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Hello fellow forum posters! After almost 2 years of research, my boyfriend and I decided to get a Cavapoo (King Charles Cavalier / Poodle) through a breeder. We are both first-time dog owners and our puppy will be ready to come home in early November at about 10 weeks old. I am now trying to prepare my apartment for his arrival! I was wondering if anyone could help me out with some pre-puppy tools I should get. There are a LOT of brands out there and I'd like some input as to what is worth splurging on. I've already decided on Merrick puppy food, a Puppia harness, stainless steel bowls, and a puppy Kong. If anyone can give me any input for the following, I'd be very appreciative!!

1. Lead - since I live in a city, a retractable leash is out. I'd like a lead that both myself (5'3") and my boyfriend (6'1") can use, although I think that may not be realistic. Is this something I should be willing to spend money on, i.e. a good lead that will last for years, or is this something you typically replace over time?

2. Grooming tools - I will not know whether his coat will be more poodle or cavalier-like until he gets a bit older, but either way he'll need a pin brush and a bristle brush. Is one necessarily better than another? Should I be getting a nail trimmer as well? Which one? Also, is there a particular brand of puppy shampoo that is low in chemicals and smells good?

3. Treat Bag - is there something made specifically to hold treats while training or can I just use a plastic bag?

4. We are planning to go to Florida for thanksgiving about 2 weeks after we get him. Is it bad to fly with him so early on in our adjustment period? I'm taking off work the first week he's home and I am planning to get one of the airline approved Sherpas for travel. Once in Florida, we will be in a family home in a gated community so he won't be over exposed to a lot of strangers/ public spaces. He will have a play pen as well.

5. The breeder is giving us a small plastic crate with our pup. Do I need to go buy a wire crate yet or will the plastic crate be enough to crate-train him until he gets a little bigger?

6. While I would ideally like to go out and buy a jumbo bag of treats and 30lb bag of dog food to save some money, it seems like my puppy's taste may not be in line with my choices. Is it a better idea to spend the extra dollars and get a few smaller packages of different treats to see which ones he likes first before committing to a large amount?

7. And Finally, I've read that housebreaking a puppy in colder weather is not a good idea. Is this really true? Can I get him a puppy coat/sweater and let him walk outside once he finishes all of his shots?

Any extra tips for city-dwellers would be much appreciated too! Thanks everyone!!
 

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1. Lead - For a small dog, an inexpensive 6' cotton leash should be fine. You can pick one up at the Dollar store and replace as needed. If you want to look chic, you can get a nice, fashionable leather leash nearby, but it won't work better :)

2. Grooming - I suggest that you ask your Vet or a Groomer, because you don't know the size or coat. You may need clippers, if he is poodle-like. You will need a nail trimmer, but for now, you may be able to use a finger nail clipper, just to trim the tips.

3. There are treat bags that you can buy at PetsMart. However, I buy a painter's apron at Home Depot or Lowe's for about a dollar, then throw it away when it gets too sticky.

4. I don't think it is bad to fly when he's 12 weeks. However, you will want to consider his House Training, if it is a direct flight. It may be too long for him to hold it... but you can accommodate him, if needed.

5. If he can stand, turn, and sleep in the plastic crate - if it is the correct size - then, I think it will be a fine first crate.

6. I recommend the small bag approach, initially. BTW, I have a 65 lb dog and 20 lbs of food lasts him for one month. Consider how long 30 lbs of food will last your dog! Dog food is perishable, so you might try to buy no more than a one month supply at a time. Except for canned food which lasts a year or more.

7. I don't think the cold weather will be a big deal. Again, ask the Vet about the resulting breed and cold weather. A coat should help, when needed. I think the shots will be a more important issue. But, you will want to consider what to do when the weather is really bad - raining hard or in the 20s.

8. Consider how to introduce him to lots of people when you get him, and lots of dogs after all of his shots, so that he gets used to everything in the city.
 

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I agree with everything above!
The only thing I'd like to mention about the food bit is although it might be wise to buy smaller bags for your smaller dog, I wouldn't buy a whole bunch of different foods and let him pick his favorites, which is what it sounds like you wrote. I feel like that would create a picky eater. If you pick a high quality food you should be able to stick with it until you want to rotate. I do think it's nice to have many different treats though! And treats come in nice, small bags for the most part!
Apologies if I misinterpreted your words :)
 

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Great advice!
I would recommend trying lots of different kinds of treats! Not food, of course, but treats, yes! We usually keep a jar of treats in several places in the house, for when we may need or want them, and it's full of several types! Also, we hardly ever give treats full size, we almost always break them into smaller pieces. They just need to be tiny, like the size of your pinky fingernail.

For things like potty training, or training recall you'll want "high value" treats, treats that your puppy really, really loves, and can't resist! So, I like experimenting with lots of different treats to see what they like best!

Yes, use a sweater. The cold weather may encourage your puppy to do their business faster! :) I notice our small dogs pee/poop faster when it's raining!
Congratulations, by the way!
 

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Thanks for the tips!! To clarify, I meant trying out different treats, not different food - that would be too much! I guess I will need to figure out high value and low value treats as I go. Does anyone have any experience using a playpen in an apartment? It seems rathre large for a small space, but I'd like to get one.
 

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When we were still in our apartment we used an ex-pen. We set it up in a corner of the kitchen, since it had laminate flooring. And, generally, you can make it smaller if you need to, especially if you have a small dog. The kind we have has removeable sections.
We put the puppy's crate, water, and toys inside the pen. It worked well for us.
 
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