Being a good, responsible dog parent take a lot more than just "being a dog person". It's a large undertaking and takes a lot of commitment. If you aren't prepared, it's better not to own a dog.
*Dog ownership is FOR THE LIFE OF THE DOG! I can't stress this enough. You will need to provide healthcare throughout the life of your dog, and at times it can be very costly. If you're not willing to spend the money or provide adequate care, a dog is not for you. This goes for training as well. A misbehaved dog takes work, whether you hire a trainer or do it yourself. Dogs should never be tossed away due to your lack of providing training. Also consider what your life will look like for the next 15 or so years. Babies, new homes, and your own health must be carefully thought about before bringing a dog home.
*Do your research as to what breed or breed mix would best fit your lifestyle. Highly active dogs will not be best suited with a more sedentary family or person and vice versa.
*Be prepared to ALWAYS...and I mean ALWAYS clean up after your dog. It is never OK to leave their business behind.
*Follow your town/city animal laws. Many places have leash, licensing and noise laws. Review them all and be prepared to follow them.
*If you're not a responsible and ethical functioning breeder, seriously consider spaying and neutering your dog. If, for health reasons, fixing your dog is not an option, be sure to keep him from accidentally breeding with another. Overpopulation and poor health is rampant in dogs today.
*If you're not rescuing a dog, find an ethical breeder.
*Dogs aren't holiday gifts. Plan to bring your new puppy or dog home during a time when you can provide as much individual attention as possible.
*Provide the highest quality food your wallet will allow.
*Dog proof your home. Until you're sure (and you may never be with some dogs) that your dog won't get into things that could harm him, it's your responsibility to pick things up out of his reach.
*Provide proper exercise daily.
*Grooming must be provided. Depending on the type of dog you choose, grooming can be a large undertaking or a small one.
*ID tag your dog with either an actual tag or a microchip.
*If you dog cannot live inside with you, perhaps a dog is not for you. Dogs need proper shelter from heat and cold, and the best place is inside your home with you as part of the family.
*LOVE, pet, play, talk, walk, run and enjoy each other.