20 Must Know Tips For A First Time Dog Owner

Unlock the secrets to happy pup parenting with these expert tips for first-time dog owners!

Congratulations on deciding to welcome a furry companion into your family! Becoming a first-time dog owner is an exciting experience, but it can also be overwhelming. One of the biggest concerns for new dog owners is how to properly train their new furry friend. While obedience classes are helpful, there’s still plenty of training that needs to be done at home. That’s why we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of tips for first-time dog owners.

Our experts have gathered extensive information to help you and your new pup get off to a great start, so you can feel confident every step of the way with your new canine companion. So, get ready to give yourself a pat on the back, because by following these tips, you’ll be on your way to becoming a top-notch dog owner in no time!

Best Tips for First-Time Dog Owners

Tips For A First Time Dog Owner

Bringing a new furry family member home is an exciting time, but before you commit, it’s important to consider all the responsibilities that come with it. Are you ready for the commitment of a lifetime? It’s essential to understand what your new dog needs both physically and mentally. As Alex Hynes, a veterinary technician at Ames Animal Shelter and Animal Control in Iowa, puts it, “Your new dog is relying on you completely.” While you may have a busy life with work and friends, your pup has only you. So, take a moment to think it over and make sure you’re fully prepared for this exciting new adventure!

1. Choosing the Right Dog: Finding Your Perfect Fit

Adopting a furry friend is a wonderful experience, but it’s important to make sure you choose a dog that will fit well with your lifestyle. Mick McAuliffe, director of behavior and enhancement for the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, suggests looking at the big picture for both you and your potential pet. It’s not just about researching breeds, but also talking to shelter staff about the lifestyle you want for your new furry family member. They’re the experts and can help you find the perfect match!

Must Read: Choosing the Right Dog for You

Angela Mincolla, founder of Angela’s Ark, also advises considering your preferred free time activities. If you love spending weekends hiking, for example, a flat-nosed breed like a French bulldog or pug might not be the best fit for long hikes in warm conditions. On the other hand, if your family is more sedentary, working or sport breeds like Australian or German Shepherds may not be the best match based on your activity level. And don’t forget to consider the size of the dog – larger breeds can be more at risk of accidentally knocking over small children.

By taking these factors into consideration, you can ensure that you and your new furry friend are a perfect match for each other, leading to a lifetime of happiness and companionship.

2. Be a Responsible Dog Owner

Woof, woof! Congratulations on deciding to become a dog owner, but before you bring your furry friend home, make sure you’re ready for the lifelong commitment that comes with it. Some dog breeds can be your loyal companions for up to 15 years, so it’s crucial to be responsible and provide them with the best possible care.

To be a responsible dog owner, you need to ensure that your pooch gets a well-balanced diet, plenty of exercise and playtime, regular veterinary check-ups, and training to be a good canine citizen. Remember, it’s not just about keeping your dog healthy and happy, but also being a good neighbor by picking up after them during walks and taking responsibility for their actions.

Make sure to research local laws and regulations to understand your obligations as a dog owner. Licensing your dog and keeping them up-to-date on necessary vaccinations, such as rabies, is mandatory in most states. By following these rules, you’ll not only keep your pooch in good shape but also avoid any legal troubles.

So, are you ready to become a responsible dog owner and provide your four-legged pal with a loving and nurturing home for years to come? If yes, welcome to the paw-some world of dog parenting!

3. Consider Your Time Before Committing

It’s easy to fall head over heels for a cute, fluffy puppy, but before jumping into a lifetime commitment, it’s important to consider the realities of life with a young pup, according to Emily Cook with the Humane Society of Charlotte. While puppies are incredibly moldable and offer the opportunity to shape their personalities, they also require a lot of training and patience. “Everything is new to them. The house. Your family. All of it,” Cook explains. You’ll be responsible for potty training, crate training, and teaching them how to be gentle with children. It’s essential to take the time to think about whether you’re ready for that level of commitment before bringing a puppy into your home.

4. Understanding Your Budget for Dog Ownership

When considering getting a dog, it’s important to be aware of the costs associated with owning one. The expenses of dog care can be broken down into one-time, monthly, and annual expenses. These expenses include the cost of food, toys, grooming, and veterinary care. Before bringing a furry friend into your life, it’s crucial to budget and determine whether or not you can afford to care for a dog.

It’s also important to note that the cost of owning a dog varies based on several factors, such as the dog’s size, age, location, and specific needs. While owning a dog may seem expensive, there are ways to save money and still provide excellent care for your pet. By understanding the costs of owning a dog, you can make informed decisions and become a responsible dog owner.

Basic Costs of Owning a Dog

Type of ExpenseYearly Estimate
Food and Treats$250 to $700
Toys$25 to $50
Beds$50 to $200
Leashes and Collars$20 to $50
Grooming$30 to $500
Routine Veterinary Care (healthy dog)$700 to $2,000
Preventative Medications and Supplements$200 to $600
Training Classes or Resources$25 to $300
Dog Walking (between $0 (you can walk your dog) up to $20 per walk, 1x per weekday)$0 to $5,200
Petsitters or Boarding$100 to $300
Average Monthly Cost of Owning a Dog$125 to $824
Yearly Total$1,500 to $9,900
Table Credit

As you can see, the yearly cost of owning a dog can range from $1,500 to $9,900 depending on various factors. It’s important to budget for these expenses before getting a dog to ensure that you can provide them with the care they need. By understanding the basic costs of owning a dog, you can make an informed decision about whether or not you can afford to be a responsible dog owner.

5. Choosing a Vet

We believe that one of the most important tips for new dog owners is to establish a strong connection with a veterinarian they trust. Taking the time to research and select a veterinary practice before bringing your furry friend home can give you a sense of security, especially if your dog becomes ill shortly after adoption.

If you’re adopting a puppy or dog from a rescue organization that doesn’t have any vaccination records, don’t worry! Just be sure to schedule an appointment with your vet a few weeks after bringing them home. They can provide you with valuable information on dog vaccinations and help you keep your new companion healthy and happy. For more details on dog vaccinations, check out our helpful resources.

6. Prepare Your Home

Preparing your home for a new dog’s arrival involves a few basic steps that can help ensure the safety, health, and happiness of your new pet.

First, identify ideal spots in your home for your dog’s bed, food and water dishes, and playtime areas, and choose areas that are easy to clean.

Second, inspect your home for danger zones and products that could be hazardous to your dog, and remove or secure them.

Third, hide electrical cords and wires safely behind furniture where your dog can’t reach them.

Fourth, take precautions for older dogs, such as providing carpets or rugs on slippery floors and purchasing raised feeders and heated beds.

Fifth, purchase dog food, treats, and items for both indoor and outdoor living, such as a collar, leash, comfy bed, and pet carrier or crate.

Lastly, have a brush and comb on hand, as well as shampoo, a toothbrush, and toothpaste made specifically for dogs.

7. Train Your Dog With Good Manners Right From The Beginning

Bringing a new dog home can be a challenging experience for both the dog and the owner. It’s important to remember that the dog has likely been through a lot of stress and change, which means they may be feeling scared and uncertain. Give your furry friend plenty of space and time to adjust to their new surroundings, and don’t expect them to immediately behave perfectly.

With patience and positive reinforcement training, you can teach your pup the proper behavior techniques to become a well-behaved member of your family. Creating a daily routine with consistency, stability, and predictability can also help ease their anxiety during the early days of adjustment. Remember, it can take up to a few weeks for your new furry friend to feel comfortable and relaxed in their new home, so be sure to offer plenty of love, empathy, and support during this time.

8. Choosing the Right Food for Your Dog

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Choosing the right food for your furry friend is an important decision that can affect his health and wellbeing. While high-quality dog food may come with a higher price tag, it can help ensure your pup gets the necessary nutrients for a healthy lifestyle. Different types of food can cause allergies and other health problems, so it’s essential to find one that suits your dog’s needs based on his size, age, and activity level. If you’re unsure about what kind of food to get, your veterinarian can provide helpful recommendations. Local specialty stores are also an excellent option as they have employees who can guide you to find the best nutrition solution for your pup, especially if he has any allergies or health issues. By choosing the right food, you can ensure that your pup is getting the nutrition he needs to live a long and healthy life.

9. Microchipping Your Dog

Getting a microchip implanted in your dog can be a lifesaver in the event that he becomes lost. This small device is placed between your pet’s shoulder blades, and contains a unique ID number that can be read by a vet or shelter with a scanner. To ensure that your dog is protected, ask your vet about microchipping him during a check-up. If you adopted your dog from a shelter, he may have already been chipped, but it’s important to confirm this before bringing him home. According to Miller, microchipping your pet significantly increases the chances of being reunited with him if he ever becomes lost.

10. Learn How To Communicate With A Dog

When it comes to communicating with your dog, patience is key. It’s important to understand that dogs communicate through body language, so paying attention to their posture and behavior is crucial. One way to strengthen your communication with your pup is by enrolling in socialization and puppy training classes that use positive reinforcement techniques. These classes can not only help your dog learn basic commands but also build their confidence and social skills. Additionally, working with a professional trainer can help you better understand your dog’s behavior and improve your communication with them. Remember, the key to successful dog training is patience, patience, and more patience.

Additional tips

11. Don’t Unhook The Leash

Most of the people do this mistake. They bring a dog to their house and unhook the leash to see what the dog do. When the dog do something wrong they become upset. Oh No! This do is not the type that I wanted and try to teach him some rules with some brutal punishment. Please don’t do this with your dog. If the dog do something wrong that’s not his fault. It’s your fault. You should unhook the leash only after giving him a proper training.

12. Make A Schedule

You should make a schedule for the dog. Such as feed the dog with a fix schedule (feed your adult dog twice a day and puppies under five months, three times a day). Also make a schedule for potty time, grooming, walking and exercise.

Here is a sample dog schedule for a typical day:

6:00 AM – Wake up, go outside for potty break
6:15 AM – Breakfast time
7:00 AM – Short walk or playtime
8:00 AM – Relaxation time, chew toy or puzzle toy activity
11:00 AM – Midday walk and potty break
12:00 PM – Lunchtime
1:00 PM – Relaxation time, chew toy or puzzle toy activity
3:00 PM – Afternoon walk and potty break
4:00 PM – Playtime or training session
5:00 PM – Dinner time
6:00 PM – Evening walk or playtime
7:00 PM – Relaxation time, chew toy or puzzle toy activity
9:00 PM – Final potty break
10:00 PM – Bedtime

Of course, every dog is unique and their schedules may vary depending on age, breed, and individual needs. It’s important to establish a routine that works best for you and your furry friend.

13. Never Hit Your Dog

Striking a puppy just makes him frightful and distrustful of people. Utilize a high pitched voice to praise him when he’s been decent, and a low, gentle voice to scold (never holler) when he’s being rude.

14. Constant Supply of Fresh Water

Dogs are like human beings, they may live for quite a while without food, however, without water, nobody would do it for seven days in an exceptionally humid and hot environment.

The normal puppy expends water as per as indicated by the exercises they do and contingent upon nature too. At the point when it’s icy a pooch may pee and pee since they can’t sweat, however, in a wiener they require water since this is the thing that chills their bodies. As we as a whole know, lack of hydration is terrible in light of the fact that it might bring about a few afflictions like the breakdown of the kidneys and even demise.

15. Puppy House Training

Another imperative thing a puppy must have is training. Would you like it when there’s a guest at home, then your dog hurt that visitor? Imagine a scenario in which that visitor was your mother’s or your father’s supervisor. You’d be an altogether immense fiasco inconvenience! Educating a dog to sit and stand, perhaps the initial segment you’d have to use. Without a doubt, the preparation stage is the crucial step. You may put in days and days or even months and years to culminate a dog’s training.

Read More: Potty Train a Puppy the Easiest Way

16. Freedom

Let your new dog gain freedom bit by bit in your home. A typical mistake that many pet guardians make is giving their new dog a lot of freedom too early. This can without much of a stretch prompt to mishaps identifying with housetraining and dangerous biting. Thus, close off ways to empty rooms and utilize infant entryways to a segment of parts of the house, if fundamental. One of the ideal approaches to minimize incidents is to keep your dog tethered to you in the house and by utilizing a carton or a doggie safe range when you can’t effectively manage him.

17. Love Your Dog

Adore your puppy. Tell them how much you adore them. Converse with your puppy, touch your puppy, set down and snuggle on the floor together. Holding is an extensive part of a sound confiding in a relationship.

18. Groom Your Dog Regularly

You must groom your dog properly if you want to keep it healthy, shiny and cute. There are a lot of skin diseases that you could not see if you don’t groom your dog. You can save your dog from many ear an eye infection as well. I have an already written a great post on dog grooming that you should check out. Choosing the right flea and tick shampoo for your dog is also particularly important as left untreated, these intruders can significantly harm your pet’s health.

19. Knowing Your Dog’s Needs

It’s essential to understand the physical and mental needs of dogs before bringing one home. As a first-time dog owner, you need to be aware that dogs require daily exercise, active playtime, and social interaction with humans and other animals. Enrichment toys like Kongs and puzzle toys are excellent tools to keep your dog’s mind sharp and prevent boredom. Knowing your dog’s breed can help you tailor their exercise and playtime needs to ensure they are getting the right amount of activity to stay healthy and happy.

20. Getting Backup Support

First-time dog owners need a support system to help them with various aspects of pet ownership. For example, if you have to leave your dog alone for long hours, you may consider doggy daycare or a dog walker. When you go on vacation or travel, you’ll need a boarding solution or a pet sitter to look after your pup. In addition, having a plan for unexpected events, such as a sudden life change, is essential. Consider having a backup support system in place that can help take care of your dog when you can’t. By doing so, you’ll ensure your pet’s safety and wellbeing while providing peace of mind for yourself.

Bottom Line

Owning a puppy is a brilliant idea, this demonstrates exactly how great our canine companions are for our well being. If you are considering getting a pooch, ensure you are completely prepared for the responsibility that accompanies having one. For whatever length of time that you are cheerful as you can deal with your pet, then you’re in for an incredible time!

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Brenda Thompson

Brenda Thompson is an expert in dog behavior with over a decade of experience, and she is also passionate about working with cats and birds. In addition to contributing pet content to petdogplanet.com, she is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant. Brenda received her Bachelor of Science in Biological and Biomedical Sciences & Philosophy from Colorado College in 2014. She has taken classes in writing and remote animal behavior consulting, as well as courses on how to manage aggressive dogs and litter box issues. In 2016, she obtained her dog behavior consulting certification and joined the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

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  1. These are all great tips! I could have used the Freedom tip when Haley was a pup. She had a few too many accidents in the house, but it was always my fault for not paying attention or giving her too much room to roam the house.

  2. Thanks for sharing these great tips! As a new dog owner, these are useful for me. I recently adopted a 5-month-old golden retriever. He often gets scared when someone(known or unknown) enters our house. Can you tell me the reason behind this or suggest any solution to this problem?

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