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Top Tips for New Dog Owners

Did Santa really come through this year and deliver you the canine companion you’ve always dreamed of? If so, odds are you’re now in the settling-in phase with your new dog after Christmas. If you’re after some top tips on how to make your pup feel most at home, look no further!

Background Check

Whether you got your dog from a rescue centre or a previous owner, there are some background questions which are useful to ask to get maximum information about your new dog. This will help you in the long run! Try to find out some of the following:

– Have the dog or their parents had any health problems?
– How old is the dog?
– How much activity are they used to, and how much do they need?
– What kind of training have they had?
– What kind of discipline techniques work?
– Has the dog had experience with other animals or children?
– How much time do they spend inside or outside?
– What kind of food have they been eating and how much?
– Do they have any special likes or dislikes?
– Has the dog been spayed or neutered?
– Have they been treated for parasites and when?
– Is the dog up to date on vaccines?


Once your dog is under your care, you’ll need to keep track of their records. This should include:

– When/where you got them and how old they were
– Trips to the vet, health problems, vaccinations and medications
– Behaviour in different situations, like at a kennel

This information should be kept for sharing with your vet or anyone else who might need it, like a dog sitter.

Find a Vet

dog-at-vetDon’t wait for something to go wrong before you choose your vet, as this isn’t something you want to do when you’re pushed for time. You’ll want to consider the price, qualifications and reviews of the vet before you register your pet. It’s good to get this done as soon as you can, so you won’t have to worry.

Sort Out Your Pet Insurance

Dogs are part of the family and it’s understandable that we want to protect them in case of any unexpected illness or injury. Read more about the range of policies Pets in a Pickle offer to help cover the cost of unexpected veterinary bills.

Shopping for Supplies

You might not have anticipated the amount of supplies your dog’s going to need, so it’s good to do a bit of research based on their breed, age and how much activity they need in a day. Here’s a rough list of things to consider for your canine companion:


– A lead, collar and/or harness
– Food and water bowls
– A few toys, especially chewable ones!
– Cleaning products for accidents or house-training
– Food and treats
– Grooming items
– A place to sleep… this could be a padded bed, basket or crate.

Doggy Diet

With so many variations of dog food on the market, it can be hard to know which is safest for your dog. Do some research into doggy diets, which vary between breeds and age, before stocking up on food. If in doubt of what’s best for your new dog, you can consult your vet or a veterinary nutritionist.


Don’t expect that your dog is house trained, or behaviour trained. Puppies should start obedience training as early as 8-10 weeks old. Spend 10-15 minutes a day on quality time training with your dog. If you can do it twice a day, even better. For best results, try practising at regular times, like when you come home, before eating or before going outside. Here’s some helpful training tips to get started.

new dog


Like when people move to a new home or new environment, dogs can take a bit of time to get used to their new surroundings. Try and be patient with your dog while they settle in; give them loads of love and attention, but stick to rules and schedules and give them their own space for when they need it. You could also practise hand feeding them treats and exercising together for extra bonding time.

Hopefully these tips helped you to settle in with your new furry friend. Why not send over some pictures of your dog to the Pets in a Pickle Facebook Page? All pet photos are considered for Pets in a Pickle’s Pet of the Week, so you could be in with the chance of winning a little treat too.

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