Being a new dog owner is exciting. You have a constant companion that’s always excited to see you! Every moment with your new dog is a new experience. From the moment you bring them home, you’re learning more about each other—and how to live with each other.
And that’s something a lot of new dog owners need help with.
When you have a dog, you’re no longer solely responsible for yourself. Responsible dog ownership doesn’t just mean keeping your dog clean and well-fed. Much like yourself, your new dog has their own needs, quirks, and personality.
Caring for a dog is a lifelong commitment. But thankfully, it gets easier the more you spend time with your dog and understand them.
Nervous? Don’t worry—that’s what we’re here for!
1. Do your research
As a new dog owner, research is your best friend.
If you know how to look for it, the internet can point you to all the resources you could ever need to get started as a new dog owner. Look for other dog owners and seek out their experiences!
Listen to your friends’ stories about the perks and pitfalls of being a dog owner. Who knows? You just might save yourself time and money.
Focus more on figuring out what owning a dog would look like for you on a day-to-day basis.
Do you like going out a lot? How often would you be able to groom your dog?
Knowing which breed would suit your lifestyle best would help you figure out just about everything else, including your budget and how much time and energy you can devote to caring for a dog.
For example, working dogs like Border Collies are athletic and have boundless energy. These dogs need constant engagement and activity—perfect for dog owners that love to spend time outdoors. But if you’re looking for an affectionate companion who’d rather stay indoors, house dogs like Corgis would be easier to keep.
Whether it be their health, grooming, or how they spend their energy, it’s up to you to decide what kind of dog owner you want to be.
2. Look for a vet
Once you’ve decided to take in a canine companion, you’ll need the services of a veterinarian. Dogs have their own set of needs when it comes to their health such as routine vaccinations, regular medical checkups, and other wellness concerns. Because of this, you’ll need the guidance of an experienced, dependable, and reputable animal doctor throughout your dog’s lifetime.
You can find a vet through a recommendation from a friend or you can find someone with plenty of positive feedback on the internet. What’s important is for you to consider a vet close to your neighborhood, so you can easily reach them in case of an emergency.
Vet visits entail cost, so be sure to find the best one to get your money’s worth. Wellness visits must be done annually but can be more frequent for older or sickly dogs.
3. Keep them away from other dogs until they're fully vaccinated
There are a lot of health issues among dogs that vaccination is meant to address. Not getting dogs vaccinated puts them and other dogs at risk of getting sick.
Among the most common diseases that vaccination prevents from spreading or harming your dog are canine distemper and canine parvovirus. Some of these illnesses can be incredibly fatal and are also highly contagious.
Vaccination also saves you from having to unnecessarily spend a lot of money later on when your dog gets sick from an entirely preventable disease.
4. Consider getting support
You can be thorough and do a great job of planning ahead, but things don’t always happen the way we want them to.
In the face of losing a job or a family emergency, it’s important to have some type of support ready when you get a dog.
Dogs will take up space in your home and your life. While your situation may not always be ideal throughout your dog’s lifetime, it is essential to plan far ahead to ensure your dog will be taken care of in case significant life changes arise.
Remember that it’s a commitment you made and a commitment you should see through to the end.
5. Take your dog for a walk at least twice a day
Dogs are not just activities that you do with your dog for fun. It also helps keep your dog healthy, less anxious, more socially adjusted, and less likely to act out.
Some dog breeds also require more exercise than others. If they don’t get the physical activity that a walk could give them, they can start displaying aggressive or destructive behavior.
Taking your dog out for a walk at least twice a day helps give them an outlet for their excess energy. It also exposes them to new environments, which helps them learn and adapt.
It also helps desensitize your dogs to common sources of strong stimulation like sounds and smells.
6. Always have a comfortable place for your dog to sleep
Dogs need consistency and familiarity in order to feel comfortable and secure. If they don’t get that feeling of comfort and security, they get anxious even when at home.
That’s why giving your dog a comfortable place where they are meant to sleep is important. Not only does it need to be in a specific spot, but it should also have the right equipment like a bed, cushion, or crate.
Doing this also enforces good habits and discipline, which helps make dog training much easier
7. Train constantly or hire someone who does
Dogs must be trained to be prepared for life in the real world. Teaching them how to behave around people will be highly beneficial to you in the long run. A well-behaved dog is a well-kept dog.
Do you want to be able to bring your dog outside with ease? Do you want to have guests over without your dog jumping on them? If you train your dog well, you’d be able to experience a much happier, more peaceful time co-existing with them.
You can personally train your dog if you have the necessary time and resources.
However, if you have a full-time job and a hectic schedule, it is best to leave your dog in the care of a professional dog trainer
8. Don’t panic
You will experience all sorts of feelings as a fur parent at various points in your journey. Given the long list of things you have to be and do for your beloved dog, it’s understandable that you’d be feeling this way. Keep a positive attitude, even when things are difficult. Recognize how hard you’re working to be the best pet parent you can be.
Avoid comparing your dog to other dogs because it will only increase your level of frustration. Instead, look for the characteristics that distinguish your dog from the rest.
There is a long list of things that the internet can provide you with, and it would still not be enough to validate whatever you are doing for your dog. As a first-time dog owner, you should know that mistakes are common, and there is always room for improvement.
Of course, the hope is that you will be up to the challenges of being a fur parent and will be successful. It’s essential to surround yourself with people who share your enthusiasm for dogs and other animals.
9. Be kind and gentle with the dog always and enjoy yourself
Having a dog is a source of joy and fulfilment despite some challenges that you might face. The important thing is to always be patient, kind, and gentle with your dog.
What’s more, you should have fun with it. Dogs respond to your emotions and state of mind. If you are enjoying yourself, your dog will too.
Maintaining a positive attitude also produces better results when teaching dogs better behavior or training them to obey commands.
10. Stay committed
Staying committed means being a responsible dog owner and ensuring that your dog gets the best care possible. It’s a given that dogs will need a safe and healthy environment to live in, healthy food to eat, and ample opportunities to stay active and healthy.
All of these are considerations that should be considered from the beginning.
Taking care of a dog will not be easy; it will be expensive, challenging, and most likely stressful; however, it will all be worth it if you are willing to put in the effort.
Ready to Learn More?
These are the things you need to consider if you are going to have a new dog. In addition to these tips, you could also look into doing Board and Train for your dog.
This is a program that is most suitable for dog owners who are too busy to train their dogs and want it done properly. Check out K9 Mania Dog Training’s Dog Board and Train program to learn more!