Growing up, Lisa-Marie Curti had pets like hamsters and fish, but what she really wanted was a dog. Unfortunately, she traveled a lot for sports and it just didn’t make sense to have a dog when she wasn’t home very often. When she grew up, the desire to have a canine companion was still there, but her demanding job and busy New York City lifestyle didn’t leave a lot of time for one.
“I was out of the house 12-13 hours a day,” Curti recalls. “It just wasn’t feasible.”
It wasn’t until she moved to Florida to work at Chewy as a brand marketing communications manager that she felt the timing was finally right to get a dog. She and her wife welcomed Maple, an 8-week-old Golden Doodle, into their home in November 2019—and almost immediately realized being a first-time dog mom wasn’t without its challenges.
“You don’t realize what you’re getting into ... They’re teething, you have to train them, you have to be patient, they don’t always want to do what you want them to do,” Curti says.
But Maple’s unconditional love, wet kisses and goofy antics have made it all worth it. Even when nothing seems to be going right, watching Maple excitedly chase leaves down the street or (not so) sneakily steal socks brings a smile to her mom’s face.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re having a terrible day, everything else is OK,” Curti says.
Here are her top puppy products for taking the leap into puppy parenthood.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Food
As a new dog mom, Curti says she did a lot of research into what to feed Maple and landed on Blue Buffalo’s Life Protection Formula for puppies. It’s made with real meat, whole grains, garden vegetables, fruits and a special blend of nutrients to support healthy growth and development.
Selling points included: 1) it’s top rated (it has a rating of 4 ½ stars on Chewy), 2) it’s a wholesome, balanced diet, and 3) she had heard good things about the brand from other pet parents. Maple just thinks it’s yummy.
Wellness Soft Puppy Bites Grain-Free Lamb & Salmon Recipe Dog Treats
Puppies tend to need lots of training, and these Soft Puppy Bites from Wellness are Curti’s go-to treats for rewarding good behavior. They’re made with pure meat protein (no meat by-products here!), fruits and veggies, and are specially formulated for puppies under the age of 1. Not only does Maple love them, but Curti says they’re easy to break apart, so she can treat more without filling Maple up. Thanks, in part, to these treats (and her mom’s commitment to training, of course!), Maple has learned basic commands like sit and fetch.
“She’s very treat-oriented,” Curti says. “She runs back to the back door and sits there because she knows that’s where we keep the treats.”
Frisco Plush Squeaking Cow Dog Toy
Puppies love to play, and Maple is a huge fan of playing fetch.
“If I say, ‘go get your toy,’ she immediately goes looking for a toy,” Curti says. “She’s very smart.”
Frisco’s plush cow is not only Maple’s first toy, but her favorite to play with.
“It’s easy for me to throw and for her to pick up and bring back, and for me to get out of her mouth again,” Curti says.
Shop now: Frisco Plush Squeaking Cow Dog Toy
Nylabone Puppy Chew
Just like human babies, puppies go through teething. Chew toys and bones can help prevent them from chewing on your furniture and hands during this time. Curti opts for Nylabone’s puppy chews.
“We use a lot of Nylabone products, mainly for teething and to keep her occupied from biting things she is not supposed to,” she says. “We love that we can stick them in the freezer and she can enjoy the cooling sensation while chewing.”
Much better than chewing on the socks she likes to steal so much!
Shop now: Nylabone Puppy Chew
Loving Pets Bella Bowl
Maple needs to eat and drink out of something, obviously, but no ordinary bowl will do. Her meals are served in Loving Pets’ Bella Bowls, which are both fashionable and functional. They feature cute pawprint and bone designs, plus they are stainless steel and have a removable rubber base that prevents skidding across the floor—which means less spilling and less noise. Curti especially appreciates that the bowls are dishwasher safe, making them super easy to clean.
Shop now: Loving Pets Bella Bowl
Frisco Planet Friendly Dog Poop Bags
Every dog parent knows that poop bags are an essential item. You wouldn’t want to be caught without one while out on a potty break.
“We are always prepared—which means also finding stray bags in just about every clothing pocket—just in case Maple needs to go!” Curti says.
She chooses Frisco’s Planet Friendly dog waste bags because they fit in a nifty Frisco poop bag dispenser, they’re easy to tear, and they’re the perfect size for cleaning up Maple’s messes. Plus, they are eco-friendly, made with at least 50 percent recycled materials and are designed to break down faster than regular bags.
“That is really important to us—saving the planet!” Curti says.
Shop now: Frisco Planet Friendly Dog Poop Bags
MidWest iCrate Single Door Fold and Carry Crate
Crate training can be a great way to work on housebreaking, helps keep puppies safe and out of trouble, and gives them a secure space to call their own. This fold-and-carry crate serves as Maple’s sleeping spot.
“She sleeps in there every night, right next to us in our room,” says Curti, adding that it’s a cinch to take down and set up.
“It’s great if we need to send Maple to stay with someone … [because it’s] really easy to fold closed and open,” she says.
KONG Puppy Dog Toy
Puppies have lots of energy to burn off. When Maple is in an especially playful mood, her mama whips out the KONG Puppy dog toy. It’s customized for puppy teeth (the rubber is the gentlest on teeth within the KONG rubber toy line) and can be stuffed with treats. Not only does it help teach appropriate chewing behavior, but the special snowman shape results in erratic bounces that makes playtime extra fun.
“She loves her KONG, mostly because it bounces around a bit on our floor when she is in a rambunctious playing mood; but she moreso loves the fun treats that go inside of it!”
Curti also uses the KONG Puppy toy to keep Maple preoccupied during grooming sessions. Smart move, Mom!
Shop now: KONG Puppy Toy
Frisco 8-Panel Exercise Pen
Curti gives Maple a safe place to play and lounge with the Frisco exercise pen. It especially comes in handy when her moms work from home and can’t be as vigilant in watching her.
“She recognizes this as her space and is very comfortable relaxing in here,” Curti says.
Shop now: Frisco 8-Panel Exercise Pen
Getting a new puppy is a big responsibility but it also comes with a big reward. Make sure you have all the supplies you need to ensure a smooth transition and lay the foundation for many happy years to come.