14 Tips for First-Time Dog Owners

Dog ownership is one of life’s great joys. But the idea can be intimidating if you’ve never had a pup before. Never fear: We have a comprehensive list of tips for first-time dog owners that provide the essential information you need to feel confident every step of the way with your new canine companion.

There’s a lot to consider before you bring a four-legged family member home. Be sure you’re ready before you say, “I do.” Part of being ready is understanding what a dog requires physically and mentally—and asking yourself if you’re up for the commitment for the rest of his life. “Your new dog is completely reliant on you,” explains Alex Miller, a veterinary technician at Ames Animal Shelter and Animal Control in Ames, Iowa. “You may have a life, work, and friends, but your dog has nothing but you.”