Illinois' Top Dog Training Academy

Tips For First Time Dog Owners

Being a first time dog owner can be quite intimidating when it comes to all of the questions on collars, leashes, toys, treats, training etc. Here are some tips from the staff at Seek that can hopefully answer a lot of common questions that first time dog owners have.

Beds and Crates

Crates are essential for the first few months with your new dog. These provide a safe place your dog can go when you are away and can’t watch them to prevent bad behaviors or safety issues. The crate should be big enough for them to stand and turn around comfortably. Crates are also a great foundation for potty training, preventing separation anxiety, and other bad habits your dog may engage in overnight.

Beds are something your dog can choose to lay or rest on and can be placed either in the crate or another spot in the house. You can also have several beds for your dog to lay on especially if you don’t want to allow them on furniture. There are many different types of beds and sometimes you have to try a few to find which one your dog prefers. A great option that we recommend at Seek and use for training as well is a Kuranda bed. These have a smooth vinyl material making it great for dogs that get hot easily and prefer to lay on a smooth surface. They are also very easy to clean so they are great to place by a door when coming in from muddy or snowy weather.

Kuranda bed -

Training Treats

In order to teach or train anything, you must use some type of physical reward with your dog and one of the most common is food or treats. It’s best to give small amounts of a food or treat repeatedly rather than give giant rewards less often. For example I would want to give my dog ¼ of a treat for each correct response rather than two giant treats for each correct response. Try to be conscious of your dogs health and use their food or kibble as often as you can and avoid giving too many unhealthy treats. Freeze dried food is a great training option since it is not a treat but usually more desirable than a dry kibble and easy to portion.

Freeze dried food -

Collars and Leashes

Whenever you go out and about with your dog, it’s very important to have them on leash for safety. We recommend a 6ft leash that is leather for good grip. Retractable leashes are not great for control or limiting the area your dog can get to so they are not usually recommended. A standard flat collar is a great option just make sure you teach your dog how to walk with one! Also ensure that the collar is snug and your dog cannot back out of the collar (collar can slip over the ears). 


Make sure you have a variety of toys for your dog so you can figure out which ones he likes best. Toys are very important for physical and mental stimulation to ensure a healthy and happy dog. Things like tugs, balls, and squeak toys are great options to engage your dog. Also chew toys like nylabones are good for when you are not around to ensure your household items do not become a substitute.

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