Exercise, Discipline and Love -- What to Consider When Getting Your First Puppy

The loving part of having a dog is easy when their furry face and puppy eyes look at you, how the tail wiggles and their whole body shakes and how they burst out of excitement when they see you. You hear yourself rising your voice to a baby talk level and give gladly your new companion a good scratch behind the ear and under the tummy.  You should remember, however, that puppies are like babies and they require a lot of attention and your time, so make sure you have that time to give. Dogs are living things that have feelings like joy, anger, fear, jealousy, hunger, thirst -- the same range of emotion you as a human would have. As a new dog owner and eternal dog lover, I will list some points what a new dog owner should take into consideration when welcoming a new family member and how to create precious moments that bond you together for life.

What to prepare for:

  • Have an own place for the dog
  • Medical expenses and insurance if something happens to the dog or it does something to someone, causes an accident etc.
  • Food (special dietary food, puppy food)
  • Puppy teeth will fall (don´t get scared)
  • Male dogs mark more than females, but happy pees happen to everybody so just take it as a compliment and take your happy friend for a long walk.
  • Keep the dog active with toys, games and teaching tricks (not to open your mail)


Good to know:

  • Respect the dog's space and own place, especially when they sleep and eat. There is even a Finnish saying: Do not disturb a sleeping dog
  • Maintain regular feeding times, as when the puppy grows you will have more regular amount of food than puppies have
  • Schedule taking the puppy outside in certain times so they will learn when it is time to go. If extra times are needed, they will let you know with rapid pasting and looking at the door when to go out again
  • Socialize with other dogs in dog parks and during walks


With puppies, it is the most important thing to set boundaries as you would for a toddler. Dogs will learn by conditioning different tricks and tasks you want to teach. This was discovered in the 1890s by Ivan Pavlov, who "demonstrated how a neutral stimulus could become meaningful to a dog when followed by something that elicits a natural response" (Smart Animal Training, 2014). For example, with my new puppy, I found that the fastest and most effective way to train the dog not to pee inside is by giving them a treat every time they peed outside, and if an accident happens inside you should change your voice to a lower level, which the dog will register as more dominant, and show them the spot where they made their toilet and then take them outside straight away. Just in a little over week my dog became house trained and there have not been any accidents since.

Dogs are natural hunters, some breeds more than others, so there are times when you must teach the dog to let go of stuff they've caught and are protectively holding in their mouth, and also not be territorial about the subject in their mouth. Biting certain things even if it is play should be forbidden, so make sure the puppy learns that early on. I learned that the hardest thing to teach to an energetic puppy is for them to stay on your side, not to pull and come when called and not be too distracted by the interesting environment, so there is still lot of learning to be done. I still remember the Dog Whisperer Caesar Milan's words that I think sum up raising a puppy well: “Every dog needs exercise first, then discipline, and love and affection last”.