Dog advice you wish you knew before

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  • Aug 18th, 2020 1:27 pm
User avatar
Oct 7, 2007
353 posts

Dog advice you wish you knew before

Hi everyone,
Soon to be dog owner here - first time! If you have any advice/hacks you wished someone told you before owning a dog, what would it be?
Also, if you have any advice on what to look for in a veterinarian, please share!

TIA Smiling Face With Open Mouth

Edit: left the orig post vague so other soon to be fur-rents may find some useful advice too. My dog is an international rescue. I do not have her yet because of covid restrictions so it can take up to a year till I get to see her =(
She’s currently 6 months - Canaan mix. Expecting that she will have no potty or crate training as they let her roam around the yard during the day. Foodwise they said she’s currently fed a mixed of “dry food and fresh food” whatever that means so I’m kind of a little worried as to what to feed her when she comes over. The goal though is to slowly transition her to a fresh food/raw diet if she likes it.
Last edited by enjae on Jul 9th, 2020 3:11 am, edited 3 times in total.
10 replies
Deal Addict
Aug 1, 2006
2362 posts
Congratulations ! Assuming it's a puppy? Which breed- my food advice will differ if it's a highly allergic breed.

Don't pick up puppy till it's at least 8 weeks and preferably 10-12 weeks old so it's properly trained by mom and siblings.

Food- use a high quality dog food, there are some good Canadian ones not well known like Open Farm, Canisource, Carna4 as well as well known ones like Acana and Go.

Crate train- better to , since dog may chew wires while you are out

Vaccination- I believe in the holistic one from Dr. Karen Becker to minimize cancer and autoimmune disease
" first vaccination of core vaccine at 9 to 10 weeks,second round between 15 and 16 weeks. Two weeks after the second round, I titer to insure the dog has been immunized and not just vaccinated. When it comes to rabies, I prefer to give the first vaccine at six months, and then as required by law, a booster using 3 yr vaccine one year later and every three years thereafter."

Neutering- if it's a large dog don't neuter too early as they will be more likely to develop hip dysplasia, sweet spot about 1 yr for males and after first heat for females.
Deal Addict
Oct 3, 2013
2563 posts
- You need to be consistent, and persistent with training to reinforce desired behaviours early. Clicker training really does work. The older the dog gets, the harder it is to break habits. Either plan to take your dog to puppy school, and search up how to crate train your dog. Don't make the mistake I did and assume I could do it blindly.

- Separation anxiety is a real pain. Read up on how our behaviours can lead to it (i.e. don't act too excited when you come home to see your pup).

- Prepare to get sleep interrupted for the next year.

- Invest in a baby gate if there's an area in the home you wish to cordone the dog off when you're out of the house.

- Have enough space to hide all your shoes... and a place perhaps to hide your favourite pillows & cushions that you don't want chewed up.
Jul 19, 2019
65 posts
Something I wish I had known:
-playful jumping and running during puppy months can have a negative impact on bone development.
-heart worm infection prevalence is very low, and annual testing is not required by law, but i was pushed by my vet to do these yearly tests and also that awful photo of a heart filled with heart worms did it for me.
Also congrats on getting a dog! If you work from home, this is a great time to bring home a dog :).
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jul 4, 2009
1613 posts
Windsor, ON area
Congrats on your first dog!

Things I wish I would have known:
- Always supervise your dog when she's chewing her chew toy. She can easily choke on it when the piece she's chewing gets too small.
- Research your pet food. Grain Free dog food may be contributing to dogs getting dilated cardiomyopathy. I personally don't think grain-free is a bad thing necessarily, I believe the problem arises when pet foods try to compensate the grains by using other protein sources that dogs have not adjusted to eating ie peas and legumes. So if going grain-free, make sure that peas and legumes are lower on the list of ingredients.
Deal Addict
Jul 16, 2019
1556 posts
For a vet, talk to local dog owners for recommendations. Ideally you want a vet that is well recommended and does not give the dog every possible medicine/procedure. Also talk to pet owners as to where they take their dog for grooming.
The older the dog, better behaved it will be and also easier to potty train. Should be at least 8 weeks old and 10-12 weeks is better.
Read up on dog training and enroll in puppy school. You can only go to puppy school once the dog has had their shots. Training is a must regardless of breed - both for the owner and pup.
You may chose to take pet insurance though it is expensive. Some people open up a seperate account and deposit the money there - if you need it for the pet , you have it. If you do not, then its yours rather than go to the insurance company. Decent pet insurance will be $70-120/month depending on the breed.
Your breeder should give you a list of things to get for the dog. Crate is a must. An area/room fenced off with a gate or portable kid style fence would help a lot.
If you have not done so, check the breeds characteristics with the Canadian kennel club. It will give you an idea on the temperament, exercise required, etc. thought each animal has their own traits.
For pet food, you will have to stay with what the breeder is giving at least in the beginning. Any transition to a new brand will have to be slow by mixing the old brand with the new. Some people/breeders swear by raw food. This is when the dog is at least a few months old.
Get puppy toys and lots of them to play with the pup - otherwise your stuff will become the dogs toys.
Get bitter apple spray from the pet store - spray on things that you do not want the dog to chew on - baseboards, chairs, etc. You will do this after you see what the pup chews on.
Get cleaning fluid from the pet store for the indoor 'accidents'.
Having a dog is a lot of work but a ton of fun. Enjoy.
Jan 4, 2010
52 posts
Congratulations! Lots of good advice already, but I just want to say that raw food can be dangerous (and messy) so you'll need to be extra vigilant with washing the bowls constantly and not allowing your dog to lick kiss you or surfaces for a period after they've eaten. You could get seriously ill and risk goes up with young kids or older seniors. I stick to the bigger brands that actually publish their nutritional testing results, and stay away from brands that use a lot of organic or homeopathic buzz words. I feed Hill's Science diet after reading their published and peer-reviewed data. Dog's needs are different from ours.
Deal Fanatic
Dec 31, 2007
5056 posts
Richmond Hill
Spend more time with them. We start taking them for granted, the honeymoon phase passes, and we think that there will be time later. And then before you know it, they are gone.
"Buy now, think later. This is the way."
Deal Addict
Apr 25, 2011
1439 posts
British Columbia
Dogs need consistant leadership. For instance don't ask them to jump up on you one minute and then not to when its inconvenient for you. They don't know the difference, and they won't know the difference when they knock over an elderly person either. Consistency is key with everyone in the household.

I hope you have done a lot of reading on this breed, such as here.

Do not brush off the "Bad About 'Em"! You need to be able have a plan in place to deal with all of these issues or learn to live with them! These traits cannot often be trained away. Are you prepared for a dog that is stubborn and barks at the drop of a pin? It isn't the most appealing trait to me. This breed is far different from the gentle Golden Retriever of your avatar. A suspicious dog is more likely to bite in fear aggression. Do you want a dog like this? A high prey drive dog is more likely to attack small animals, even large dogs and people. Do you want a dog like this? A high energy dog needs daily runs, lots of routine and mental stimulation. Do you want a dog like this? And even more importantly, if this dog cannot be trusted off leash due to stubbornness or unpredictability around other animals, how do you plan to give your dog an outlet daily for its extensive exercise requirements? Will you be biking/jogging in the rain and snow?

It does not sound like a first time dog for anyone.

This is the biggest mistake people make, not knowing what they're getting into. I see it all the time, people getting dogs like Shiba Inu or Husky just because they're cool looking without the thought behind what it takes to care for these dogs and their temperaments.

I wish you the best of luck, but this sounds like a bad set up all around, from the sounds of it the dog will lack socialization, house breaking and obedience training at an early age and could in the wrong hands -- or even the best of hands! -- be a disaster.
Jr. Member
Apr 25, 2020
196 posts
This thread definitely has a lot of tips for newbie dog owners. Me too, I just had my first dog. It's been like a roller coaster rider ride with him so far. Sometimes he's overly active, sometimes he's not. My tips would be: Give them attention. Play with them. Give them time :) especially when they're still pups. Show them some love and they'll love you back.
Mar 11, 2017
70 posts
Don't give up, We got a Doberman and attended a lto of classes, he seemd to be getting everything and then sort of just relapsed... Train through it.. he is just about 2 now and it is really starting to shine through, all the hard work I put in.


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