Top 15 Dog Tips: How to Be a Responsible Pet Owner

Key takeaways

Sometimes, it can be difficult to know how to provide the best care for your dog. Even the best owners need some pointers every now and then!

We explore the 3 top dog care tips for every element of owning a dog.

This includes training, health, stimulation, and grooming. We offer our expert insight on how to be the best owner so your dog can live a long and happy life.

Quick Navigation

  1. Key takeaways
  2. Dog training tips
  3. Dog health tips
  4. Dog stimulation tips
  5. Dog socialisation tips
  6. Dog grooming tips
  7. FAQs
  8. Conclusion

Dog training tips

Training a dog can be a stressful, arduous, and frustrating process. It takes a lot of patience to be successful, but it's definitely worth it when you are!
To make your life easier, follow our 3 top dog training tips. It'll help focus your efforts and increase the efficiency of your training.

1. Research your breed

Every breed has different personalities, prey drives, and obedience. Techniques that can work wonders for a Labrador may not have the same effect on a husky.
So, instead of wasting your and your pup's time using training tips that just won't work, do your research. Not only will you benefit from this, but your dog will respond positively and more naturally to techniques designed for them.
It'll also inform what kind of training you should prioritize. For example, if your dog breed is prone to a high prey drive and will run for miles if they see a squirrel, you'll want to focus your attention on recall training to prevent losing them.
A husky stood in the woods

2. Invest in a training program

Often, as pet owners, we won't have the time to fully commit to the training that our dog needs to lead a high-quality life.
However, it's important we don't just give up and accept that we have a badly behaved dog. This not only has ramifications for you but also for your neighbors, family, friends, and other dog owners in the area.
Being a responsible pet owner means knowing when you need to get professional help. Not doing it yourself doesn't make you a bad pet parent. There are plenty of great programs, services, and individuals out there who can transform the behavior of an untrained pup.
A German shepherd running away from its owners

3. Reward good behavior, avoid punishments

Although you may become frustrated or angry at your dog when they don't follow your commands or instructions, it's important to avoid punishing behavior.
In the long run, this will make your dog fearful, anxious, and possibly even resentful or angry at you and your family. This can lead to even worse behavior in the future.
Instead, positively reinforce good behavior. When they follow a command, use:


A happy and calm tone of voice

Extra cuddles

Dog treats

Expert Suggestion: Why not get some special training treats so your pup knows when it's time to focus?
A dog owner cuddling their dog

Dog health tips

It's easy to overthink our dog's health. We can second guess everything we notice, from more hair loss to some less-than-pleasant farts.
It's good to be observant and act proactively, but it can also be exhausting when you don't know what to prioritize or take seriously.

4. Invest in pet insurance

Dogs can be expensive. As pet parents, we can never foresee just how expensive they may be. Certain health problems that require daily medication can rack up hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars' worth of bills.
The worst imaginable scenario is that you will no longer be able to care for them and may have to give them away.
To avoid this ever being a possibility, invest in good pet insurance. This will give you a safety net in case your dog is involved in an accident or develops a health issue. You can rest assured knowing that you will always be able to care for your dog's health.
Expert Insight: There are many pet insurance plans out there. Make sure you get the right one for you by doing plenty of research and comparing the benefits and costs.
A dog getting a checkup

5. Pay attention to nutrients

Because many dogs will eat anything given to them, we may find ourselves not really paying attention to their diet. If a dog food packet says it has everything your pup needs, then it probably does, right? Wrong!
Marketing in pet food covers up a lot of missing nutrients and poor-quality ingredients. On top of this, each animal is different and may need a different set of nutrients to keep them healthy. For example, your older furry friend will need food high in omega 3, whereas a younger pup will need a lot of calcium and protein.
To tailor your dog's diet to suit them best, ask your vet what they need. If you're unsure whether they are lacking nutrients, look out for the following tell-tale signs:

Lack of energy

Dull coat or hair loss

Bad teeth and breath

Diahrea and flatulence

A dog eating food

6. Always get them checked

Going to the vet is not everyone's favorite activity. If your dog gets scared or stressed, it can be difficult to justify a visit. Or, if you're a bit strapped for cash one month, it can be easy to put it off.
However, the best thing you can do for your dog's health is always to get them checked. There is a lot of misinformation on the internet, so simply googling whether your dog is okay or not won't suffice.
If you notice any strange or out-of-the-ordinary symptoms, get professional advice as soon as possible.
A dog being treated by a vet

Dog stimulation tips

It's common knowledge that our pups need a lot of attention. However, it's less known that the attention they get needs to be high quality and stimulating.
Dogs are incredibly intelligent, which means they can become bored. Boredom can lead to naughty behavior, anxiety and depression, and sometimes even cause them to run away.

7. Change up your walks

You may think taking your dog for a couple of walks a day is more than enough to keep them entertained and sufficiently stimulated.
However, because our pups are neophilic, meaning they are attracted to new scents and smells, they need a diverse range of new and old routes to build up their collection of scents.
Taking them to a dog park is a great option to keep your dog entertained and excited. They offer a safe space for your pup to run wild and meet their next canine companion.
A dog chasing a butterfly on a walk

8. Don't leave them alone

Dogs are sociable creatures that don't cope well with being left alone. If they are solo for too long, it can lead to:

Behavior issues

Anxiety disorders

If you have commitments that require you to leave the house for hours at a time, it's important you organize company for your pup. Whether that's a dog walker, a neighbor, a doggy daycare, or a service like Borrow My Doggy.
A dog alone on a bed

9. Puzzle feeder toys

Nothing motivates a dog more than food. This is why puzzle feeder toys can keep your pup entertained for hours.
Not only will this offer your dog some entertainment and stimulation, but it will also give you an hour or two of peace. As your dog practices this more and more, you can increase the difficulty of the puzzles to see just how smart they are.

Dog socialisation tips

If you want to have a stress-free life as a pet owner, socializing your dog is essential. Being able to let your pup off the leash, enjoy making friends, take them with you on your adventures, and visit family and friends is a privilege.
However, this is only possible if you put the time and effort into introducing your pup to different experiences and people. Use the following tips to make sure your pup is friendly and safe.

10. Join puppy classes

Puppy classes may sound like a gimmick, but they can actually be extremely valuable when socializing your young dog. They can:

Make it a lot easier for dogs to pick up specific training cues as they watch other dogs follow them

Get the mental stimulation and entertainment they need in a controlled environment

Learn to control their excitement

Professionals run these classes and can give you advice and direction after observing your dog's behavior.
A puppy on their own in the woods

11. Introduce them to a range of different people and animals

A well-socialized dog is one that can face the majority of situations in a calm and controlled way. To achieve this, they need to experience different scenarios with a positive outcome.
For puppies, every experience is a new one. Make sure you start slow and build up more 'difficult' situations. For example, when you are first introducing your puppy to new people, choose one or two calm friends and invite them into your home.
After this, you can begin to add new visitors, visit other people's houses, and even introduce them to other pets. To ensure it goes well, keep your dog under control. Use a leash, treats, and positive reinforcement for 'good' behavior.
Your puppy will start to feel confident and comfortable in many different environments and with many different people, making them less reactive in unexpected situations that may be out of your control.
Dog surrounded by people in a lounge

12. Introduce them to children

Similar to our previous tip, one of the most important elements of socializing your dog is to make sure they are gentle, friendly, and safe around children.
If your pup is reactive or unpredictable around kids, walks and everyday life can be made very stressful. It is unlikely you'll ever be able to let your dog off the leash, and visiting friends and family may be made impossible.
From a young age, you should introduce children to your dog. Make sure you control your dog's excitement and stop them from jumping up. As always, reinforce positive behavior with treats and affirmations.
A child playing with a puppy

Dog grooming tips

No one likes a smelly dog. But grooming is more than that. It's caring for your pup's wellbeing. A well-groomed dog is a happy one, so don't become complacent!

13. Care for your dog's paws

We can often forget that our pup's paws need some attention. Endless walks through woods, cities, and parks mean their feet get a good beating every day. This can lead to:

Small cuts or scrapes

Items becoming lodged in between toes

Dry pads

If any of these aren't treated, over time, infection or soreness can develop, often leading to more serious or painful problems. To prevent this from happening, use the following tips:

Clean them after a muddy walk

Keep their nails trimmed

Check them over regularly

Don't walk them on hot surfaces

Moisturize their paw pads

A dog owner grooming their dog

14. Keep grooming consistent

Grooming is only effective if it's consistent. If it's a once-a-year treat, their hair will be too matted, their teeth too dirty, and their paws too sore for anything to work.
For your pup's teeth, try:

Regularly brushing them: Seek advice from your vet first,as different breeds have different jaws and prefer different cleaning techniques.

Try dental chews: This can be a great way to strengthen the teeth and reduce the amount of plaque buildup.

Feed them a mix of food: Using wet and dry food can have a cleaning effect on your dog's teeth, so be sure you're not just sticking to one or the other.

For their coat, try:

Brushing them daily or weekly: Depending on your dog's breed and length of coat, you may need to brush them daily. This sounds like a lot, but it will get rid of any loose hair that can become uncomfortable or dirty in hot weather.

Providing the right exercise routine: Stress, boredom, or health issues can lead to a dull or over-shedding coat. The best way to prevent this is to exercise. This will help your dog lead a healthy life at a healthy weight and will provide mental stimulation. All key ingredients for a healthy coat!

A happy dog with their owner after being groomed

15. Baths are important!

Bathing your dog is an important step for their overall health. Obviously, it's essential to keep them clean, but there are other benefits you may not have considered.

Can help regulate their temperature: Using cool, but not cold, water can help them during the summer and prevent heat stroke.

Can help tick control: Regularly washing your dog will make you more likely to find any nasty bugs, like ticks, before they pose a threat.

Reduces seasonal allergies: Keeping their coat clean can significantly minimize and prevent allergies that you or your family may experience when your dog is shedding.

Top Tip: Regularly change your dog's bedding to keep them as clean as possible and reduce the need for too many baths!


How do beginners take care of their dogs?

Many beginners choose to take their dogs to puppy classes to learn how to socialize and care for their furry friends. Aside from this, getting them set up at a veterinary practice and investing in good insurance is a good way to start.

How do I take care of my dog properly?

To take care of your dog properly, you need to consider their mental wellbeing as well as their physical. Stimulation, attention, and love are just as important as a nutritious diet and good exercise.

What are the basic needs of a dog?

The 5 basic needs of a dog are nutritious food, water, attention, stimulation, and exercise. If you make sure your dog is getting these 5 main things, along with a big dose of love, they should be happy and healthy.

How do you train a dog to behave?

To train a dog to behave, you need to use positive reinforcement for good behavior instead of punishment for bad behavior.

What are the 7 most important dog commands?

The 7 most important dog commands include: Stay, leave, heel, sit, down, stop, no.

How do you raise a well-behaved dog?

To raise a well-behaved dog, you must socialize them from a young age, start training them basic commands like sit, stay, and heel, and treat them well.

How many walks a day does a dog need?

How many walks a day a dog needs depends on their breed. For example, a husky or a German shepherd will need at least 2 hours of exercise a day, whereas a smaller breed like a Yorkshire terrier would be satisfied with one 20-minute walk.


We hope these dog care tips are helpful when looking after your four-legged friends. Your pet's health should be a priority, and to keep your dog safe, healthy, and happy, you must ensure you are doing the best you can. Both you and your dog will benefit from it in the long run!
Regular exercise, care, and a few scraps of human food every now and then are all your dog needs to thrive. As dog owners, we know how important it is to keep your dog as happy as can be. After all, a happy dog means a happy owner!

Written by

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Lauren Jeffries

In this blog, I combine my two areas of expertise: pets and writing. I share my personal experiences alongside plenty of animal behavior research to help owners look after their pets. I have always lived with furry friends and am now a loving cat mum to two orange kitties.

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