Anything in blue font and underlined is a direct link to a product we use, have used or personally recommend. We are happy to provide these for your own benefit, because we like to share exactly what has worked well for us and others.

Of course one of the very first things we would like all of our puppy parents to invest in is Puppy Culture. It is more than just rearing and training puppies. It truly is a way of life. We have seen the difference in our program and with others. It is absolutely one of the best things we’ve ever done with Fourpines Cavaliers. Here is a link for “The Bundle for Puppy Owners” 

It is not just for young puppies, under 12 weeks, the knowledge and information is for ALL dog owners. It comes with the original 4 DISC Set – 5 hours 17 minutes, Attention is the mother of all behaviors a 2 Disc set, an exercise booklet and 2 PC clickers. I can not recommend it enough.

If you’re only wanting to try 1 of the Puppy Culture DVD’s for your new Fourpines Cavalier that has been raised with PC, I’d recommend “Attention is the Mother of All Behaviors”

Two episodes included – 99 minutes. “In part one of this video, our nine week old puppies demonstrate how to teach the two core concepts that attention is a behavior, and that distractions are cues for attention. In part two, filmed one week later, the puppies demonstrate advanced distraction work and specialized distraction exercises for different venues, including switching between “show” and “obedience” modes, and foundation for attention heeling. While the lessons in the video are demonstrated by very young puppies, the protocols are the same as those in Jane Killion’s extremely popular “Attention as a Behavior” seminar and are perfect for dogs of all ages.” – Jane Killion

So that is absolutely the very first thing I’d recommend to new puppy parents. Whether you have dogs or a Fourpines puppy will be your very first canine addition it is for you.

1. FOOD – All of our CKCS are on a “raw” food diet. Regardless of age. If for some reason, traveling, vacationing, showing/attending AKC events, we are not able to feed the RAW food we prepare, we feed them freeze dried raw food. It can be ordered from several places on line or you may be able to pick some up at your local pet food store. I like Primal and Stella and Chewy brands. You can look further into already prepared, balanced, freeze dried raw food here 

Like I said I like to keep some freeze dried raw food on hand for when I forgot to thaw our homemade raw meals, I’m feeling under the weather or we are traveling. REMEMBER these “nuggets” or “patties” are condensed. So a very small bag makes an extremely large amount of food.

If you’d like a more natural, raw approach but don’t feel confident enough to DIY yet, we order lots of “good stuff” that is a little harder for us to source from My Pet Carnivore. They are a wonderful, trustworthy company. We get green tripe, duck, beaver, etc. ALL RAW. Proteins and offal that is next to impossible for us to get out here on the ranch in Texas. Take a look around. Your pup will come home with a very diverse palate and ready and willing to eat ANYTHING in raw form. 

If you’re an amazon/amazon prime (free shipping) user, they have lots of freeze dried options there as well.

If you do choose to feed dry processed kibble after taking your new puppy home, please mix the two foods together and switch over very slowly. Adding a little more of the new food each day. Remember it is best to feed the highest quality manufactured dog food available, if this is what you choose to feed. Corn, wheat, soy, and by-products are known to cause health problems in dogs as does table scrapes. Our Cavaliers NEVER get table scraps.

2. TRAINING TREATS – It is not necessary to waste money on unhealthy commercial treats, full of preservatives and junk, filler, ingredients. Try bits of sliced or string cheese or diced cooked chicken breast. Our Cavaliers also love dried liver or other “jerky” type foods. They come in very handy when you don’t have access to a fridge too. Your dog, his waistline and most importantly will love you for it.

Ours also get a barkbox every single month! THEY LOVE THEM!! They’re always themed and so so stinking cute! They have toys, chews, treats and usually some other surprise in them. I just love them. they’re so much fun! You can order just one box or subscribe (like we do) here.

We love all shapes, styles and sizes of Kongs also. We always choose the small to medium ones of course. Here’s a handy “kong by age” recommendation “The Kong People” have evolved into so much more than just the little red rubber fillable kongs. They now have collars, beds, interactive toys, antlers and so much more. Here are a few neat recipes for your Kongs.

3. CRATE – Your full grown Cavalier will need a medium size crate approximately 24 inches long x 18 wide x 21 inches high. It has a real advantage to purchase a crate with a panel included to section off the crate so it is smaller at first. Another option would be to buy one small puppy crate and one larger adult crate, but our favorite metal crate is this one. It is just a basic dog crate that primarily stays at home.

If you prefer a plastic “carrier” style crate we recommend this one or this one 

Now if I were going to splurge, I use splurge loosely, or if I was planning to travel much I would probably buy a “several in one” crate/carrier. One that has wheels for pulling, one that had straps for carrying my dog on my back and a handle for carrying by my side. Like this one. Boy would one of these make getting through an airport easy with a dog! And kids! And bags! And paperwork! AND AND AND


4. CRATE PAD/BEDDING – You will also need a crate pad. We like these. They are soft, durable, moisture wicking and machine washable.

5. Flying – If you will be meeting us at Denver International Airport to pick up your puppy, you will have to have an airline approved pet Sherpa Bag to carry the puppy onto the plane with you. These are good quality and come in several color options. We love love love these backpack style carriers. They have a handle, rollers and back straps. 

Jada Grace is only 8 yrs old in this picture and Charlie was 12 weeks. They both did perfect in/with the back pack carrier.

6. FOOD AND WATER BOWLS – We recommend stainless steel food and water bowls, because they can be sanitized in the dishwasher. We recommend having at least two sets so that they can be washed frequently. These bowls are great because they are slip proof & don’t turn over as easy. If you really want to spoil your new baby (like we do) nothing beats these spaniel bowls. Especially when their older and their ears are really long. Not only do they keep their ears prettier, they are much more sanitary, keeping them drier/cleaner. We have 2 of these and wish we had a few more. They are amazing. Here is a cheaper one. Here is a cute bamboo bowl stand. We’ve used these and they’re pretty good and they’re cute. 

7. SMALL COLLAR AND LEASH – We prefer you use embroidered collars like these because often times when dogs get loose, they lose their ID tags in the process. An embroidered collar can have your phone number right on it, and if purchased on-line from 1 of these amazing USA home based companies, costs about the same or even less than a plain collar in a pet store (See a few options HERE). Also, be sure to get a leash without a large buckle that might hit the puppy in the face. Here is a leash/collar set.

8. ENGRAVED TAG – Even though your dog may have an embroidered collar, he will still need “dog tags.” He will need to have his rabies tag on at all times and his emergency tag with names, phone number, possibly vet info and/or address. We highly recommend flat collar stainless steel tags from These tags last forever. You will still have this tag long after your dog has gone to doggy heaven. They are deeply engraved on actual stainless steel instead of very lightly engraved on aluminum or plastic. Also, flat tags don’t jingle, don’t fall off, and can’t catch on something causing a strangulation danger. Here is an option from Etsy you might like.

9. TOYS – We try to always find our cavaliers “unstuffed” dog toys. They usually have them at Walmart and Target, large chain feed stores and all pet stores. We also like fleece ropes, and various squeaky toys. Cavaliers seem to love things that squeak. We are careful to watch our dogs and throw away any toys that start to show signs of damage.

Some of our cavaliers like the sound and excitement of the crinkling empty water bottle. I WOULD NOT recommend a empty water bottle without a toy “cover.” These are also at most stores where animal products are sold. (Here’s what we’re talking about) We used to give our dogs various kinds of animal antlers, but some experts say they can chip or break teeth, so we’ve taken them away and no longer recommend them. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again!! BARK BOX FOR THE WINNNN!!!

10. EXERCISE PEN – This should be up way above #10 on my list. An exercise pen is so extremely important to me. We keep a small one up 365 days a year. It serves so many purposes. From potty training to staying off furniture to keeping them safe in undesirable situation. Of course we have several cavaliers, but I can’t imagine not having a safe and secure area to put a dog or 2 in an instant. We love the North States company. Their products are a little pricey, but you will only have to buy one, one time for the life of your dog. You also can take them when you travel to grandmas, go to the park with the kids, etc. To me an exercise pen is a must! We like this one and this one
You NEVER want a gate or play yard with horizontal bars or diamond shaped that little paws will learn quickly to climb, and then you will have a big problem on your hands.

Your new puppy should be well prepared and ready to really solidify potting outside only. THIS DOES NOT MEAN IT WILL BE 100% POTTY TRAINED but the initial ground work has been done for you.

However, if you live in an area that taking your new puppy outside to potty is not an option every single time it needs to go…… example – 20+ foot of snow, torrential rains, high rise apartment in NYC, etc and you need to add a potty area to your puppy pen I would recommend THE BOTTOM/BASE of a small animal crate. Like this rabbit pan/tray. They are only around $15.00.

Or here is an actual puppy potty tray, very similar to the one we use

Then the exact pellets we use in our potty box, that we get at our local Tractor Supply for about $5.00 for a 40 pound bag, are these. We go through about 2-3 bags per litter of puppies but 1 bag should last a single puppy until it is fully potty trained. Here is some from Amazon.

Here is a photo using the “hutch style” tray. We sometimes use this for the VERY EARLY weaning stages. 3-4 weeks old. Purpose is to teach the pups to transition to #1 potting without moms help/stimulation  and #2 to potty OFF of their sleeping quarters.

Here we have 2 separate areas. The one on the left is with our actual “dog litter tray” We had a 10 week old puppy in there and the right side was for the 4 week old litter of puppies. With a small 2 x 4 for mom to escape for a moment.

PLEASE REMEMBER  OUR #1 “END” GOAL IS TO TEACH THE PUPPIES TO POTTY OUTSIDE ONLY!!!! There are just several steps, several months and lots of commitment and dedication (from me and you) to this process.

11. SAFETY GATE – If you have stairs, you may consider getting a gate to block them off while the puppy is too young to understand heights and so small, they will fit through even the tiniest opening you couldn’t imagine them fitting through. We’ve heard of far too many tragic, and/or extremely costly, stories of small puppies running straight trough stair railings. Again we love the great quality and durability of North States. They are strong and sturdy and last forever. Remember do not get a gate or play yard with horizontal bars or diamond shapes. Your puppy will inevitably learn to climb things and escape. Here is one and here is another to check out.

I saw this “baby gate” on Pinterest and asked my husband to make us one for our front entry.

Here he and our sons mini Australian Sheppard are finalizing it.

And here is the finished product

12. GROOMING SUPPLIES – You’ll want a small pin brush, metal comb, and slicker brush. Our show dogs get brushed daily to prevent mattes and keep their coats in show quality, but when ours are not showing and your pet can probably be brushed weekly. We like the Isle of Dogs line of shampoos and conditioners. (For puppies)

If you prefer to buy something in a pet store, we recommend choosing as natural/organic of a product as possible that is dye and fragrance free to hopefully prevent any allergy issues in your puppy. We bathe weekly if we’re maintaining a show coat, but monthly or as needed for maintenance cleanliness.

You’ll also need a tool for trimming nails. We prefer to use a Dremel to file the nails, but guillotine style clippers work as well. If you’ve never clipped a puppy or dogs nails before, please ask your vet or an animal professional to show you where to clip. I also absolutely love the BIOSILK DOG line of grooming products. We use the moisturizing shampoo and the detangling shine spray. They’re both under $10.00 each.

13. WASTE BAGS FOR WALKS – There are many options, but cheap sandwich bags from a dollar store work as good as anything. Please be kind and respectful to the public and ALWAYS pick up your pets waste.

14. PUPPY TRAINING CLASS – You could contact your local AKC Cavalier Specialty Club and ask about recommended trainers in your area. Or look for local small businesses or independent trainers who have a lot of experience and knowledge. Another option is to sign up for a puppy class at a large chain pet store, like PetSmart. We have used all the above and have had success with each. The expertise of these positive training professionals is immeasurable! If you only do one, 6 week course, it will be worth it. I’ve heard it said more than once “Shelters are bursting at the seams because people give up on an untrained dog.” Do yourself and your new puppy a favor, get it trained. Have someone teach you how to teach your new puppy, the tools it needs for a long and enjoyable life together.

Our favorite places to shop are Amazon, Etsy, Target, and Barkbox