In the framework of early prevention of problems in the owner-dog relationship, it is important to have a broad perspective on the development of this relation over time, starting even before people actually acquire the dog. People who currently (or previously) own(ed) a dog can rely on their experiences when considering a new dog while this knowledge is unavailable to first time dog-owners. In this study we explored how self-efficacy and perceptions on the benefits and costs (the social cognitive factors), and canine problem behaviors, perceived costs and satisfaction with the dog, changed over time from the motivational phase of relationship development (before acquiring the dog) to the experience phase (six and twelve month after acquiring a dog) in experienced (previous (n=75) and current (n=86)) versus unexperienced (first time (n=32) dog owners: Respondents filled in online questionnaires before and twice after acquisition of their dog. From T0 (before acquiring a dog) to T1 (having a dog for six months) especially participants with no experience had to adjust their beliefs about having a dog. Experiencing the relationship for an additional year (from T1 to T2) hardly changed much in the social cognitive factors and small (non-significant) changes occurred in canine problem behaviors, perceived costs, and satisfaction with the dog. To conclude, perceptions of dog ownership change over time, but after calibrating these perceptions with reality, perceptions become stable.