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Owning Your First Dog

Bringing home your first dog is a wonderful experience. But if you have never had a dog before, it's understandable that you'll need some help and advice.

To find out just what it's like – and what to expect – we spoke to Nicola, owner of Wagtails dog walking and pet care business – to get the facts.


The most important thing to remember when getting a dog is to make sure they're well trained. Nicola explains why:

"Training your dog is very important in order for human and dog to live in harmony together, and you should start straight away. Even a young puppy will be able to learn very quickly and there are so many different things that you can teach them.

"Alongside training, socialisation is also extremely important. And this doesn’t just mean mixing with other dogs, it means going outside and experiencing all the noises, smells, sounds and sights that your dog will be encountering on a daily basis throughout their life," she says.

If you want a dog that fits in with your life, then take them along with you to do all the things that you want him to do when they're older. Do everything you can with your puppy while they're young, as it will only get harder to introduce new things the older and bigger they get."

"A really good idea for a puppy would be to take them along to puppy classes. You will get help with training and your dog will get to meet and socialise with lots of different dogs.

"Try to make sure the experiences your dog has at an early age are good ones!"

young beagle puppy with his tongue out in the garden sitting with a harness and lead on

When you first get them home

Just like when you move house, getting your puppy settled into their new home with you can take a little while. They're getting used to their new surroundings and will need as much love and consistency from you as possible.

All your hard work training them will also pay off here.

When you first get your puppy home, Nicola says they will probably cry the first night when you leave them alone as they're used to being with their mother, brothers and sisters.

"I think people are sometimes surprised at how long it takes a puppy’s excitable behaviour to calm down," says Nicola.

"Puppies will be very excitable and have lots of energy, and they will take a lot of your time, hard work and dedication to train."

beautiful golden labrador puppy with his tongue out sitting like a good boy

"If it’s been several days or weeks and you are still experiencing problems, then you need to find the root cause of this. Think about:

  • Is the dog experiencing stress or fear because the new environment is too noisy?
  • Is there another dog or pet that is upsetting the new dog?
  • Are you being inconsistent with how you are treating the dog?

Try to pinpoint exactly what’s going wrong and then make changes accordingly," explains Nicola.

Where to get help

When you first start settling in, you might find it difficult to read your dog and understand their behaviour.

"If you have bought the dog from a good breeder, then they should offer you support and advice even after you have taken him home. If you have re-homed an older dog, then they may take longer to adjust and settle into their new home," says Nicola.

"The rescue centre should be able to offer support and advice. It’s also worth mentioning here that you should rule out any physical or pain-related problems by getting your dog checked over by a vet."

man training his dog at home teaching him to sit using a treat

Other good sources for advice include:

  • A professional dog trainer or dog behavourist. If you are taking your dog to classes then the teacher there should be able to help you.
  • Pet shops – the staff in pet shops are usually very knowledgeable and will be able to advise you on the products they sell too.

And even though bringing a puppy into your life can be hard work, Nicola says it's absolutely worth it:

"The negative things are so small in comparison to the total joy they will bring in to your life and the unrelenting companionship they offer," she says.

"My dog makes me laugh on a daily basis (and makes me want to tear my hair out some days as well!) The more time and dedication you put into training and doing fun things with your dog, the more you will be rewarded by one of the most amazing relationships you could ever be a part of."

Find out more about Wagtails, here:

Disclaimer: This content in this article is intended for information or entertainment purposes only, it is not intended to replace the advice of a vet or animal health professional. Your use of the information is entirely at your own risk and Me & My Pets assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of the information found on this site. If you have any questions or concerns over your pet's wellbeing you should consult your vet immediately.  

Posted in Dogs