7 Important First Time Dog Owner Tips

tips for a first time dog owner

Last Updated on October 9, 2020

You finally did it. You added a new furry family member and you couldn’t be more in love with your new dog. But what now? It can be a little overwhelming. I remember that feeling of bringing home our first dog and wondering what to do. I’ve got some good first time dog owner tips that can help you feel a little more at ease.

Bringing a dog into your home is exciting, scary, and sometimes overwhelming, especially when you’re a first time dog owner. Sometimes all you need are a few tips, a lot of encouragement, and tons of doggy kisses to let you know you’ve made the right choice!

First of all, congratulations on your new family addition. Getting a dog is so exciting. Yes, it can be messy and confusing and you might feel like you have a newborn baby (especially if you get a puppy). But there are some things to know as a first-time dog owner that can help ease the stress!

First Time Dog Owner Tips

Find A Good Vet

Dogs need care just like us. There are routine vaccines to keep them healthy and you’ll want periodic well checks to make sure your new pup is doing great. Dogs also have illnesses and injuries just like people so ideally, you’ll want to make sure you choose a vet that is convenient and affordable.

If you’re bringing home a new puppy, you will need several visits pretty close together so you’ll feel like you’re spending a lot of time and money at the beginning.

Also make sure to ask your vet where the nearest emergency vet is, or if they offer after hours emergency care.

Get Basic Supplies

You don’t have to buy out the pet store when you bring home a dog, but you do need to get the basic essentials. Bed, crate, food, toys, bowls, collar, leash – these are a few of the basics you’ll need.

It’s a good idea to have the basics on hand before you bring your new baby home.

Check out this list for more help – New Puppy Essentials

Plan on Exercising

Dogs need exercise. You can’t leave a dog at home all day alone and not expect some issues. Dogs get bored and they need mental and physical stimulation. You don’t have to plan on running five miles a day with your dog, but just know that some activity will be necessary.

Often mental stimulation such as training is even more effective than the physical stimulation. Get a few training sessions and start exercising that doggy mind!

Bored dogs find ways to not be bored. As in, they chew your favorite shoes or destroy your couch. Don’t be a bored dog owner. Exercise their minds and their bodies for an overall healthy dog.

tips for first time dog owner

Invest in Training

Since you’re a first time dog owner, there are probably a few things that both you and your pup can learn. Dogs don’t come with manuals and you certainly aren’t expected to just know how to train them.

There are so many amazing trainers and facilities that can help you with basic obedience, simple commands, and even trainers that will keep your pup for 2-3 weeks and train them for you!

Whatever level of training you’re looking for, it’s a great idea to at least do some professional training. Bad habits that go on for years are super hard to break and it’s easier to start out on the right foot (or paw!).

And training isn’t just for big dogs – tiny dogs need it too. It’s easy just to scoop them up remove them or stop them, but little dogs need to learn skills as well.

Practice Patience

Honestly, sometimes it’s so overwhelming when you’re a first time dog owner. There are so many things to learn – how to train, when to walk, why they’re biting, how to stop them from digging, and on and on.

You’ll need some patience and some grace. For you and your fur baby. Remember that your home is new to your dog too. New smells, new surroundings and sounds, and possibly the first time away from mom. They need time to adjust just like you.

Your new family member may be nervous or scared at first and even may refuse food for a bit. It’s ok. Be patient with them and give them time to adjust.

Think of all the new things that they’ve never seen before. Have they ever heard a siren or a car? Have they heard the phone ring or the ice maker? These are all new and it may be scary to them at first.

Consider Pet Insurance

This was one of our biggest mistakes with our dog. We opted not to get pet insurance. We would’ve saved thousands of dollars over the years if we had chosen to get insurance. Sure, you might get lucky with that dream dog that never has a problem, but if you don’t have a large chunk of change that you can access if an emergency comes up, you might want to consider pet insurance.

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Here an option to consider:

Eusoh – This is similar to a sharing cost program for humans. No preferred providers and you choose your own vet!

Get Ready to Be In Love!!!

This is the most important of the tips for first time dog owners! Get ready to fall in love with your new furry family member. Yes, it’s frustrating at times and you’ll wonder what possessed you to do it (especially when you’re cleaning up pee in the house for the eleventy billionth time).

But – it’s so worth it. The training, the long nights, the potty accidents, the money you’ll spend – it’s all worth it when you snuggle your new baby and feel all that love!

Hopefully, it’s a relationship that will last years and years and bring you and your family so much joy.

For more tips – check out these 7 things to consider when getting a new puppy!


This is just a small list of tips to help you feel more comfortable if you’re a first-time dog owner. It’s such an exciting time and hopefully, you’ve found a loyal companion to love for years to come.

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first time dog owner tips