First-Time Dog-Owner Guide

Jan 13, 2021 | Dog

Congratulations on adding a dog to your family! We’re sure you’re going to love looking after your new four-legged friend.

While getting to know your dog is going to be a lot of fun, you probably already know that it’s also going to be a challenge. If you’ve never had a dog before, there’s a lot to learn along the way, but it will be incredibly rewarding getting to know your pup and their own special personality.

To help you get ready to bring your canine companion home, we’ve put together a helpful guide for first-time dog owners, which covers everything you need to know.

What do I need to get for my new dog?

The first thing you need to do before you can bring your dog home is to ensure you have everything they’re going to need. To get the basics right, your dog should have everything on this list:

  • Food bowl
  • Water bowl
  • Comfortable bed
  • A plain buckle collar with a tag or your details on
  • A basic lead
  • A harness to make walking on lead more comfortable
  • Toys to help keep them calm or amused
  • Toys designed for play
  • Teething toys (for puppies)
  • The right size crate

All of these items will help you create a comfortable environment for your pet, help them settle into their new home and make training a bit easier. On top of these, you’ll also need to make sure their microchip details are up to date with your details and that they are fully vaccinated.

Preparing your home for your new dog

As well as buying things for your dog, you need to make sure your home is all ready for them. Pet-proofing is important as it helps stop them from getting hold of anything that could be harmful to them – not to mention looking after your belongings!

Start by choosing what area of your home is going to become their’s, whether this is a whole room or part of a room – such as your lounge or dining room. This should be where you set up their crate, bed and toys so they know the space is for them and can get cosy.

If there are areas of your home you don’t want your dog going or you want to limit when they can go into certain places, it’s a good idea to set up some baby gates. Gates help teach your dog where they can and can’t go, while still providing them with plenty of room to explore.

Finally, you need to make sure that your garden is dog-friendly too. This means making sure there is no way for them to get out of the garden, that any gates are fully secure and that no harmful plants are within reach. You can then let them outside to have fun without having to worry that they’ll get through a gap in the fence.

Getting your new dog settled in

Bringing your dog home is super exciting for both you and them, but it can be quite stressful for your furry pal as it is a totally new environment. They can easily get overwhelmed, so you want to keep everything nice and calm for them – no matter how giddy you get!

It’s a good idea to let them in just one or two rooms to start with so they can get used to their new home and explore when they’re ready to. You might also want to use calming plug-in diffusers that release pheromones for a couple of weeks, as these will help your dog relax and settle in.

Our best tip is to get them into a routine straight away, as this can make all the difference and help them feel comforted. Feeding and walking them at the same time every day can make a huge difference, as well as helping you settle into life as a dog owner.

What should you feed your new dog?

Making sure your dog gets all the nutrients they need is always important, but changing their food suddenly can leave them feeling a bit under the weather. It’s a good idea to talk to the rescue centre or breeder to find out what food your dog has been getting and how much they typically have throughout the day so you can carry this routine over.

Ideally, your dog should be on a complete, commercial dog food that is suitable for their age. If you are going to change their food, make sure you do so slowly and over time so they can get used to their new food.

If you’re not sure what is the best option for your dog, let us know and we can help you find the right food for your pup.

Exercising your new dog

Every dog needs and loves a bit of exercise, but exactly how much they need will depend on their breed, age and overall health. We can give you some extra info on how much exercise your dog is likely to need, but it’s a good rule of thumb that your dog will need at least one walk a day.

You should start by walking your new pet on their lead, at least until they are settled and will return to you. Of course, you should always keep them on their lead in pedestrian areas and if you are walking them somewhere there is livestock. You should also check the rules at your local parks, as some local councils have different rules.

If you’re bringing a puppy home, they won’t need as much exercise at first – even if they seem like they’re full of energy – but they’ll probably need to be exercised twice a day.

How should you train your dog?

Training is going to be a big part of getting your dog settled into their new home – as well as teaching you how to handle your new pet. Whether you’re adopting a puppy or an older dog, be prepared to give them some training. This can be a refresher on toilet training or how not to pull on the lead.

You might want to enrol them in a dog training class in your local area, as this will help them learn but also provide you with the tools you need to make sure they keep up with their training at home. This is also a great way to help you build a relationship with them in a safe environment – just be sure to pass on the training techniques to everyone else in your house too.

However you choose to train your dog, it’s important to remember that you should always use positive, reward-based training. This will help them have fun, allow you to bond and show them that doing what you’re teaching is a good thing. Most importantly, you need to stay calm and patient when training your pup.

Get your new dog registered

As well as settling your dog into their new home, you need to make sure they are registered with a vet. This is important when it comes to getting them vaccinated, getting expert advice, or if they need treatment.

We’re here to help you get to know your new dog and keep them healthy and happy, so get in touch to get your dog registered.

We look forward to welcoming you and your pets