Few dogs live so far out in the country that they can run free and require nothing more than a warm place to sleep. Today's suburban and urban dogs need a fair amount of equipment.
1. Collar: This is probably the first thing you will buy for your dog. If he's a puppy, you will have to replace the collar as he grows.
Collars are nylon or leather. Long-hair dogs do best with rolled leather collars that keep hair from matting. The collar should be sturdy and close with a buckle rather than snaps.
Make sure the collar is not too tight or too lose. You should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and the dog's neck.
2. Leashes: These should be strong and reliable. Leashes are made of nylon and leather and while both are good, many dog owners prefer leather for the long haul.
Retractable leashes extend 15 to 20 feet and are easy to limit. These are great for walking dogs in open spaces.
3. Food and Water Bowls: Most people buy bowls for dog food and water. Stainless steel and heavy ceramic are the best choices. Plastic can get scratched and worn.
The water bowl should be large enough for easy slurping and heavy enough so that the dog does not tip it over.
Wash dog bowls regularly to keep bacteria at bay.
4. Beds: Make sure to buy a bed that is large enough for the full-grown dog and provides some warmth and softness. It should have a removable cover so that you can wash it often.
5. Toys: Being social animals, dogs love to play. A variety of toys will keep your dog from being bored. When toys get filthy and gnawed, discard them.
Toys can be balls, squeaky rubber toys, or chew toys. They should be small enough for the dog to carry but not so small that he might swallow them.
Outside toys include nylon Frisbees and tug ropes. Old tennis balls are favorites with dogs that like to retrieve or play catch.
6. Grooming Tools: All dogs require grooming -- and long-hair dogs in particular. You will need a brush, comb, and nail clippers. Beyond these, the type of dog and his coat will dictate your needs.
7. Attention: No matter how many toys your dog has, how soft his bed, or how large his water bowl, what your dog needs more than anything is you. Dogs crave attention. They need exercise and training, too -- two things that require you to be very much involved with them!