12 Tips For First Time Dog Owners You Need To Know

A woman holding a new puppy out to the camera
(Photo: Os Tartarouchos/Getty Images)

Here are 12 tips for first time dog owners that I wish someone had told me when I adopted my first dog.

Dog ownership can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be a terrifying concept if it’s your first time. I spent some time scouring the internet and speaking to fellow dog owners asking for some of their best advice to assist you on this new journey you are about to begin.

Many online sources that discuss first-time dog ownership provide insufficient and quite often irrelevant information regarding the overall process of getting a dog for the first time. With this article, I hope to address that issue.

Continue reading to learn more about the 12 things you should know before getting your first dog.

1. Educate Yourself

A dog wearing a pair of glasses laying on a red/brown couch with an open book
(Photo: Christina Reichl Photography/Getty Images)

It is critical to conduct prior research before purchasing a dog. In many circumstances, a lack of research or preparation leads to being unable to care for a dog. To avoid this failure, you must analyze all areas of your life before making such an important decision.

One of these factors is your lifestyle. It is essential to ask oneself a few questions. “Do I have the time and dedication to devote myself to a dog; who has no one but me?” “Will I be able to sustain my new canine companion financially?”

Consider what you want in a dog and what the dog will want from you. Research and understand the laws on pets in the state and area you reside. Such research will cover a wide range of topics, including licensing, immunization, leash rules, the number of dogs a person may own.

The environment in which your dog lives impacts their behavioural habits. It is vital to assess whether this environment is suitable for their early and long-term growth.

These are just a few things to consider when you enter the world of dog ownership, and making sure you prepare adequately will ensure a memorable experience for both you and your dog.

2. Plan Ahead Financially

A first-time dog owner worried about her dog's unexpected vet bills
Have some money set aside so that you don’t have to worry ( Photo: MachineHeadz/Getty Images)

Many dog owners will tell you that one of the most challenging aspects of owning a dog is how pricey they can be.

Have you noticed how I used the word “CAN BE”? This is because the financial side of owning a dog will only really become a burden for you if you dismiss it. By planning ahead of time, you ensure that you can care for your furry little companion and provide them with all they require to live a happy life.

Some of these things include good quality food, frequent vet appointments, grooming, vaccines, and not to mention the numerous items your dog will require before moving into their new home, such as toys, crates, bedding, and so on.

3. Find a Veterinarian

Two veterinarians performing medical checkups on a golden retriever
(Photo: Galaxia/Getty Images)

Finding a great veterinarian for your dog is a must. If possible, talk to potential vets before or shortly after your dog arrives.

Both you and your dog must trust and feel at ease with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian ensures that your dog is healthy and assists you in understanding their requirements and desires.

Knowing what your dog needs and wants will prepare you to be the best dog owner you can be.

4. Preparing Space

A pack of boxes getting ready to move out of a old house
(Photo: Morsa Images/Getty Images)

Make sure that your home is completely ready for the arrival of a new pet. This type of home creates an environment where your dog can flourish and develop.

Preparing your home entails pet-proofing it and ensuring that everyone who lives there is ready to welcome the new dog.

Allowing your dog to have their own “personal space” can demonstrate that you care; therefore, it’s ideal if you can provide them with an area where they can rest and relax anytime they need to.

5. Buy Enough Supplies

A dog leash. harness, dog bowls. dog toys and dog treats
(Photo: Os Tartarouchos/Getty Images)

Dogs are members of your family, and they should be treated as such. They require high-quality food, medicine, toys, and various other items. I’ll be the first to acknowledge that these aren’t cheap, yet they’re vital in ensuring that your dog has the best life possible. Fortunately for you, by visiting doggearcity, you will be able to find everything you need to make the purchasing process much easier for yourself.

6. Training Your Dog

Man teaching his dog to shake hands
Teach your dog fun tricks and skills ( Photo: Andresr/Getty Images)

Dogs can be a charming handful at times, but a handful nonetheless. As a result, if you value your peace of mind, dog training is necessary. It is worthwhile to invest in high-quality training, whether in the form of a book or a course.

Several scientific studies are now supporting the necessity of training your dog to the point where it is undeniable. Training boosts confidence, keeps your dog mentally stimulated, and protects them from boredom. It is also one of the best methods to bond with your new canine companion.

7. Communication

A man sitting next to and playing with his golden retriever dog
(Photo: Westend61/Getty Images)

Communicating allows you to learn what your dog needs and wants from you. Communication also facilitates your dog’s interactions with humans and other dogs.

Because dogs cannot communicate verbally, you must pay close attention to their body language.  Dogs will express their emotional and mental states through their ears, tails, and eyes.

8. Taking Time Off

You should consider taking time off as a first time dog owner, especially if you live alone. It’s vital to remember that, while you may have many other friends, your pup only has you, and being there for them during their adjustment period will be crucial for their development.

9. Consistency

Never teach your dog that sleeping in your bed is fine one night and unacceptable the next. It is critical to inform them about acceptable and unacceptable behaviours constantly and consistently. Your dog must know what you expect them to do and when you expect them to do it.

10. Ask For Help

A piece of blue card that says ask for help
(Photo: Getty Images)

Being stubborn is not going to benefit your dog. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, talk to your vet or other dog owners; they’ve probably been through the same thing you are.

I recall a friend who had recently adopted a dog and was about to return him to the shelter. She called me, and I persuaded her otherwise, and those two have remained inseparable to this day.

11. Responsibility

There is no doubt that owning a dog can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. Your dog will provide you with unconditional love, devotion, and constant companionship.

However, the decision to become a dog owner comes with responsibilities that you must live up to by committing to and maintaining a strong desire to care for your dog.

12. Relax and Enjoy!

(Photo: Getty Images)

Our relationship with dogs is more than just a give-and-take arrangement. The relationship you share with your dog can genuinely help you both in ways you never imagined.

Enjoy every moment you spend with your dog and accept that you will make mistakes. Don’t forget to have fun. If you are happy, I am confident that they will be as well. Aim to be the best dog owner you can be because that is all your four-legged friend could ask.

So, What Now?

As previously mentioned, you must be financially capable of caring for a new dog.

With that said, read our post on how much you can anticipate to pay for everything your dog will require.

Further Reading