Are You A Responsible Dog Owner?
There is much more to being a responsible dog owner than just adoring your dog. Being a dog owner 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 important rules of conscientious dog ownership.
Committing for the Long Haul
Once you get a dog, it’s not just like getting a new car. If your dog plays up, you can’t just go trade them in. 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 be in it for the long haul from the start.
Making Time for Your Dog
Bonding isn’t something you can do once and assume that it is complete. The bond with your dog is built during the first few weeks to 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
Your dog should wear a collar with identification including their name and your contact details such as your address and/or phone number at all times. 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
Unfortunately, millions of pets are euthanized annually due to overpopulation. You may be contributing to this problem if you do not get your dog spayed or neutered. If you don't plan on breeding your dog, having them spayed or neutered can also reduce their risk of developing bad behaviours 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
It is very important to keep your dog healthy, just as you would keep yourself healthy. Ensure you always provide your dog with the appropriate type of food and portion sizes, as well as plenty of fresh water. 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 hard to tell if your dog is sick or in pain due to them not being able to communicate this with you. Therefore, it is essential that you schedule regular visits to your veterinarian as 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
Canine etiquette does not only benefit you and your dog, but others too. A well-behaved and properly socialised dog is less likely to upset or annoy other pets and 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 making 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, so keep your dog at your side until you can ask the owner if their dog is ok with yours introducing themselves.
Really this is just common sense for the most of us, however there are still some dog owners out there who don’t seem to fully ‘get it’. It is common courtesy that all dog owners should follow these rules:
1. When outdoors, 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 neighbourhood or wander out of your sight.
2. Do not leave your dog outdoors if it has a tendency to bark excessively or engage in other noisy behaviours. Excessive barking is not only unfair to your dog, it is annoying and disrespectful to your neighbours.
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 bad when nature calls.
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