If you personally know me, you know how obsessed I am with my pup! I am a crazy dog mom 🙂 Ellie’s first birthday is March 1st, so I figured why not share my puppy tips, tricks, and checklist.

A few fun facts about Miss Ellie…. Loves water, pup cups from Starbucks + Dairy Queen, high energy, loves cuddles, lays her head on a pillow to sleep, loves car rids, and yes, she sleeps in my bed 🙂


You are lucky I narrowed it down to 6 pictures! 🙂

Ellie is a pure-bred Red Border Collie and I got her at 8 weeks from a breeder. I know everyone has their own opinion about where to get a dog from (shelter, breeder, etc), but I want to share with you what has worked for Ellie and I.

Below is everything you need when you first bring your puppy home! I have also included links to the specific items I share in this post.

Water & Food Bowls: I definitely prefer the ceramic bowls because of two things: they are prettier 🙂 and Ellie can’t flip them over shove them around. When we travel, I usually use ziploc containers with lids (hello, easy!), but it never fails that Ellie flips them at least two times during our trip.

Puppy Food: I recommend to wait on getting food until AFTER you pick up your puppy. It seems backwards, I know! However, it is important to ask whoever you get your puppy from what your puppy is currently eating. That way you can get the same food to either continue your puppy on or to help transition your puppy to their new food.

Treats + Bones: I did not really give Ellie treats the first few months because I wanted to make sure she was eating her regular food consistently. But….. the bones, she loves! As a pup, I never had issues with Ellie chewing on things that she shouldn’t like cords, her bed, or anything! I think it is because she was always wearing herself out on bones. I definitely recommend the type of bones that are an actual bone with a flavor coating.

Toys: Make sure you are ready with the toys! I actually got a multi-pack from Amazon and Ellie loved it. It had ropes, balls, rubber toys, rings, etc. They lasted her several months too!

Collar/Harness/Leash: Ellie has a collar, but she only wears it when we go somewhere. Otherwise, I always use a harness with her when we go on walks. A harness gives me more control of her and I don’t have to worry about her choking. Ellie has two leashes. I have what I call a “normal leash” that I use all the time. I bought her a retractable one because I thought it would be better for her and give her more room when walking. BAD IDEA. Whenever I would use the retractable leash, she was naughty because she had more freedom and her walk wasn’t staying structured. Also, I read a couple horror stories that a retractable leash snapped and the cord wrapped around the dog owner’s hand. So now I have retractable leash for sale….

ID Tag: Ellie had an ID tag. But…. it fell off and is now forever lost. So now I am planning on getting her a collar that has her name and phone number embroidered on the collar. My parents did this with their dogs and I can tell you… it has 100% success rate. Their farm dogs like to wonder once and then 🙂

Shampoo: I love the Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs by Paul Mitchell. Yes, I use salon shampoo on my dog. Go ahead, roll your eyes…. 🙂 It keeps her coat so healthy, soft, and shiny. Also, she has never gotten dry skin which is so important!

Flea/Tick Protectant/Heart Guard: I use NexGuard in a chewable form. I prefer the chewable over the liquid that goes on the skin just because I have had more success. Make sure to check with your vet first so you make sure to get what is best for your pup!

Nail Clippers: I clip Ellie’s nails every few months since her’s do not grow very fast because she is so active. Her vet does give her complimentary trims too 🙂

Brush: I used the Shed Monster. It looks like it would never brush anything out of her coat, but it gets so much out! It seriously looks like I shear a sheep every time I get done brushing her. Border Collies are not supposed to be shaved because it will ruin their coat and they could actually get over heated. So make sure to do your research on your breed first before grooming!

Bed: Now, Ellie sleeps with me in my bed. I tried to crate train her at night when I first got her, but she had so much separation anxiety it broke my heart. (Or maybe I just thought that so I had an excuse to cuddle her:) ) So, I let her sleep with me. It was kinda nice for her to sleep with me because it made the potty training easier at night because every time she needed to go, I woke up.  However, she does have a couple beds. I have a flat rectangle bed and a bed with sides. She tends to use the bed with sides more, but every pup is different!

Blanket: Simply because I am crazy and I think my dog needs a blanket. She did cuddle with it a lot when she was little and I think it helped her stay calm with the pressure of being wrapped in it.

Crate: Ellie has two crates. One for at home and one for traveling. She has a metal crate that stays at home (it can fold down). Her other crate is a cheap pop up crate for traveling. I purchased it because it made it easier when we travel, but I would not recommend it if you puppy likes to chew. 🙂

Carpet Cleaner: If your puppy is going to be in the house, it is inevitable that at some point there will be an accident. I never got into the puppy pads because I do not understand the reasoning behind them. If you use them…please leave a comment explaining why you use them 🙂

Poop Bags: If you don’t want your neighbors giving you dirty looks, I recommend you pick up your dog’s poop when you take them on a walk. Just saying…

Enclosed Area: Ellie is pretty spoiled…she has a large kennel with a roof that is attached to my garage. The garage is heated for winter and has fans for the summer. It is so important for your dog to have an enclosed area that they can be in when you are gone. I don’t like the idea of Ellie being cooped up in a little crate all day. If you have a fenced in yard, even better!

I have put all these essentials in a checklist as a free printable for you all! Click here to download and print for FREE!  New Puppy Checklist

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