It takes much more than adoring your dog to be a responsible dog owner. Owning a dog is a very serious commitment that involves several vital duties. It is crucial that you pledge to be a responsible pet owner before adopting a dog for you and your pup’s sake. In addition to meeting your dog’s basic needs, the following are some of the most critical rules of conscientious dog ownership.
Committing for the Long Haul
It's not just like getting a new car when you get a dog. Dogs can't be traded in if they act up. Getting a dog is almost comparable to having a new baby. You are 100% responsible for them for the next 15+ years and if anything happens to your dog, it is your duty to help them. It is very unfair and cruel to a dog if you decide one year in that you don’t want him or her anymore. Therefore, you must commit to being in it for the long haul from the start.
Making Time for Your Dog
The bonding process cannot be completed in one go. You build a bond with your dog during the first few weeks or months of ownership. Developing and strengthening this bond with your dog is a lifelong process. Similar to any relationship, there needs to be continuous interaction between both beings to keep a healthy bond. Therefore, you must ensure you have quality bonding time with your dog frequently.
Providing Proper Identification
At all times, your dog should wear a collar with identification that includes their name and your contact information, such as their address and/or phone number. It is also very important that you register your dog with your local council and attach the registration tag they provide to their collar. Having proper identification on your dog can help you to easily be reunited with your dog if they become lost rather than seeing them end up at the pound. In many states, the law requires your dog to be micro-chipped as well, but it is recommended that you do this regardless of the law as if your dog escapes without their collar on or their identification tag falls off, a microchip might be the one thing that can reunite you.
Getting Your Dog Spayed or Neutered
The overpopulation of pets results in millions of euthanasias every year. If you do not spay or neuter your dog, you may be contributing to this problem. If you don't plan on breeding your dog, having them spayed or neutered can also reduce their risk of developing bad behaviors or even cancer. If your dog is suitable for breeding, you must take on the role of a responsible breeder and take the appropriate path to become a registered breeder. It is very dangerous for dogs with health problems and/or unknown genetic histories to breed.
Keeping Your Dog Healthy
As with yourself, it is very important to maintain your dog's health. Always provide plenty of fresh water to your dog, as well as appropriate food and portion sizes. Your dog should have a place of comfort and shelter and be exercised regularly in order to satisfy their physical and mental well-being. It can sometimes be very difficult to tell if your dog is sick or in pain because they are not able to communicate this with you. Therefore, it is essential that you schedule regular visits to your veterinarian. This is because they will be able to help you prevent your dog from developing health problems and detect minor issues before they become too severe.
Training Your Dog
The benefits of canine etiquette extend beyond you and your dog. Dogs that are well-behaved and properly socialized are less likely to upset or annoy other pets or people. It makes life a lot easier for you and your dog if you are able to simply call them back if they make a run for it at the beach or make them sit and wait when a new guest arrives in your home. And just because your dog is friendly and gets along well with other dogs doesn't mean you should let them run wild and approach other dogs without your supervision. An unleashed dog approaching a dog on a leash can be quite confronting for the leashed dog. Therefore, keep your dog at your side until you can ask the owner if their dog is ok with yours introducing themselves.
For the most part, this is just common sense, but some dog owners still don't seem to get it. It is common courtesy that all dog owners should follow these rules:
1. When walking your dog, keep your dog on a leash or within a fenced yard. If you are in an outdoor area where it is safe and legal to let your dog off the leash, you should ensure that you are supervising them at all times. Never let your dog roam the neighborhood or wander out of sight.
2. Do not leave your dog on its own if it has a tendency to bark excessively or engage in other noisy behaviors. Excessive barking is not only unfair to your dog, it is annoying and disrespectful to your neighbors.
3. Pick up after your dog. No one (including yourself) wants to smell or accidentally step on a “gift” your dog left behind during your daily walk. Please pick up after your dog and dispose of it properly. For convenience, you can attach a small bag dispenser to your dog’s leash so you will never be without a dog bag when nature calls.
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