Helpful Tips

First Time Dog Owners Tips

Little french bulldog

If you’re about to welcome a dog into your life, then this guide on first-time dog owner tips can give you some great information on how to acclimate your new pet to your home, how to set a structured routine, and what you can do to ensure you’re pet grows up happy and healthy.

Bringing Home Your New Pet

Whether you’re bringing home an adult or a puppy, you can expect some type of adjustment period once you bring your new pet home. It’s best to prepare in advance and have all the supplies ready and on hand. This will include a dog crate for separation anxiety, a harness, leash, food dishes, food, toys, and whatever else your pet may need, based on age, breed, and size.

A dog will usually be overwhelmed or scared the first few days in their new home. They may show signs of fear or hide. Some dogs may appear indifferent to their new environment, or they may see calm and relaxed until they get used to their new life. They may even be very hyper once they feel confident. While some may feel right at home within a matter of days, for others, it can take several months for them to adjust.

An adult dog will usually require more time to adjust, especially if they have spent a long time in a shelter. If you bring home a puppy, you’ll need to be prepared to train them. This can involve teaching your dog commands and house training.

Make sure you have everything set up in your home and you have a plan in place before you bring your new dog home. This will allow you both to get off to a great start.

Puppy Care

Puppies can be a lot of fun and a lot of work. There’s plenty you’ll need to learn about raising a puppy right. Vaccinations, training, and socialization are just some of the things you’ll need to learn and add to your to-do list.

Caring for a puppy is basically a full-time job, especially if you’re dealing with a very young puppy. Begin researching about puppy care needs before you bring your puppy home, so you’ll be prepared for anything.

The First Month

Adorable puppy

The first thirty days will be the roughest for you and your dog. Set up a temporary space for them, a place in the home that will be easy to clean, such as the laundry room or kitchen. Make sure you have a bed or crate ready and waiting. Make sure that you dog-proof the area. This can involve storing household cleaners on high shelves, removing breakables and rugs, taping loose electrical cords to the wall, and putting up some baby gates. Begin training your pet the moment you bring her home. Make sure everyone in the home uses the same commands, in order to avoid confusing your dog.

Day One

A new dog will be very stressed on the first day. Make sure you give her some space if she seems anxious or stressed. Speak with your children and discuss how to approach the new dog, without overwhelming her.

When you pick your dog up, be sure to ask what time she was fed. Try to stick to the same feeding schedule for the first few weeks in order to avoid gastric issues. You will also need to feed the same type of dog food to avoid loose stool, diarrhea, and an upset stomach.

Once you and your pet get home, make sure you take her to the bathroom area as soon as possible and spend some time with her here so she will feel comfortable in the area and relieve herself. Even if your dog relieves herself at this time, make sure you’re prepared for accidents in the home. Coming into a new home with other pets and new people, sounds, and smells can throw housebroken dogs off-track.

Begin their playing, exercise, toileting and feeding schedule from moment one. Your dog will need brief periods of solitary confinement and family time. If the dog whines when left alone, try not to give in. instead, praise her for good behavior, such as resting quietly, or chewing on her toy.

For the first week, remain quiet and calm around the dog and limit too much excitement such as taking her to the park. This quiet environment will allow your dog to settle right in and will give you more time to get to know her and what she likes and dislikes.

If she came from another home, then objects such as sticks, chairs, feet, magazines, rolled up newspapers, hands, and leashes are just some pieces of training equipment that may have been used by the past owner. Commends such as lie down, come, can bring forth a reaction. The dog may have led a very sheltered life and was not socialized with other pets or children.

Most pet owners can agree that they don’t really see their pet’s true personality until several weeks after the dog has been adopted. Most new dogs will be uneasy until they get to know their new owner. Be understanding and patient while sticking to a schedule, especially the first few months. This schedule shows a dog what’s expected of her and what she can expect from you.

Basic Needs

English cocker spaniel

Now that you’re a dog owner you need to master the basics of dog care. Every dog will need social interaction, physical care, adequate shelter, and proper nutrition. Once you’re able to cover the basics, then you’ll be on the right path to giving your dog the life they deserve. You must learn how to provide for your pet in advance in order to make this smooth transition to dog owner.

Find a Vet

Your pet will need a good vet. I recommend taking your pet to the vet for a wellness checkup. A vet will assess your dog’s health and give you some great advice that will help you raise your pup right. Find a vet you love. Make sure you always keep the lines of communication open between your vet and you.


As I mentioned earlier, part of preparing for your new pet is buying the right supplies. So, how do you decide what your dog really needs? There are hundreds of crates, collars, leashes, beds, bowls, and toys to choose from. You can look online where you’ll find a ton of options for great new gear for your pet.


Dog food is the foundation of your pet’s health. With so many options to choose from, you may find choosing a pet food a little overwhelming. Spend time researching the basics of canine nutrition, then find a diet that will suit your dog’s needs. As an example, if you have adopted an older dog, one who is beginning to show signs of arthritis, then you’ll want to choose the best dog food for joint health, to ensure your pet gets vital nutrients and healthy fats that promote joint health.

Dog Training

Every dog, regardless of age, will need some training. Training helps you control your pet, while giving your dog a sense of structure. Proper training can make both you and your dog happier, in the long run. Training with your pet will allow you to strengthen the new bond you share, so make sure you set aside time every day to train your pet and work on basic commands, leash walking, tricks, and more.

Behavior Issues

You’re not going to find a dog that’s perfect. A perfect dog doesn’t exist. Many dog owners will have to deal with some type of behavior problem, at some point. It can be something as simple as chewing, or constant barking. You may also encounter serious issues such as aggression or separation anxiety. You might even have issues with your pet urinating or defecating inappropriately in the home. Because you’ll need to be prepared for behavior problems, it’s a good idea to read up on common behavior issues, so you can easily identify any problems and learn how to treat and cope with them.

Health Issues

Sick or wounded

In your dog’s lifetime you can expect a few health issues to come up. Learn about common health issues, such as ear infections, respiratory issues, urinary tract infections, and other types of health issues you may encounter, based on breed.

Be Responsible

Being a responsible pet owner is all about committing to your pet for life and accepting responsibility for any of your pet’s actions. This means taking proper care of your pet while respecting your neighbors. If you’re able to do this, then you’re definitely on the right track. Make sure you understand the responsibility associated with pet ownership before you bring your pet home.

Ask yourself, why you want a dog. Do you have time to devote to them daily, whether it’s taking them for a walk or playing with them in the backyard? Can you properly care for your dog?

Research Breeds

You may have a breed in mind, but you don’t really know much about the breed, their exercise and socialization needs or their temperament. While the dog may be adorable, they may have high care needs that you can’t meet. As an example, some dogs are high energy and need to be walked one to two times a day or have some quality playtime with their owner, otherwise, they may start to display behavior issues. Breeds such as pit bulls require daily exercise in order to prevent boredom, which can lead to destructive behavior.

Play Dates and the Importance of Socialization

Since socialization is so important, meet with friends or family members and set up a play date with your dogs. Of course, if you have an adult, then you’ll want to avoid allowing both dogs to meet off leash since you don’t yet know how your dog responds to other dogs or animals in general. Some dogs will have dog or animal aggression, which can be very dangerous if you introduce your dog to a new dog incorrectly. If this is the case, you may need to hire a trainer who specializes in aggressive behavior. If you have a puppy and know someone with a dog approximately the same age, this can be a great opportunity for your young pup to socialize and play. It’s very important that your dog starts off by meeting new dogs, in order to be socialized correctly. Dogs that are not correctly socialized can end up with dog or animal aggression, food aggression, or they can fence fight with dogs or animals that walk by your property. As you can see, socialization is very important at any age. It may be difficult with an older dog, especially if you’ve adopted a dog that has spent several months in a shelter. Over time, with the right training, your dog will learn how to remain calm and interact with other dogs and animals appropriately.

Quality Time

Spending quality time with your dog will be very important. Set aside time every day to interact with your pet. The first week, if possible, take some time off work to spend quality time with your new dog. This will allow you to bond with your new pet. Allow your dog to investigate and sniff her new home at her own pace. Try not to overwhelm her and introduce her to other pets and family members slowly.

Provide Fun Activities for Your Pet When You’re Away from Home

The last thing you want is for your dog to be bored when she’s home alone while you’re working. In order to prevent your dog from being destructive and lonely, arrange for a pet sitter to come by and take your pet for walks, if you don’t have time to do so before work.

If your dog has severe separation anxiety, then you can also bring her to a doggy daycare center. Professionals will take care of your pet during the day and provide them with the mental and physical stimulation they need in order to prevent any behavior issues and not feel so anxious and distressed when you’re away.

If you crate your dog when you’re away, then another option is to provide your pet with brain-stimulating toys that will help to stimulate them mentally and keep them entertained while you’re at work.

Exercise Patience

Keep in mind that you need to be very patient with your new pet. They need at least a total of three months to fully adjust to your new home, you, other family members and pets, and the environment in general. By being consistent with your commands and remaining calm, you can help her to adjust to her new forever home with ease and comfort. In the beginning, your dog will feel frightened and insecure. She may even be homesick for her last home.

Limit Access

When you first bring your pet home, limit how much of your home the dog will have access to. Accidents in the home will not be the only concern. A new pet may steal clothing, rip up important papers, or chew on things. The best way you can prevent damage to your home and personal possessions is to assume your pet doesn’t know which items in the home are their toys and which ones belong to you. Dog crates, ex-pens, and gates will come in handy here.

Eating Issues in New Pets

In a new environment, a dog may stop eating. For most animals, offering familiar foods can be helpful. For other dogs, offering variety will be key. Speak to your vet about rotating foods and change them monthly.

Set mealtimes and stick to them. Pick up your dog’s food half an hour after offering it. This will help to increase your pet’s sense of urgency concerning eating. You can also use food puzzle toys to feed them instead of a basic dog bowl. This can also be very mentally stimulating for them.

Try using food toppers to make your pet’s meals more enticing. Be sure to add the topper before you set the food down. If you wait until after your dog has refused to eat their regular food, then your dog may think that if they hold out every time then they’ll get tastier food.

Final Thoughts

These first-time dog owners tips can help to guide you on the path to raising a happy and healthy dog. Providing your pet with a structured environment, basic training, socialization, and a healthy diet will be the keys to keeping them healthy and content in their new home. Remember, it can take a dog several months before they fully adjust to their new life, so you must have patience as they learn the rules of their new home and bond with their new family members.