From the start screen you have the option to start a new game or continue playing a previous game selected from one of four save slots. When starting a new game, you will learn the back-story on your character, including who your family and friends are and where you live. You will also be introduced to the style of the game, in which cutscenes are used to advance the plot. The game begins with a pirate dog bringing a letter addressed to you to your town of Puroro.
Choosing your character
Instead of setting character options through pre-game menus, The Dog Island incorporates the selection into the story at the beginning of the game. The pirate dog El Dorado will bring a letter for you into Puroro Town, and when the mail delivery dog can't make out the addressee, he goes to the Weimaraner Donatello for help. At this point you will choose the breed, gender, coloring and name of your character. You will also be prompted to set the gender of your sibling. If you choose to have a sister, her name will be Maria, and your brother will be named Emilio. Whatever name you choose for yourself will be used by the other dogs throughout the game. Use the to cycle through options and letters and the button to select.
Saving your game
To save your game, you need to talk to Mr. Postman, or if he isn't there, go up to a Mailbox and press and then press again when the option "Search" comes up. However, at some points in the game (such as before you have met Mr. Postman, before you have completed the Haunted House mission, or after you arrive in Pupsville after completing the game), you will not be able to save.
To save, select a save slot out of the four available, and press . You will be asked if you wish to save in that save file or, if there is a game saved there already, if you wish to save over it. Select yes, and then the game will save.