A Guide For First Time Dog Owners

A Guide For First Time Dog Owners

We are pleased to provide our free guide to owning a new puppy dog. This document outlines every aspect of dog ownership, covering issues such as training, nutrition, insurance, socialization, healthcare and more besides. Please enjoy. . . . . . . . .

12 Signs You Need A Dog In Your Life

Sometimes, we want a dog but for some reason or another, we haven't got one yet. You could be in denial, thinking you aren't really dog obsessed when you are. Deep down you know that you would be much better off with a dog. You definitely shouldn't get a dog if you aren't in a position to care for one properly. However, if you have the time, money and space, what's stopping you?

Here are 12 signs you definitely need to own a dog instead of borrowing everyone else's.

1. Your house feels a bit empty

When you come home your house feels a little bit cold and empty. Every time you walk through the front door you imagine how lovely it would be to be greeted by a dog that adores you.

2. You have too much time on your hands

You have to think of things to do in your spare time but you mostly sit there twiddling your thumbs thinking about what type of dog you would get.

3. You daydream about getting a dog every day

Most likely more than three or four times a day.

4. You spend a lot of time looking at adorable dog pictures and videos

You are addicted to #dogsofinstagram and you can't stop watching cute YouTube videos of dogs.

5. You get excited when you see dogs in public

You are the crazy dog person that constantly goes up to strangers and asks them if you can stroke their dog.

6. Every person you speak to you explain how much you want a dog

You think that by telling everyone how much you want a dog it might actually happen some day.

7. It feels like something is missing in your life (obviously a dog)

There is a gaping hole in your life and it can only be filled with a canine companion.

8. You visit dog rescue centres just for fun (wishing you could take a dog home

It's torture because you see all the dogs in need and want to take every one of them home, but you can't.

9. You have thought about becoming a dog walker, you would even walk dogs for free

It's the perfect job for you. Who wouldn't want to walk dogs for a living? You don't own one but when you walk other people's dogs you can pretend you do.

10. You take pictures of every dog you see

You take sneaky snaps of dogs when their owners aren't looking.

11. You already have a list of potential names for your dog

You have saved a list of names you like on your phone in case one day you get a dog.

12. When you meet a dog owner you pretend you have a dog

You want to feel part of the club so you talk about an imaginary dog with fellow dog owners.

Congratulations on deciding to own your very first puppy or older dog! With the correct level of training, planning, love, and attention, your canine will be the perfect companion for many years to come. Dogs can bring such love and joy into our world. Research from the American Psychological Association has even indicated that those who own a pet will be much healthier and happier throughout their life (*1).

Things That Stop People From Getting A Dog

Many people have a strong desire to get a dog, but unfortunately it isn't always possible. You have to think about a dog's needs before your own, and get a dog when you know you will be able to look after them properly. There is no point ignoring something that will be a big issue if you get a dog. Some people get dogs without fully thinking things through and considering their lifestyle properly. You should only get a dog when you are ready and can give them the care and attention they need. Here are five common reasons why some people can't get a dog:


Dogs need a fair amount of space to run around in. You shouldn't get a dog if you don't have a garden for them to enjoy. Some people just don't have enough space to accommodate a dog and have to wait until they move somewhere bigger with an outside space.


Training a dog properly takes up a lot of time. Dogs also like to spend time with their owners, so if you can't give your dog enough time they may become very unhappy. It also takes time to feed them, walk them, take the to the vets and continue their ongoing training.


Unfortunately owning a dog isn't cheap. There are quite a few things you have to pay for. Some people don't realise just how much a dog costs until they get one. You have to pay for their insurance, food, vet bills, vaccinations, toys and accessories such as leads, collars and beds. Many people don't get a dog because they know they probably can't afford one.


Another main reason why some people don't get a dog is because it is such a huge commitment. Some dogs can live over 20 years, which is a significant amount of time to be responsible for an animal. Dogs have to be cared for every day and can't be left on their own too much. Some people who want a flexible lifestyle opt not to get a dog so that they can be free to travel and do what they want.


Some life events and situations prevent many people from getting a dog. For example, couples with very young children won't be able to get a dog until they are older. People who have to move house a lot are often hesitant to get a dog because it's not fair to uproot them all the time. You need to consider your situation carefully if you want to get a dog.

Why Owning A Dog Will Make You Happier

Emotional Support Dogs Provide

There's just something about snuggling up to a dog. When you are feeling down, cuddling up to your dog, stroking their fur, and feeling their affection can really help. You can cry your eyes out in front of your dog, and they won't bat an eyelid, they might just feel a little upset on your behalf. Dogs truly are amazing animals, and it's often during the hardest times that we realise just how much they mean to us, and how important their presence is. If you are going through a tough time, you might not realise it at first, but your dog can really help you to overcome things and make life a little more bearable.

There's a reason why canines are the chosen ones when it comes to helping us humans. Therapy dogs are proof that they can really make a difference. They can help people with depression and post traumatic stress disorder. It's been shown that there are to owning a dog.

Here's some was which Fido can help you get through hard times and life's many struggles.

They don't judge

Dogs don't answer back to you, they don't have anything to say that might upset you, and they don't judge you. They are just there, as a shoulder to cry on or simply company when you don't want any humans around. Sometimes, we just need time by ourselves with our dogs, to get our head straight, and to let out some emotions. Of course many dogs don't like it when we are upset, because they are so in tune with our emotions, but they just want to help make everything better.

You can share your deepest, darkest secrets with your dog in complete confidence. Sometimes it helps to have Fido to help get things off your chest. It's nice knowing some things are just between you are your dog, and no one else. Dogs can lend an ear, even if they can't verbally respond to you or tell you to do, they somehow still manage to make things seem better.

They can be therapeutic

It has actually been proven that having a dog can help those with depression and anxiety. Simply stroking your pooch releases endorphins and helps to lower your blood pressure, making you feel more relaxed.

A poll of 1, 000 of the UK's seven million dog owners, conducted for dog food makers Winalot, showed 55% felt more relaxed after time with their dog, 44% were more optimistic and another 44% were less worried about life's everyday problems like job security and financial troubles.

So if you are feeling down, or you have had a tough day at work, don't go on social media or watch TV, spend some time with your dog. Play with them, do some training with them or simply cuddle up on the sofa together.

They find ways to comfort you

Have you ever been crying or feeling really low, and your dog comes up to your to show that they get it? Dogs often go up to their sad owners and lend a paw. They will paw you, nuzzle up to you and maybe lick you as if they are saying €˜hey, I'm here, everything will be OK. ' When this happens, now matter how bad you feel, you can't help but feel gratitude towards them and cheer up a little, even if only temporarily.

It's the cutest thing. Plus it shows how loyal, caring and wonderful dogs really are. They don't want to see their pack members sad or upset, so they do the only thing they can do to help, which is give you a bit of much needed affection.

They help you to keep going

When you own a dog, you take on a huge commitment. So, even if you are having personal issues or going through a difficult time, you still need to look after your pooch! It may seem hard to continue your routine, but having a dog helps you to carry on.

You still have to walk your dog every day, and this helps you to get out the house, get some fresh air and get some perspective. Maintaining a routine during difficult times can help you to continue to function and being around your dog certainly helps. Caring for your dog also gives you a sense of purpose, you feel like you are responsible for something and it makes you feel good.

They teach you to live in the moment

Dogs don't dwell on things, as their memory isn't the best. It's well-known that pooches tend to live in the moment. They appear to live every moment to the full. Whether it's a cuddle with their owner, a walk down the park, or fun with their doggy friends. How does this help us during tough times? It shows us that we overthink things and we worry about stuff that doesn't matter. We should take a page from our dog's book and embrace life more, just as they do. Doggies often show us that despite what we might think, life is certainly worth living. It's the little moments that count, and spending lots of time with your canine companion can help you to realise this.

They make you laugh

Sometimes, if you are having the worst day in the world, your dog can help turn things around. Dogs can do all sorts of silly and entertaining things, often when you least expect it. Watching Fido make a fool of himself can be just the medicine you need to feel better. Your dog might pull a funny face, do a hilarious trick or maybe even do something naughty that's actually quite funny. When you live with a dog you just don't know what they might do next to make you chuckle.

Dogs offer us unconditional love, they will do anything for their owners. The reason dogs are called €˜Man's Best Friend' is because we have such a special connection with them. Dogs give us a lot and in return we care for them and give them a wonderful life. There are so many benefits to owning a dog, one of the main ones is that they make their owners very happy. Having a dog can give you a sense of purpose and get you into a good routine.

A Wonderful Companion

Dogs are a huge commitment, and they do take up a lot of time and effort. However, it's definitely worth all the work when you get rewarded with such a special companion. Dogs are great company and will stick by your side through thick and thin.

Boost Your Mood

Research has shown that stroking and playing with a dog can boost your mood. Just having your dog around will cheer you up. As soon as you look at their adorable face you will start to feel better. Owning a dog can really help people with depression.

Stress Relief

Dogs can actually help to relieve stress. The simple act of stroking your dog is calming, it can instantly make you feel better. Having a dog can even lower your blood pressure and people who own dogs are more likely to recover from heart attacks.

More Exercise

If you own a dog then you have to take them out for a walk every day. This means that you get guaranteed exercise each and every day, even if it is just a gentle stroll. This will help to keep you happy and healthy.

Social Interaction

Dog owners tend to talk to strangers more regularly, often stopping on walks to talk to other dog owners. How many times have you stopped and chatted to a complete stranger about your dogs? You definitely get more social interaction if you own a dog. Talking to lots of different people and making new friends will make you a happier person.

Dog Walks Are Relaxing

Stroking and petting your dog is relaxing, but dog walks can also be relaxing to. They get you out of the house and into the fresh air. Walking around a park with your dog can be very therapeutic.

They Make You Laugh

How many times has your dog made you chuckle? Dogs can be so entertaining sometimes and do very random things. Having a dog can add some comedy into your life and you will end up smiling when they do something unpredictable and funny.

What's The Best Time Of Year To Get A Puppy?

Whether you're out enjoying the weekend, or just having some much-needed down time, everything seems more fun with a dog by your side; but when is the best time to introduce a canine ball of happiness into your family? Here are a few pointers on how to figure out the best time to get an adorable new puppy.

Time of Year

When it comes to deciding on whether to bring a puppy into your family there are two major factors: the time of year, and your schedule. You may think that the time of year is a secondary issue, however choosing well can prove integral to the development of your puppy. For example, you may have heard the expression €˜A dog is for life, not just for Christmas' this saying should definitely be considered. Even if you don't decide to buy your fur-ball specifically at Christmas time the end of the year, and the winter months in general, can produce many problems for new pet owners.

December/January are both hectic months filled with visits from friends and family; and the mess that presumably follows family celebrations. Although these people are your loved ones, your new puppy has never met them before and therefore could become overwhelmed or frightened by the sudden influx of strangers. On the other hand, through no fault of your own, you may not be able to show your puppy the attention they need during such a busy time; leading them to feeling neglected. If your puppy is left unsupervised they could then act out or, because there is often a lot of mess at Christmas, they could eat something that they aren't supposed to. That little accessory that your daughter got with her new doll on Christmas day might look quite appetising to a curious new puppy.

During the winter months, there are also a few occasions when fireworks are set off. For a young puppy the loud bangs in a new environment could cause them some distress, so it's important that you are there to comfort them during this time.

Compared to Winter, Summer's warmer temperatures and less bustling schedule can provide a more positive environment for a new puppy. More pleasant weather will not only make you more inclined to spend more time outside bonding with your puppy, but can also make them more responsive to toilet training €“ to be fair, who would want to go out in the pouring rain to use the bathroom?

Your Schedule

Equally as important as the time of year, is your personal schedule. Have you got any holidays booked? It's important to give both you and your puppy quality time to bond, so before committing to bring a puppy into your home, ensure you have at least six weeks before your next trip away so that you can spend time together.

Just like holidays, work schedules are important to consider when it comes to owning a dog. Will your new pet be left at home for long periods of time? If so, can you provide a reliable dog sitter? Remember: dogs are social animals, and your puppy's' entire life will revolve around you, so it's vital that you know you can give them the attention they both need and deserve.

As well as work commitments, you need to ask yourself if you're planning any other big changes in your life that could affect how you would look after a dog. Within the next two years do you plan to have children? Or are you planning a big move? These things can greatly change your dog's way of life and only you can decide if your new pooch will fit into these plans.

If given the right environment, a dog will be a friend for life. But as with anything you get out what you put in and so it's important that, before you rush to bring an adorable fur-ball into your life, you know that you are going to be able to provide them with the right environment to allow them to grow and be happy.

How Not to Choose a Puppy

I had always wanted a dog. Having waited more than 50 years to be in a position to own one, I was determined to choose the perfect pooch. I read every piece of advice that I could find to ensure that I made an informed choice. There appeared to be several serious mistakes that I could make:

  1. Never take on two puppies at the same time, especially when the dogs concerned are siblings. Two puppies mean double trouble when it comes to all that wee, poo and destructive behaviour. To make matters worse, the puppies may end up bonding with each other rather than with you.
  1. Always familiarise yourself with your chosen breed. Spend time with a dog of that breed, if at all possible, to satisfy yourself that you can cope with it and that you are able to meet its needs.
  1. Don't introduce a dog to your home during a period of disruption. Choose a quiet time when you are not moving house, decorating your home, having an extension built or playing host to visitors. It is best to welcome your furry friend into a peaceful environment and at a time when you can devote your days to settling them in.
  1. If you are new to dog ownership, it is a good idea to choose a pet from your local rescue centre. There are always plenty of fabulous dogs looking for forever homes and an adult dog should already be house trained. An adult dog is certainly a better choice if there are many demands on your time.
  1. Prepare properly for new arrival by investing in the Toys, Beds, Crates, feeding bowls and training mats that you need before you collect your new friend.
  1. Don't choose a dog simply because it looks adorable. The dog's character traits are far more important than its appearance and many cute fur balls will require extensive grooming.
  1. White and light-coloured dogs are more difficult to keep clean and presentable. If you lead a busy life, avoid white dogs.

Having taken on board all of this advice, I realised that what I really needed was one adult, house-trained rescue dog with a good nature and a short, dark coat. All I had to do was avoid the temptation to choose any cuties which didn't fit the criteria and I was on the road to successful dog ownership. It wasn't long before I had made my choice: Yes, I know! There are two of them, they are siblings, they are puppies and they are white! Oops! I should also mention that I am about to move house. In my defence, I had been told that the move had fallen through. My solicitor chose to tell me that it was going ahead after all, the day after I collected the dogs.

Unfortunately, all the advice in the world couldn't stop me from falling in love or bringing the dogs home before I had bought everything I needed from ! Happily, Dougal and Bodie are bonding with my partner and I just fine and I have managed to cope with taking care of the little darlings. Double trouble has proved to be double the fun, double the cuddles and double the love €“ at least thus far. Perhaps two goldendoodles were a good idea after all. I will keep you posted.

How To Choose A Puppy With A Good Temperament?

As you already know a puppy is for life and not just for Christmas - so it's essential you know how to choose the right one for you and your family. When you are choosing puppies from a litter, you'll come across all sorts of personalities.

And whilst it's oh so tempting just to scoop up the cutest ball of fluff there is or go with your heart - these are things you should avoid. Why? Because the cutest looking puppy won't necessarily have the best temperament. Whilst like dating, looks can be very appealing, you really need to carefully consider your chosen pup's personality too.

Common Behaviour Problems in Dogs

At Time for Paws, we understand that nobody's perfect, and the same goes for our beloved canine companions. Whether you've already got a dog, or you are considering getting one, it's important that you have a good understanding of the most common dog behaviour problems and the steps you can take in order to solve and prevent them in the future. On top of having a sound understanding of basic obedience training, knowledge of common behaviour issues will give you the upper hand when it comes to controlling them. In this post we are taking a look at the most common behaviours and how you can fix them.


It's not uncommon for dogs to bark, whine and even howl at times, however, excessive barking is considered a behaviour problem. Before you even think about correcting your dogs barking, you need to understand why they are barking so much in the first place. The most common types of barking are:

  • Warning or alert
  • Attention-seeking
  • Boredom
  • In response to other dogs
  • Playfulness and excitement
  • Anxiety

In order to control excessive barking, it is important that you are both patient and consistent as you consider teaching your four-pawed pal bark and quiet commands. It can be a long process but if you persist it can go a long way.


Again, chewing is a natural action for all dogs; it's just part of their behaviour each and every day. However, if you don't nip it in the bud chewing can progress into a serious behaviour problem if your dog causes destruction within your household. Typically, dogs will chew for the following reasons:

  • Puppy teething
  • Anxiety
  • Curiosity; particularly common for puppies
  • Boredom
  • Excess energy

When you catch your pup chewing something they shouldn't be, quickly correct them with a sharp noise. Then, you need to replace the item with a chew toy. You can also provide your dog with a lot of from the offset to avoid the risk of them chewing your shoes or household items. If you find your dog chews things up when you're not home, be sure to take them for a long walk before going out to burn off excess energy and keep them in a confined area in order to limit the amount of damage they can cause.


Begging is a bad habit, one of which is often caused by dog owners or other humans in the household encourage it. Begging can not only be destructive to meal times but also very bad for your dogs' health, sometimes leading to issues with digestion and obesity. We understand that sometimes it might be hard to say no to those puppy eyes, but you need to be mindful that you are often doing more harm than good when you feed your beloved Dog Food from your plate. The €œjust this once€ approach to treating your canine companion can lead to serious begging problems down the line. To manage the problem, you should tell your dog to go to its bed or a confined area, ideally where they cannot see you. If they stop begging, reward with a and lots of love and attention once the entire household has stopped eating. There you have it, 3 of the most common behaviour problems in dogs and the simple steps you can take to prevent them for a calmer household for both dogs and humans alike

Finding the perfect match: the family tree

We are told when we're considering getting married to look at the mother of the bride or groom to be. This isn't some old wives' tale; it is with good reason. You want clues as to how your loved one will age, what their temperament will be like, how sociable and good they are around other people.

. . . It is exactly the same when you go to choose your puppy. Your cute little bundle of joy won't stay like that forever; all playful and lapping up all that puppy love. It will be an adult for longer than it will be a baby and you need to see what good and bad qualities it might get from mum. What size your pup is likely to grow to, how healthy mum is etc. . .

So, you've given mum the once over now it's time to dive into that huge litter of furballs. The size of the litter indicates how healthy the puppies will be, the bigger the better! This doesn't apply to puppy size though, best to avoid going for the largest or smallest puppy.

Desirable qualities in your new puppy

You want to be able to pick up a puppy that after a small amount of squirming will settle in your lap, this will let you know it's used to being handled and isn't going to become a problem. A puppy who is shy, or not used to being handled, can get easily distressed and snap at, and possibly, bite you. It might not feel like much when they're a puppy but imagine that from a fully-grown dog. A shy pup will always be a shy pup, it's in the genes, and could lead to disappointment if you have children in your family.

What you will be looking for isn't necessarily an eager beaver (puppy, even) who jumps all over you and chases its tail around and around in circles, this one could go on to be far too needy. You will be spending many, many, joyous years with your dog. . . approach it in the same way you would when choosing a life partner. You don't want one that is too needy, or overconfident or too submissive; you also don't want a bossy boots either. You want the pup to be confident enough to approach you and to be curious, sniffing around your shoes and playing with your laces. But who will then snuggle in for some loving.

It is essential to visit your chosen puppy on a few occasions before heading home with it. You want a pup with a consistent temperament, you will be able to judge that by visiting on more than one occasion. If your puppy is pleased to see you, gets excited and then is happy to be picked up and played with you know it's happy and healthy. If the pup is different on each visit, then you should be cautious about its temperament.

It might seem obvious, but if the puppy growls or bites this would not be a favourable temperament, this is not something it will grow out of. You want a balance of the pup being interested in you, but also easily distracted by fun with its littermates.

A pup's behaviour with their canine siblings

The best way to get a really good overview of how your puppy will behave is to watch them with their littermates. Look at how they interact. Like your children they should all play nicely, not be dominant, not be the outsider, and not steal each other's toys.

Things to check before buying your pup

One of the most important things is to do your homework before you even get to the €˜choosing your puppy' stage. Always buy from a reputable breeder. Here are a few basic tips to keep in mind and things to watch out for:

  • Find out how old mum is and how many litters she's already had. You want to avoid the first litter, mum should be over one year of age and be on her third, then you have some medical history to go on.
  • Have long chats with the breeder, it should be just as important, if not more important, that they are as interested in you as you are in them.
  • If the breeder won't or says they can't show you mum alarm bells should be ringing, make your excuses and get out of there. A reputable breeder would not do this, they know the drill, mum is key when it comes to making your decision.
  • You should be viewing your puppy in its breeding environment, which should be a nice, warm, cosy, friendly, inviting household. You shouldn't be seeing them in cages, or individually. They won't be living in isolation, in a cage in your home will they. BEWARE of puppy farms.
  • Remember, puppies should be at least 8 weeks old before they leave their mum, some breeders will even leave it until they are 12 weeks old.
  • They should be fully weaned, if not they could be younger than you have been told they are.
  • They should have clean eyes - with a bit of sparkly mischief in them - ears and bottom. And they should certainly not be sensitive to the touch in those areas.

Your puppy will grow into a full-sized dog. You get to choose the kind of personality you and your family want to share your lives with. So, choose wisely and you will all have a happy life together. Your dog is your family, and family is for life.

Puppys: Looking After your Pup in Those First Few Months

It's a well known fact that keeping a pet such as a dog can help improve our lives, our health and can even sustain the health of our minds during old age; Plus, keeping a dog has even been prov

en to prolong the need of care homes. That's why it is imperative that we look after our faithful pets throughout their long and happy lives. Whether your hound is in the spring of his youth or finds himself within the sunny years of old age, it is important to get just the right dog food for him or her.

Three to four weeks of age

If for example, your young pup is around three to four weeks of age, it is time to start feeding solid dog food to your pet, though it is best at first to mix it with water or puppy replacement milk so that it is easier for your pup to digest. Not only this but the food should also cater for his age group that provides all the required nutrients, vitamins and protein.

As puppies are naturally carnivorous, it is important that they are given meats to supplement this need. Foods with well sourced, natural chicken are vitally important to your young dog as the protein levels within the food provide strong tissue, organ and muscle development which is imperative for any growing animal. Of course, every owner wants a spritely, intelligent and responsive dog; that is why the addition of vitamin E is vitally important for your dog to develop his brain and develop his natural mental ability. If you want your dog to help around the house or on the farm during his adult years, a strong supply of vitamin E throughout his youth is imperative for mental growth.

Six to eight weeks

Whilst your dog is between the ages of six to eight weeks it is important to make sure that your friend is fed around three to four times a day until around the ninth week when you can start feeding him to the average twice a day feed. If you start your dog off with dry food and he does not take to it straight away, instead of changing brands it might

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