Before you head out to pick up your new four-footed family member, you need to prepare.
Buy a flat collar and leash, and make sure you have those with you when you go to get the dog. A puppy's neck will grow -- and grow fast -- so be prepared to replace the collar a few times.
Fit the collar so that there is just enough room for one or two fingers to slip between the collar and neck. Flat collars may be nylon, leather or some other sturdy material, but don't purchase a very thin one. It may dig into the dog's neck when you tug on the leash.
Choke collars may be used for training, but don't use a choke as your dog's permanent collar. The movable end ring can get caught on anything, tightening the collar around the dog's neck as he struggles against it. Or the chain itself can get caught on the dog's lower jaw -- an uncomfortable and frightening experience for your pooch.
Get proper identification tags, and make sure they indicate your name, address and phone number. Later, you'll need license tags from the city -- if required -- as well as veterinary tags indicating that your dog has been properly vaccinated. Food and water dishes (plastic or metal) should be deep enough to hold adequate nourishment, but not so deep that your dog's ears droop into the bowl. No matter where you get your dog or puppy, ask about his diet and continue feeding the same thing for a little while. After your dog has settled in a bit, your vet may recommend gradually switching to a different food.