, they can’t get into it. Hang the bucket on the outside of the crate with the hook that is on the bucket. Then attach the clip for security by using only one side of the clip to attach the handle to the crate. Leave the other end of the clip just hanging. Never put water inside a crate with a dog. They don’t need it overnight or while they are taking a nap. I recommend the 2-quart size for one or two big dogs. This size is also a good size for a puppy. I use two snaps to stabilize the bucket.
For food, I use the DuraPet Slow Feed Bowl. Medium size is good while the puppy is growing but large is better for adults.
Most Goldens will gobble their food too fast and these will somewhat slow them down. I also water my dog’s food down just barely covering it which further slows them down. I usually let it soak for 10 minutes but sometimes I feed it right after adding water. Both ways will slow them down. Some say that dogs need to eat their food dry in order to keep their teeth clean. However, if you’ve ever cleaned up after a dog that has regurgitated his food, you’d know that most dogs don’t take the time to chew. They swallow the food whole. The best way to keep your dog’s teeth clean is to give him plenty of things to chew on (such as bones or antlers).
We highly recommend a crate. The best size crate for adult girls is a 36X24X27 inch wire crate. For an adult boy, use either a 42X28X30 or 36X24X27 inch wire crate. If you have the room, the larger size is better for boys, but dogs like to be cozy so even though a 36-inch crate might look small for a big boy, he will be happy in it if you don’t have space for such a large crate as a 42 inch one.
Your puppy will obviously be growing into a big crate but I think it is worth the extra money to buy a 24-inch crate for her first couple of months at home. The cost is less than $30.00 and the convenience of using the smaller size is worth the extra expense. It will last a Golden until they are about 4 months and you will be able to move around when house-training. If you decide to start off with a 36-inch crate, then you will need to section the crate off while she is young to make it temporarily smaller.
We prefer wire crates in most cases because they give more ventilation and Golden Retrievers like it to be cool.
Which Wire Crate?
I personally use the Midwest crates and like the ones with two doors as they give the opportunity to use it turned sideways with the entrance on the side as well as the end. We use both the Midwest Icrate which are lighter weight and the Midwest Life Stages which are heavier duty. I go into more detail about them below
There are two types of Midwest wire crates. The Life Stages crates are heavier duty than the Icrates but the Icrates are lighter weight which is nice if you think you’ll be moving them around much. The Icrates are also two inches shorter and two inches thinner than the Life Stages crate.
Crash Tested Crates
We travel with our dogs in a regular wire crate, but we’ve heard very good things about the Variocage crates. They larger at the bottom than the top so they fit better in the back of an SUV or van. They are crash test proven and have excellent safety records. These crates are a bit difficult to set up and take down so we only recommend them for those that want a crate that stays in a vehicle most of the time. They are perfect for families that take their dogs with them a lot and want a somewhat permanent fixture in their vehicle.
Soft Sided Travel Crates
If you travel much, we recommend the Noztonoz Sof-krate.. This crate is very lightweight and sets up and folds down quickly and easily. We love these crates for motels and dog shows. However, we don’t recommend them for travel safety in a vehicle. We also don’t use them at home because they don’t provide ventilation that is as good as a wire crate.
If looks are important to you, I recommend a Denhaus Townhaus wood crate. This crate looks just like a nice end table. Though it was expensive, mine has held up well for several years. This crate doesn’t have a divider and isn’t the best choice for a puppy, but once your dog is grown, it’s a very nice option.
You will also need a crate pad of some kind to go inside your crate. My hands-down favorite crate pads are Primo Pads. They are made of a heavy duty vinyl and I have yet to have a dog chew one up. The vinyl is cool so that my dogs like them even in the summer. They come in a big variety of sizes so that they will fit your crate like a glove.
Raised Cot Dog Bed
We love and recommend an aluminum Kuranda Bed. This is a raised cot-like bed that is cool and comfortable. We train our older puppies to go to a Kuranda Bed with a “place” command and use one to start training the “stay” command.
We have purchased both the aluminum as well as the less-expensive PVC Kuranda beds. Though the company says that the PVC beds are for dogs up to 125 pounds, they don’t hold up for heavy use with a Golden. Our aluminum beds still look brand new but our PVC beds are starting to warp a little after a few years. We like the Ballistic Nylon fabric which has held up for us for several years. The large is the correct size for both boy and girl Goldens.
Memory Foam Dog Bed
If you want a soft cushy bed, we recommend the Orvis Memory Foam Couch Dog Bed. We have two of them and they are as comfortable as many human beds. We have the extra large size but a large would be plenty big enough for a girl. Here is the link to their regular bed:
A pen gives a puppy a contained area larger than a crate where they can’t get into mischief. At first, your puppy will have to be watched almost every minute when they are out of the crate or pen in order to establish good potty habits and also to teach them not to chew. Until you teach them otherwise, some puppies will try to chew everything, including the furniture and even the woodwork on the walls so I have found the pen to be a huge help.
If you get a pen, you need to begin training your puppy not to jump on the sides right away. Never pet your puppy or let him out while he is jumping. Reward him for sitting. Many puppies are able to climb out of exercise pens (even at 8 or 9 weeks) but if you train him from the start that there is no reward in having his front feet on the sides, he’ll never learn that he is able.
The Richell Pen
For house training, we highly recommend a pen. In fact, I wouldn’t raise a puppy without one. Our favorite pens are the Brown Richell Pen and Black Richell Pen. The Richell pen is fairly expensive, but they are super well built and can be used for the life of a dog. They open and close easily and in both directions. Opening a pen to the inside or the outside is a big help when training a puppy the “wait” command before passing through doors or gates. The Richell Pens look really super nice. They also can be set up as room dividers. We own at least a dozen sets of these pens and have used them in a large number of configurations. We’ve had them for years and they still look brand new.
Another advantage to the Richell pen is that there is an option of buying a plastic bottom designed to fit the inside of it perfectly. This is nice in those early weeks when your puppy might have an accident.
For a less expensive option, I like the North States Play Yard. The Iris 8 Panel Pen. is another pen that many use. These two pens look nicer inside than a basic dog exercise pen. However, like most exercise pens, many puppies will eventually learn to climb or jump out of them. Families must be on top of training their puppy not to jump on the sides. Unlike the Richell pen, most, if not all pens have doors that open in only one direction. If you get one of these pens, set your pen up so that the door opens to the outside.
You may want to consider a baby gate if you need to section off a portion of your home. It is easier to house train if you start off not allowing your puppy in too large of an area.
Our favorite gate is the North States Deluxe Decor Gate. The North States gate looks nice, holds up over time, and puppies can’t climb it. It also has the added convenience of being able to be easily removed by simply pushing a button that locks it in place. However, this gate must be mounted to the wall.
If you are wanting a more temporary gate, we like the Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Gate pressure mounted gates for spaces 29-39 inches and the Regalo Extra WideSpan Walkthrough Safety Gate if you need to span a space up to 58 inches. For a pressure mounted gate, they do very well and are a good simple solution if you only want a gate for a few months until your puppy is house-trained and can be given the full run of the house. However, understand that many puppies cannot be totally trusted in large areas until they are over 6 months of age. It takes some until they are close to a year.
We recommend the Pet Safe Insulated 3 flap doggy door.
If you are able to put a doggy door in, this is by far the easiest way to house-train a puppy. Also, it provides an ideal way to leave a dog when they have to be alone. I teach our puppies to use a doggy door before they go home. In the last days before they go home, I section off a small area inside next to our kitchen with free access to a doggy door that leads to our side yard. When I keep a puppy past 8 weeks, I gradually increase the size area of the indoor area as they show dependability. I reserve the times when they are free in the house to the 30 minutes right after they have pottied.
Toys and Bones
For chewing, you’ll need bones and toys. I like to give knuckle bones, shin bones, or L-bones when they are in their crates. While puppies are here, they chew smoked rib bones while in their crates; however, these are too small for a puppy once he has adult teeth. Any smoked bone will eventually get too small and need taking away. My dogs also love deer antlers and bully sticks. The antlers are long-lasting. Bully sticks need to be monitored and will get too small to be safe fairly quickly.
Most of my dogs like to have stuffed toys to just carry around in their mouths. Some dogs will chew them up, so notice what your dog does with them and only give them to your dog if he doesn’t like to chew them up. I have a big variety of toys that I rotate around. This way, when I bring out toys that the dogs haven’t had in a while, they think they’ve got a new toy.
Which Toys to Buy
I also like toys that you can stuff with food. Kong has several different good choices. The Bob-a-lot is a good toy that you can fill with a lot of food; the dog has to work at getting the food out by pushing it around. I also like the Orka toys, Jolly Bones, and JW Pet toys. JW has some balls that you put treats in that my dogs like.
I don’t recommend rawhide bones. Though dogs love them, they require too much supervision and I like to give my dogs something that will keep them busy when I don’t have the time to be looking at them constantly. Once rawhide gets too small, dogs tend to swallow it which can cause obstructions.
I’ve heard stories of pieces of Nylabones breaking off and causing obstructions but I have so far not had any trouble with them. Any toy can tear up and become dangerous so if your dog is a heavy chewer, keep a close watch on your dog’s toys.
Nail Clippers and Shampoo
Other things that you will need to have on hand for your new little one are nail clippers and mild dog shampoo. We like Perfect Coat Natural Oatmeal Shampoo – French Vanilla for shampoo.
Grooming Tools (Brushes, Rakes, and Combs)
I like to use a rake made by JW called a GripSoft Rake for de-shedding. I don’t like anything like the Furminater as
I also like to use the Chris Christenson Stainless Steel Fine/Course Buttercomb for the long hair on their tails. There is an optional wooden
I rarely use a brush on my dogs unless I’m going to a show. Then I like to use a slicker brush to make the hair lay down a little better. I like the Chris Christenson brushes and have their slicker
If you have a swimming pool and your puppy, dog will be swimming frequently, or even just for baths, I highly recommend the Chris Christensen Kool Dry Dryer. This dryer is extremely powerful and you can see the water flying off your dog’s coat as you dry him/her. This dryer will dry an adult Golden in less than 10 minutes (minus his face and close to his ears. It is too powerful to use near a dog’s eyes and ears).
For bathing, I recommend a well-made but inexpensive plastic raised bathtub called a Booster Bath. It is lightweight and easy to move around. Plus, it raises your dog up to your level so that you don’t strain your back and it has a collar that attaches to the tub to keep your dog still while you bathe him. It also comes with a nozzle that attaches to your hose so that the water comes out heavy but not too hard. Regular garden hose attachments cause the water to come out too powerfully which is uncomfortable on a dog.
This tub is especially nice if you have access to warm water through an outside sink. We attach a hose to an outside laundry sink faucet. The tub comes with a hose to drain the dirty water away from the tub which is nice on a rainy day because it enables you to use it inside a garage or basement and still have the water to drain outside. This tub also comes with a very light-weight attachable set of plastic steps. The steps weigh about four pounds and can also be used as a ramp for getting into a van or SUV. Make sure you get a large sized for an adult Golden Retriever.
No doubt about it, a Golden Retriever will put some hair on your floor and I have found my Supplements
Natures’ Farmacy has the best supplements we have found. We use and love their Dogzymes Digestive Enhancing Pet Supplement, 1-Pound as well as their Dogzymes Phyto-Flex Bone, Joint and Soft Tissue Support for Pets. Our puppies are given Nature’s Farmacy Dogzymes Digestive Enhancer frequently. For older puppies and dogs, we use Nature’s Farmacy Dogzymes Digestive Enhancer any time a dog has loose stool, is under stress, is changing dog foods, or is on an antibiotic. We recommend starting Dogzymes Phyto-Flex at about 3 months and giving it until puppies are about 1.5 years. We also recommend Phyto-Flex for senior dogs (over about 8 years). The Phyto-Flex is a blend of Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and other nutrients and herbs that supports the development and maintenance of healthy bones and joints. I also like to use some sort of omega-3 oils or coconut oil. It helps to keep their coats shiny and is good for their general health. Coconut oil has a long list of health benefits but I personally like to rotate my oils. I put either a tablespoon coconut oil or a tablespoon of fish oil. Any coconut oil is fine. If your dog will eat a pill out of his food, a people fish oil pill is fine. These are the 2 fish oils for dogs that I currently have and recommend: I like both the Grizzly Salmon Oil as well as the Alaskan Naturals Wild Salmon Oil Natural Supplement for Dogs. I’ve done a lot of fish oil research and found there is a big difference in the quality of fish oils and the amount of omega-3’s in them. We useBitter Apple Spray to repel chewing, canned pumpkin for loose stools that the stress of changing homes might cause, and white vinegar for cleaning up and taking away the smell if and when your puppy has an accident. I keep a mixture of half vinegar and half water in a spray bottle for cleaning purposes. One final thing to make sure that you have access to is the correct type vaccine. If your vet doesn’t carry either a DPv or a Neo-par and Neo-Vac DA2, you can order the Neo-par and Neo-Vac DA2 from Lambert Vet Supply or Revival Animal in single doses as of May 2017. As of this same date, the DPv can only be ordered in packs of 25 vaccines. Most vets don’t want to order if this isn’t what they recommend but you can order the single doses yourself, keep them in the refrigerator, and then take them to your vet when needed.
Omega-3 Oils and Coconut Oil
Miscellaneous Other Products
Talk to Your Vet About Vaccines
Natures’ Farmacy has the best supplements we have found. We use and love their Dogzymes Digestive Enhancing Pet Supplement, 1-Pound as well as their Dogzymes Phyto-Flex Bone, Joint and Soft Tissue Support for Pets. Our puppies are given Nature’s Farmacy Dogzymes Digestive Enhancer frequently. For older puppies and dogs, we use Nature’s Farmacy Dogzymes Digestive Enhancer any time a dog has loose stool, is under stress, is changing dog foods, or is on an antibiotic. We recommend starting Dogzymes Phyto-Flex at about 3 months and giving it until puppies are about 1.5 years. We also recommend Phyto-Flex for senior dogs (over about 8 years). The Phyto-Flex is a blend of Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and other nutrients and herbs that supports the development and maintenance of healthy bones and joints.
I also like to use some sort of omega-3 oils or coconut oil. It helps to keep their coats shiny and is good for their general health. Coconut oil has a long list of health benefits but I personally like to rotate my oils. I put either a tablespoon coconut oil or a tablespoon of fish oil. Any coconut oil is fine. If your dog will eat a pill out of his food, a people fish oil pill is fine. These are the 2 fish oils for dogs that I currently have and recommend: I like both the Grizzly Salmon Oil as well as the Alaskan Naturals Wild Salmon Oil Natural Supplement for Dogs. I’ve done a lot of fish oil research and found there is a big difference in the quality of fish oils and the amount of omega-3’s in them.
We useBitter Apple Spray to repel chewing, canned pumpkin for loose stools that the stress of changing homes might cause, and white vinegar for cleaning up and taking away the smell if and when your puppy has an accident. I keep a mixture of half vinegar and half water in a spray bottle for cleaning purposes.
One final thing to make sure that you have access to is the correct type vaccine. If your vet doesn’t carry either a DPv or a Neo-par and Neo-Vac DA2, you can order the Neo-par and Neo-Vac DA2 from Lambert Vet Supply or Revival Animal in single doses as of May 2017. As of this same date, the DPv can only be ordered in packs of 25 vaccines. Most vets don’t want to order if this isn’t what they recommend but you can order the single doses yourself, keep them in the refrigerator, and then take them to your vet when needed.