It’s such a heartwarming experience whenever we see puppies or dogs finding their loving and permanent homes.  The excitement on the faces of the human members of this newly formed family is contagious. You can pretty much expect to see double the enthusiasm for first–time dog owners. But,  a do–List for newbie dog owners would make things a lot easier for them for sure.

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Although this is an exciting moment, it can also be a little bit intimidating as well. Because newbie dog owners have not yet had any significant experience in being fully responsible for a canine companion, they could use a little help. Here are a few tips to help them get off to a good start.

Do–List for Newbie Dog Owners

Be hands-on

Most first–time dog owners think that they or their kids should not be touching their dogs often.  Wrong! All dogs will need a lot of handling their entire life. And what’s a much better way than starting them young?  

They will frequently need to have their teeth brushed and their nails clipped. At some point, they may need to take pills, as well.

When socializing your pets with other dogs in the neighborhood, some people will be enchanted with their charm and may want to pet them.  Getting them used to being touched does not really take a lot of time.

You can practice with them in simple ways. When watching television, let them stay beside you or on your lap and stroke his belly. Once in a while, hold his paws and do it firmly but gently.  Start trimming one or two of his nails daily.

hand, woman, paw
Mylene2401 (CC0), Pixabay

Lift his lips and examine his teeth and gums. It is best to start getting him accustomed to having his teeth brushed on the day you brought him home.

snout, teeth, bite

Look at the inside and around his ears, and every now and then, sniff them. You are doing more than just helping your dog become familiar with being touched. It is also a great way for you to become familiar with his normal body condition so you can detect any abnormalities or illness early on.

chihuahua, dog, puppy
Zozz_ (CC0), Pixabay

Know the right amount of food to feed

We all have the same wish for our pups; for them to grow up strong and healthy.  But this does not mean feeding them whenever and whatever they desire. Each individual dog has slightly different dietary requirements.  

If you have a small dog, he will need to be fed more energy-dense food frequently, probably 3 to 4 times a day. However, feeding food that promotes slow and steady growth twice a day will be more beneficial for big dogs.

Growing puppies, pregnant or nursing bitches, and actively working dogs have different nutritional needs from aging or chronically ill dogs. Consult with your veterinarian regarding your dogs’ individual needs if you have any questions whatsoever.

While it is advisable to give your dog free access to clean drinking water, it is not usually the best idea to free feed.  Have a specific feeding time to avoid overeating that may eventually lead to obesity. Scheduled feedings also make house training easier.

golden retriever puppy, dog puppy while it is eating, cute puppy
jagdprinzessin (CC0), Pixabay



Use food puzzles

Instead of just putting his food in his regular bowl, why not introduce food puzzles?  By having to push some buttons to get his food, it keeps your dog mentally and physically active.  Also, it keeps your pup entertained!


Take house-training earnestly

One of the saddest reasons why dogs end up in shelters is that they potty inside the house. This could easily have been prevented if the owners had trained their dogs to relieve themselves only in the designated areas.

The usual times you will need to take them out is after waking up in the mornings, after meals, after playtime, and before bedtime.  It will take more than just one practice to help them learn where and when it is time for them to go, but it will benefit you in the long run. Remember that people and dogs respond better to rewards than to punishment! This topic is addressed in length in another article on this website.

fire, hydrant, water
MikesPhotos (CC0), Pixabay

Bathe your dog regularly

Some owners do not give their dogs a bath as needed because they believe that doing so will dry out his skin and will cause his fur to lose its shine. Wrong, again! Regular bathing is good for your dog.  It helps remove dirt and biting pests that he may have picked up when he was outdoors. It also helps eliminate bacteria and other harmful agents that may otherwise cause you or your dog to be sick. There is a helpful article on bathing your dog on this website.

Bath Time For Sally

Photos Courtesy of my Photo Album and Pixabay

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As Wife, Mother of 5, and Nana of many more, I have known and loved many dogs who were treasured members of our family. My education, experiences in showing, breeding, and developing pedigree-based breeding programs for others gives me a strong background upon which to base articles of interest to most dog lovers. However, it is my great love for dogs that gives me the passion to share them with other dog lovers.


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