Be prepared for the arrival of your new puppy! This page has a complete list including those supplies that are easily forgotten. The Golden Retriever puppy supplies on this page are those that we’ve tried, loved, and continue to use.
Dog and Puppy Food
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.
We strongly encourage people to not keep puppies or dogs in collars when they are unsupervised. I will link to a post with details about this soon.
- Blueberry Pet 3M Reflective Adjustable Collar– The Blueberry collars are very attractive and still look and function well after years of use. Get the 12-16 inch size for a Golden Retriever puppy that is over about 10 to 12 weeks of age. Get a 14.5 to 20 inch for an adult.
- Ruffwear Top Rope Dog Collar – This collar cannot be beat as far as quality. This collar comes in a small size that will fit a Golden Retriever puppy from 5 weeks through about 4 months. Older puppies and adults can wear the medium. If you have a very large boy Golden Retriever and like a wider collar, try the large. We really like the Ruffwear collars for travel. They have an easy release ID holder and I also like the v-ring better than the typical o-ring for leash attachment. The v-ring makes it easier and quicker to attach a leash. This collar also has a metal buckle.
- Ruffwear Crag Dog Collar– This is another good Ruffwear collar that is a little more affordable. The Crag collar sizing is the same as the Top Rope collar discussed above. This collar is also a high quality, well-made collar that looks good. The major difference between the Crag and the Top Rope collars is in the look and the buckle. The Crag collar has a plastic buckle.
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, especially if you have a light colored dog. 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.
- Country Brook Design Martingale Collars: These collars hold up very well over time and I get a lot of compliments on how they look. They are simple and inexpensive and come in a wide variety of colors.
- Adult Size: 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.
- Puppy Size: A 10 week old puppy will have about a 11-12 inch neck so a small Country Brook martingale should be a good fit with enough growing room to last several weeks (or months).
- Blueberry Collar: These collars are gorgeous. I have at least half a dozen in different collars. They still look good after years of use and I’ve run them through the washing machine many times.
- Adult Size: For Golden Retrievers, ages six months to adults, a medium Blueberry collar will fit almost all females. Most males can still wear a medium when they are full-grown, but some like our Micah need to wear a large.
- Puppy Size: Get the small Blueberry collar for a 12-week old Golden Retriever puppy. If you are getting your puppy at a younger age than 12 weeks, use either a buckle collar for the short-term or use the Country Brook Martingale discussed above. This size collar should still fit your puppy until he is six months of age or older.
We do not regularly recommend the head halter UNLESS a dog is leash reactive. With leash reactive dogs, a head halter can be helpful if it is used correctly. Head halters are dangerous if used as punishment tools. However, they can be useful in redirecting a dog to focus on his handler instead of whatever he is reacting to. Head halters need to gently control a dog’s head by turning it toward you at the appropriate time. If you use a head halter, please consult with a positive reinforcement trainer and only use it only after you have been thoroughly taught the head halter’s correct use as an instrument for CONTROL.
Head halters are initially uncomfortable to a dog. A great deal of time needs to be invested in acclimating dogs to them. Otherwise, their function as a tool for control changes to a function of punishment. Head halters used as a punishment can be dangerous. Dogs can injure their necks and vertebrae by jerking or hitting the end of the leash in a head halter. Heavy pulling dogs do not need to be in a head halter. In fact, many veterinary orthopedic specialists have come out against them because of damage to necks from dogs pulling with head halters.
- Halti: If you have talked to a positive reinforcement trainer and decide that a head halter will be good for your dog, we recommend a Halti because it is more secure then other popular alternatives.
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. What we mean by this is that the dog must feel like he caused the correction himself (and therefore can stop it himself). We don’t want the dog to feel like the correction is coming from us. The “pack leader” philosophy and the idea that a person will give the dog a punishment if he doesn’t submit has been proven to not work. In fact, this attitude can actually cause more damage than good.
However, 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 normally recommend them.
If you want to use punishment based training and feel you need a prong collar, see our page on How to Use Punishments in Dog Training. Do not get the size collar normally recommended for your dog’s neck size. Instead, get the Herm Springer 12 inch 2.25 mm collar X 12 inch collar.
This collar alone will be too short. You’ll need to either buy two collars or buy extra links. If you get another brand, make sure the links are only 1 inch long. Using larger links than 1 inch links will give too big of a correction. Do not use a prong collar on a dog under 6-8 months of age, ever.
Another option is a Starmark collar which is very similar to the prong collar except they are plastic and have a lesser punishment effect.
How to Choose the Right Collar Size
10-week old puppies have necks that are about 11-12 inches. Grown females need a collar that will fit their neck at about 18 inches. Males might need a slightly larger collar in order to fit their 20-inch neck. Make sure that whichever collar you get, it can be adjusted to fit these sizes.
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, but you might want to get more. Various types of leashes serve different purposes.
Best Short Leashes or Traffic Leashes
I recommend a traffic leash or a short 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. The one and two feet leashes are called traffic leashes because of their use in high traffic areas.
How to Determine the Best Length for Your Short Leash
The length of your leash needs to be about a foot longer than the length or distance from your hand when your arm is in a relaxed position and the collar on your dog when he is standing. In general, you want your walking leash to be long enough to reach from your hand when it is in a relaxed position to your dogs neck with less than a foot for slack.
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 and wad some of it up in your hand. 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.
When using the correct short leash with a well-trained dog, the leash doesn’t have to be held. Rather, you can simply have it hanging comfortably on your wrist in a position that allows you to take hold of it if needed. We will put a picture here soon to illustrate.
Best One-foot Dog Leashes
- Dogs My Love Round 13 inch leash: Adult dogs with a woman under about 5 feet 5 inches tall could benefit from a one foot leash. This leash is made of leather. It is good-looking, super comfortable, and durable. I’ve had four of them for many years, have heavily used them, and they all still look new. They come in several different colors to coordinate with many different collars.
Best Two-foot Dog Leashes
If you are tall or when your puppy is 4-8 months old, a 2 foot leash is the best size.
- Voopet 2-foot dog lead: This is our favorite 2-foot leash because it is well made with a soft foam handle that comes in a wide variety of colors.
Best 6-Foot Dog Leashes
Why to Use a 6-Foot Leash
For taking a dog out to potty on a leash, we usually 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.
If your dog is well-trained and doesn’t pull and you are like us in not keeping a collar on your dog 24/7, a slip leash is nice. Slip leashes are easy to “slip” on and off for quick potty breaks.
Best 6-Foot Leashes
- 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. If you get another type slip leash than the recommended Alvalley, make sure that it has a stop. Otherwise, you risk it choking your dog.
- Alvalley Nylon Snap Lead: This is our favorite 6-foot leash if you are using it with a collar, if your dog pulls on a regular basis, or if your dog tends to pull hard.
Alvalley Nylon Snap Lead 6mm x 4 ft: For training a puppy, we prefer a 4-foot leash. Alvalley is a high quality brand for all lengths. An 8 mm leash works fine for a puppy, but I prefer the smaller (6 mm Alvalley Snap Lead) one for ease of use and because it fits easily into the outside pocket of a treat bag. If going for a walk, use a more substantial leash such as the 8 mm Alvalley leash. For at-home use, a 6 mm collar is fine. I like to attach a snap lead permanently to a martingale collar for ease of use. The collar and leash can easily be slipped off and on as needed.
Food Bowls and Water Buckets
I recommend bowls or buckets that are stainless steel or ceramic. Puppies and even dogs like to chew the plastic ones. At 10 weeks of age, we are using very small bowls for ease of use during training. These small bowls need to be large enough to hold 1/2 cup of food.
Bowls for Adult Dogs and Older Puppies
Durapet Slow Food bowls: Medium is okay for an older puppy and large is great for adult dogs. Golden Retrievers tend to act like they are starving and eat too fast, even at their correct weight. These bowls slow them down so that they will come closer to chewing their food than inhaling it. I also water down my dogs’ food which slows them down
- 2 Quart Bucket: I secure to the outside of a crate using these Double End Snaps.
- 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 by the handle 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.
Choosing a Crate Size and Why We Like Wire Crates
We highly recommend a wire crate. Though wire crates usually have a divider so that you can size the crate down, we recommend that you go ahead and purchase a 24 inch wire crate along with the correct size for your dog when he is grown. The 24 inch wire crates are less than $30 and most puppies can use them for about 2 months after they are 8-10 weeks of age. It is during this 2 month period of time that you’ll need to move the crate around from room to room. It is also helpful to have a smaller crate when traveling.
In fact, for those families driving their puppy alone to the Atlanta airport (or any long distance without a helper), we recommend getting a 24 inch wire crate so that your puppy doesn’t have to drive the 2 1/2 hour trip to Atlanta in a small airline carrier. Though you’ll probably have to leave your crate in Atlanta, the $30 extra will make your trip much more pleasant. If you want this option with a Summer Brook puppy, you can have a small crate icrate shipped to our home address for you to pick up when you get here.
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.
We prefer wire crates in most cases because they give more ventilation and Golden Retrievers like it to be cool.
Which Wire Crate Should You Buy?
- Midwest Life Stages: These are heavy duty and come in both double or single door options. I prefer the crate with the double door because you will have the opportunity to use it turned sideways with the entrance on the side as well as the end.
- Midwest Icrate: These 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
Variocage crates: We travel with our dogs in a regular wire crate, but we’ve heard very good things about the Variocage crates. They are larger at the bottom than the top so they fit better in the back of an SUV or van. They are crash tested 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
Noztonoz Sof-krate: We highly recommend these crates if you travel with your dog much. 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.
Denhaus Townhaus: I recommend this crate if looks are important to you. 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.
Primo Pads: These are my favorite crate 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 Beds
- Kuranda Bed: We love and recommend this aluminum heavy duty 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
Orvis Memory Foam Couch Dog Bed: We recommend this if you want a soft cushy bed for your dog. 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.
Why You Should Use a Pen
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: Our Favorite Pen
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.
- North States Play Yard
- Iris 8 Panel Pen
- 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.
Why to Use Baby Gates
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.
Baby Gate That Mounts to the Wall
- North States Deluxe Decor Gate: This is our favorite baby gates. 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.
Baby Gates that are Mobile
- Regalo Easy Step Walk Thru Gate: This gate can span a space 29-39 inches
- Regalo Extra WideSpan Walkthrough Safety Gate: This gate can span a space 29-56 inches
- For a pressure-mounted gate, the Regalo gates 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.
Why to Use a 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.
Our Favorite Doggy Door
Pet Safe Insulated 3 flap: This doggy door is insulated and well made. We highly recommend it.
Treat Despensing Toys
- Kong: These toys are tough and they can be stuffed with food. If you have a particularly aggressive chewer then I would buy the Extreme Kong but if your dog is average then I would use a Classic Kong.
- Bob-a-lot: You can fill this toy with a lot of food; the dog has to work at getting the food out by pushing it around.
- JW Pet Treat Puzzler: This is another fun treat-dispensing toy. JW Pet has other great toys too.
Shampoo and Grooming Tools
Perfect Coat Natural Oatmeal Shampoo – French Vanilla: This is a great shampoo.
GripSoft Rake: I love to use this rake for de-shedding. I don’t like anything like the Furminater as these tear the hair. A rake will just pull out the loose hair.
- Chris Christenson Stainless Steel Fine/Course Buttercomb: These are extremely well made. I use them on the long hair on my dogs’ tails. I also use the butter-comb if a dog should get a mat. If you catch them early, they can easily be combed out with a butter-comb.
- Chris Christenson Wooden Snap-On Handle: I love to use this handle on my comb because it is much more comfortable in your hand.
Chris Christensen Kool Dry Dryer: I highly recommend this if you have a swimming pool and your puppy or dog will be swimming frequently, or even just for bath. 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).
Booster Bath: This is a well-made but inexpensive plastic raised bathtub. 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 a laundry sink faucet that is in our garage. 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.
Our Favorite Vacuum to Clean up Dog Hair
Dyson Cordless Vacuum: This vacuum was one of the best purchases that I have made. It is light-weight, easy to use, and high powered which makes shedding less of a problem in my house. I’ve tried many vacuum cleaners over the years and none of them compare to my Dyson. I also have the Dyson with a cord but it is rarely used. The smaller cordless Dyson is equally powerful and so much easier to use. The older Dyson stick vacuum models last for only 20 minutes on a charge so if you need to vacuum more than 20 minutes at a time, make sure you get the new Dyson.
The charge on the newer model will last over an hour and it has a special attachment for hardwoods that is designed to pick up larger pieces of trash such as dog food kibble or cheerios. The regular Dyson Animal does well on carpet and on hardwoods for the most part but it doesn’t get those larger pieces off of hardwoods. Rather it just pushes them around unless you line it up just right to pick it up. We’ve not found the extra features of the Absolute to be worth the extra price but if you need a longer charge or the capability to pick up bigger things from your floor, the Absolute is a great option.
Omega-3 Fish Oils and Coconut Oil
I 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. I personally like to rotate my oils. I put either a tablespoon coconut oil or follow the directions on my fish oil. 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 so be careful when you are choosing a fish oil. Of course, I highly recommend the two below.
- Natures’ Farmacy: Dogzymes Digestive Enhancing Pet Supplement
- Natures’ Farmacy: Dogzymes Phyto-Flex Bone, Joint and Soft Tissue Support for Pets
Natures’ Farmacy has the best supplements we have found. 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.
Miscellaneous Other Products
Bitter Apple Spray: This works to repel chewing
Vinegar for Cleaning Up Accidents
Vinegar: Mix half vinegar and half water in a spray bottle. When your puppy has an accident this spray will clean and remove the sent.
Canned Pumpkin for Loose Stool
Farmers Market Organic Pumpkin: 100% pure pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix) is full of fiber and can help to firm up mild loose stool from stress.
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