I was like you, and I bought a lot of stuff Waffle has never used. ...
But, here are things he did use and we both like a lot:
Stainless steel bowls. (Ceramic ones crack and can harbor bacteria.)
Chuck-It STUFF. The launcher and the flying squirrel are personal favorites.
A british-style slip lead (clip leads can suck it--I'm never going back)
A detachable collar-- his comes off often enough that he doesn't wear it anymore though
A REALLY GOOD VACUUM.
A high quality food. I started him off on Wellness/Wellness Core and moved up though the ranks, now he eats raw meat/The Honest Kitchen/Orijen
One or two stuffed squeaky toys. Kong makes a great squirrel toy.
A cat feathers-on-a-stick toy. Trust me, this will be a huge hit.
Some antlers to chew on--less messy than bones/bully sticks and no smell
A crate. We have a Furarri plastic one, but a life stages crate if probably best for your puppy
Charlee bear treats for training
Other, more substatial treats for "cookies"
The beeeest thing you can do for your new puppy is to begin training him the second you bring him home and then never stop. A well-trained dog is for life.
I like to buy any dog cookies that I can eat and say I would not mind eating if I absolutely had to. I bought Waffle some dog Oreo's once-- they were so delicious. This stipulation of mine limits the treats to being made out of non-meat ingredients because meat ingredients in baked goods often end up having a stupid amount of preservatives or other unsavory crap in them. Basically, if it's based in flour and fruit, I will buy it for him.
Sojo's makes some great little cookies. Pumpkin Crunchers are one of my favorites, and Fruitables are another good cookie. But, you won't find any of these type of treats at PetSmart. I tried the Blue Buffalo banana health bars, Wellness Well Bars, and Natural Balance sweet potato things, but they were both textured very poorly and tasted very unlike what they claimed to taste like. I tend to buy my treats (and food) at specialty pet stores because they do usually stock them. However, they DO sell Charlee Bear treats at PetSmart; you have to look hard. I would never eat them, though. They're 2-4 calories each, are hard and small so they don't break in your pocket, and are the perfect size so as not to distract your dog from his lesson.
I do like to give him an extra special cookie before bed (the Oreo's were bedtime snacks). For the past few months, his bedtime treats have been chicken jerky made by Canyon Creek, found in PetSmart. He likes them a lot, but I'm not sure if I will buy them anymore because they are made in China and that doesn't sit well with me.
The Kong items are all awesome. They also make a tiny tennis ball that squeaks. Perfect corgi puppy size.
Antlers are awesome too. Another great chew that Baxter loved was the nylabone key ring. I went through four or five of those things.
Food-wise, Orijen is my favorite. Baxter was fed Organix by Castor and Pollux throughout puppyhood. As he got older, I noticed his fur would always have flakes in it when I brushed him. I did some research and added a supplement. When that didn't work, I did some more research and decided to try another brand, Orijen. After switching the food, his skin problems went away. The 6-Fish formula is the best, even though it sort of smells like there are actually 6 fish in the bag.
One of my favorite treats is called Wet Noses Tiny Training Stars. Like the name implies, they are really tiny and are perfect for training. Zuke's Mini Bakes come in a pack of 325 and you can break them in half. Baxter's favorite puppy treat were these moist cookie-like treats called Sniffers. They were sort of big, but they were easy to break up and use for training. I never realized how much Baxter liked them until we ran out and I bought something else. He ate the new treat just fine, but when I bought a bag of the Sniffers and he smelled them he practically did a little dance.
All of those treats look like something I may want to buy for Waffle. :0 Thanks for the recommendation, haha.
Also, yes. Supplements. Not required, but highly recommended. As someone who believes firmly that nutrition is the basis of health, humor me and read about this stuff even if you never plan on buying any supplements for your dog ever.
If you're going to buy supplements for your dogs diet, fish oil is a must. My favorite fish oil product is Grizzly Fish Oil because it is pure fish oil. Other fish oils you buy are cut with soy or other oils that dilute the product and may be a source of allergen for your dog. Other fish oils also require you to supplement with Vitamin E, even though most people don't. Fish oil limits the amount of Vitamin E available to the body, but Grizzly has stated specifically that Vitamin E supplementation is not necessary with their product. Benefits of fish oil include: higher amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids available for your dog to care for its skin and coat. PUFA deficiencies lead to flaky skin, dry/stiff coat, hair loss, and even bacterial infection.
That said, I supplement vitamin E anyway. You want a product not based in soy. The one I use is a liquid product made by Solgar which has Vitamin E suspended in a wheat/sunflower oil mixture. Vitamin E is an antioxidant which helps to break down fatty acids, keeps away Oxygen free radicals, and stabilizes cell membranes. The reason I supplement VitE is because most diets only have enough VitE to keep away symptoms of deficiency. Optimum maintenance levels are higher than those found in raw meat, also.
A probiotic is necessary if you feed raw meat. It helps keep the friendly gut flora at a high level which limits the nutrients available for the growth of pathogenic gut bacteria. Right now I am using a product by Spectra. I open up the capsules and he gets about 1/2 a capsule a day. More is best if your dog is on antibiotics. I used to be slack about this, but then Waffle got a campylobacter infection so I bought the best one I could find. Any supplement is cheaper than that $500 vet bill I got.
I like to give a digestive supplement to tackle the digestion of strange or powerful foods (like that rotting bird in your yard). He gets it in one meal a day, and he's never had a single tummy upset because of difficulty digesting something. He got a combination of probiotic and enzymes, made by Dogzymes, for a while. The Spectra probiotics don't have any enzymes in them, so he gets Prozyme now. Digestive enzymes help your dog to fully utilize what he is eating.
Anyways, that's my spiel. If you made it this far, congratulations!! haha.
Puppy classes would be my #1 recommendation. :)
As far as supplies that we use a lot:
Planet Dog Orbee ball
fleece braided ropes (you can make these really cheap with some fleece fabric)
Large breed puppy or an all life stages food. I use Fromms but there are plenty of good ones
Antlers are a favorite for chewies, www.bestbullysticks.com has tons of good quality chews as well
Crate - I prefer the plastic ones
For training treats I like to use Zuke's minis, they are super stinky and the dogs love them