First time dog owner guide

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Are you a first-time dog owner? Congratulations on finding your new canine companion and welcome to the wonderful world of dog ownership! Here's what you need to know about caring for your new dog.

  • 01 of 10

    Know What to Expect After Your New Dog Comes Home

    caring for your first dog, dog selfie
    Caring For Your First Dog, Dog Selfie

    Whether your new dog is a puppy or an adult, there will be some kind of adjustment period after your new dog comes home. Prepare in advance and be patient. Dogs are often scared or overwhelmed when they go to a new home for the first time. They may hide or show signs of fear. Others may appear aloof and relaxed until they get used to life, then they even may become hyperactive once they feel confident. Some will be right at home within a day or two, while others take several months to adjust.

    Adult dogs often need more adjustment time, especially if they lived in a shelter for a while. On the other hand, puppies usually need more training (especially house training). Either way, it's usually several months before you and your new dog settle into a routine.

    Have everything set up at home and make a plan for everything before your new dog comes home. This will help you get off to a great start.

  • 02 of 10

    Got a Puppy? Learn All About Puppies

    puppy in field with owner
    Puppy In Field With Owner

    Puppies are amazing, but nobody said they were easy! There's a lot to learn about raising puppies the right way. Socialization, training, and vaccinations are just of few of the thing you will need to read up on and add to your to-do list.

    Caring for a puppy can sometimes feel like a full-time job, especially if the puppy is very young. Start the research before your puppy comes home so you'll be ready for anything.

  • 03 of 10

    Meet Your Dog's Basic Needs

    maltese dog breed profile
    Maltese Dog Breed Profile

    Now that you're a proud dog owner, you must master the basics of dog care. At the very least, every dog needs proper nutrition, adequate shelter, physical care, and social interaction. Once you can cover the basics, you'll be on your way to giving your dog an amazing life. Learning how to provide for your dog in advance will make it much easier once your new dog comes home.

  • 04 of 10

    Find a Great Veterinarian

    veterinarian with dog
    Veterinarian With Dog

    Every dog needs a great vet! One of the first places you take your new dog is to see the vet. Your veterinarian will look out for your dog's health, educate you about your dog, and guide you through the world of dog ownership. Find a veterinarian you love with a great staff and team. Most of all, always keep the lines of communication open between you and your vet.

  • 05 of 10

    Stock Up on Dog Supplies

    A Chihuahua dog in a wagon with boxes
    A Chihuahua Dog In A Wagon With Boxes

    Your dog is going to need all kinds of stuff in his new home. How do you decide what your dog actually needs and what you want? Perhaps you get a bit of both. Carefully navigate your way through the world of dog toys, bowls, beds, leashes, collars, crates, and much more. There are some great pet supply websites out there where you can shop for your pooch. Plus, your town or city is bound to have some great pet supply shops.

  • 06 of 10

    Choose the Right Dog Food

    hungry dog with bowl
    Puppy In Field With Owner

    Your dog's diet is the foundation of his health. But with so many dog foods to consider, you may find yourself getting overwhelmed. Learn about the basics of canine nutrition, then choose a diet that fits your dog's needs. There's no one right answer when it comes to dog food. One rule of thumb is this: if your dog is doing well on a certain type of dog food, then it's probably just fine (as long as it is complete and balanced).

  • 07 of 10

    Dog Training is Essential

    dog trainer or behaviorist with dog
    Dog Trainer Or Behaviorist With Dog

    Every dog needs training. Dog training helps you control your dog and gives your dog a sense of structure. In the long run, proper training can make both you and your dog happier. Plus, it will enhance the special bond you two share. Take a little time each day to train your dog, working through all the essential steps of dog training, including basic commands.

  • 08 of 10

    Prepare for Behavior Problems

    dog being punished, yelling at dog
    Dog Being Punished, Yelling At Dog

    No dog is perfect. Most dog owners will have to deal with some kind of behavior issue at some point. It may be something as simple as excessive barking or destructive chewing. On the other hand, you may encounter a more serious issue like separation anxiety or aggression. You might even see that your new dog is urinating inappropriately (which may be a health issue and not a behavioral one). Either way, it's always a good idea to be well-informed about canine behavior problems before they become issues for you and your dog.

  • 09 of 10

    Also Get Ready for Health Problems

    sick dog
    Sick Dog

    At least a few health problems are bound to come up in your dog's lifetime. If you're lucky, you'll only see some of the common health issues that are a bit easier to deal with. Hopefully, your dog will not encounter any serious health problems or, worse, medical emergencies. Take the necessary steps to keep your dog healthy and many health issues may be avoidable.

  • 10 of 10

    Be a Responsible Dog Owner

    dog and owner doing high five
    Dog And Owner Doing High Five

    This is one of the most important things you need to know as a new dog owner. Being a responsible dog owner is about committing to your dog for life and accepting responsibility for your dog's actions. It means taking proper care of your own dog while respecting your community. If you can do this, then you are surely on the right track.

Welcoming a New Dog