New Dog Owner Tips and Tricks

Published on January 17, 2020 by arothstein

Dog owner with puppies

Are you a new dog owner? Now that you have a new family member it is time to take care of them to keep them happy and healthy.

Different dogs have different temperaments. Some will be shy; others may bounce off the walls. Make sure to do some research about your dog’s breed to better understand their character. New dogs will be shy the first few days because they are in new surroundings. Make sure to be careful at first with your new dog, you don’t want them to start fearing you before they even know you. Never yell at a dog, regardless of what they may have done. This only makes them fearful and shy away from you, making you yell more. Instead use treats to give the dog positive reinforcement. When they do something good, give them a treat and they will do what you want them to.

Say Hi to Your New Dog

When introducing yourself, put out your hand palm up in front of them and let the new dog come to you. In time they will be curious and want to smell your hand. Dogs are introduced to each other by smell so it makes sense that they will want to smell the human owner too. If you allow them on the couch, sit with them, petting the dog for a while. The dog will get used to you and start to create a bond.

Dog Collar Questions

Make sure your dog has a collar as this will allow you to easily put on a leash. You never know when someone is going to visit your home and you want to control your dog initially with a leash if necessary. Later you can work on dog obedience training to get them to obey your verbal commands.

Micro-Chipping to Find Their Way Home

Micro-chipping your dog is important. Dogs like to get out of the yard or house and explore. They don’t realize that food and water is not given to them outside the home. Most dogs will be picked up and taken to a shelter. If your dog is micro-chipped, the shelter can scan it and return the dog back to you. A dog can lose a collar but not a micro-chip. Make sure to register your micro-chip so that anyone using the Internet can find the information about your dog, just in case. New dog owners should ask the shelter or sanctuary workers if their dog has been chipped.

Dog Proof Your Home

One of the most important things to think about is dog proofing your home. Make sure nothing you don’t want broken or eaten is within jumping distance of your dog. New dogs are curious and tend to mouth everything they can get their paws on, and a new dog owner needs to take precautions. Make sure all detergents and cleaning supplies are secured as well as anything else that could be potentially hazardous to your new dog. You can use baby latches to keep cabinets closed. Doggy gates work well for smaller dogs to section off a place in the house.

Potty Training is Important

Whether your new dog is trained or not, a new dog owner needs to introduce them to their new potty place. A small treat will get them to do most things, including going to the bathroom outside in a designated location. Keep some treats in your pocket to reward your new dog when they do something good. Once they start to do what you want them to, you can start giving them attention and slowly take away treats to train them. After a while the dog will be conditioned to do what you want them to without asking.

Time to Sleep

The next important thing to do for your new dog is find a nice place for them to sleep. They may want to sleep with you in the beginning. Offer them some blankets as they like to hide under blankets for warmth and security at night. Dogs tend to become comfortable with a certain location for sleep. If you have multiple dogs, make sure you find a safe place for each of them at night.

Ready to Eat

Next is the eating situation. Have clear differences between food and water bowls. Make sure that your new dog always has access to clean water as they tend to drink many times throughout the day. Use a unique bowl for food so they get used to it and associate the bowl with eating time. Adult dogs usually eat twice a day, but puppies can eat up to three or more times a day. Puppies will need more food to grow into adult dogs.

Dogs need a specific diet based on their age. Puppies need more protein as they are growing whereas senior dogs will need less since they are more sedentary. Check with your veterinarian or vet tech about the proper diet for your new dog. They can offer any insight into nutrition for your dog. Whether you choose dry or wet food, try to keep the food consistent as dogs can become finicky. Limit treats to not allow the dog to become overweight.

Now that you have your new dog ready for your home, there are is some additional advice you may find handy.

Benefits of Adopting a Rescue Dog

There are many places to find rescue dogs. They include the local pound, rescue groups, and animal sanctuaries. Many dogs from shelters have already been socialized and may even know basic commands. Sometimes rescue dogs come from good homes, their owner just wasn’t able to give the attention or shelter they needed. Most rescue dogs are already spayed or neutered. They have been fully vaccinated so the costs of initial vet visits are already covered. The main benefit of adopting is to lower the number of dogs that are homeless.

There are many different organizations that adopt out dogs. One such organization is the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).  Most towns have a local chapter and work with local pet stores to adopt out dogs on the weekends. Visit your local shelter or pet store to find a rescue dog you can give a great home.

Spay or Neutering

Most dogs that come from a rescue or shelter will already be spayed or neutered. Many organizations believe in this practice to reduce the number of dogs that are sent to the dog pound. There are many benefits of having a spayed or neutered dog. The benefits include a reduction in chance of cancer, better pet hygiene, keeping dogs from going into heat, and less marking of territory. Getting your dog spayed or neutered can not only help reduce the number of homeless dogs but help them stay healthier too.

The biggest reason to have a spayed or neutered dog is to reduce the overall population of homeless dogs. More than 3.3 million dogs are given up to shelters each year, according to the ASPCA. Whether the owner is unable to take care of the dog or moves into a home that doesn’t allow dogs, the homeless dog population can be overwhelming for many animal shelters and associations. By spay or neutering your dog, you are preventing an entire litter of dogs from possibly becoming homeless.

Dog Training Advice for a New Dog Owner

Training a new dog should be a priority for a new dog owner. New dogs benefit from getting obedience training. This will curb any negative behaviors that a new dog has. Dogs also need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation; dog training can provide them with this. Training will also provide a safe space for guests that visit the dog in your home. Potty training allows you to keep your home clean.

Make sure to keep verbal commands consistent. To get down from furniture or jumping on a person, use the word “off.” This gives you a unique word to use when they need to get down. “Leave it” is a good command to let the dog know to forget about something. Dogs are curious and will stop to sniff every little thing. Make sure you have a command to keep them from getting distracted, especially if the substance may be harmful to the dog. Other good go to commands include “sit” and “stay.” Having a basic set of commands that help you control your dog will come in handy.


It is important to feed your dog with a nutritious diet. A balanced diet is important for cell growth and to maintain good health. A dog in each stage of life will need different nutrition. Puppies should be fed three to four times a day. Older dogs will need less protein in their diets and can benefit from lower calorie foods. Feeding a dog properly will prevent them from becoming overweight or too sedentary. A healthy diet can also reduce the risk of dogs developing certain diseases.

Animal Vaccines

Vaccines help protect a dog’s immune system and aid in fighting off disease. The vaccine can stimulate the immune system by producing antibodies that identify and fight off organisms. The most common vaccines for dogs include canine distemper, parainfluenza, parvo, and rabies. Most vaccines are given at annual check-ups. A dog owner should talk with their veterinarian or vet tech to schedule a vaccine regime.

Flea & Tick Medicine

Flea and tick medicine are designed to kill fleas and tick on dogs. This medicine helps keep dogs safe from pests that cause disease. A dog can receive flea and tick medicine in a number of ways. There are flea and tick dog collars, oral medication and topical medication. A new dog owner should talk with their veterinarian or vet tech about a flea and tick medicine regime. Many flea and tick medicines are given once a month. Make sure the dosage administered corresponds with the weight of the dog.

What Dog Owners Need to Know About Dental Cleanings

Dogs need to brush their teeth just like humans. It is important for them not only to keep a full set of teeth so they can enjoy their favorite foods but keeping plaque from entering the blood stream can reduce the risk of complications. Most new dogs don’t like to get their teeth brushed so start slowly. Try putting some peanut butter on the brush and letting the dog taste it. Over time they will allow an owner to brush their teeth with dog toothpaste. Another great reason to brush your dog’s teeth is to make their breath smell better. If odor is coming from your dog’s mouth it may mean they have a tooth problem. Make sure to have the dog’s teeth checked and cleaned during an annual exam at your veterinarian. They will make sure that teeth are healthy and don’t compromise the health of other teeth in the mouth.

Want to Learn More?

Did getting some new dog advice interest you? Ready to start a program to become a veterinary technician? With an associate degree in veterinary technology, you’ll gain the knowledge and skills you need to start an entry-level career as a veterinary technician. Broadview University has been part of the community for more than 40 years, so we’ve developed connections that can help move your career forward. After completing our accredited degree program, you’ll be eligible to sit for the Veterinary Technician National Exam (VTNE). Passing the VTNE allows you to become a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT), a designation that will give you a competitive advantage when you enter the job market.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming a veterinary technician and working in veterinary technology.

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