Trainer reveals the biggest mistake first-time dog owners make and how to avoid it

Woman cuddling her puppy outside
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Disclaimer: Unless specifically stated, any expert comments quoted in this news piece have been taken directly from the video cited below.

Thinking of welcoming a rescue dog into your family or looking at bringing home a puppy for the first time

Deciding to become a pet parent to a canine companion can be a really exciting time, but when it comes to choosing the right dog, there's a lot to consider.

According to expert trainer Amelia Steele, there's one common mistake she sees people make time and time again when they're getting a dog.

Curious as to what it is? Read on to find out...

"A common mistake I see people make when they're getting a dog is they choose a dog for the lifestyle they want rather than the lifestyle they have," explains Steele who goes on to say that selecting a dog on this basis is a really bad idea.

"I can't tell you how many times I've heard someone say 'I'm going to get a dog because it's going to get me out and about and I'll become active and I'll get out and do loads of walking', and yes, to start with, that is true. However, it's so easy to fall back into old habits."

Steele says she always recommends that people choose a dog based on the lifestyle they currently have.

"Be really, really realistic with yourself and if you're definitely sure that you want a dog to improve your lifestyle or change your lifestyle, try living that life first and then get a dog when you've proven to yourself that you can commit to it.

"Otherwise, you just fall back into old habits, your dog gets frustrated, their needs go unmet, and then you'll end up with a whole host of behavioral problems and you'll end up wondering why you got that breed in the first place."

If you're thinking of getting a dog but are unsure which breed would be the best fit for your lifestyle, we recommend speaking with a qualified trainer who will be able to offer you advice and guidance. 

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.