Be a Great Human for Your Dog And a Responsible Dog Parent

Today’s guest writer is Robbi Hess, Story Editor at Positively Woof. Robbi is writing about how to be a responsible dog owner and a great human for your dog!

September means back-to-school, cooler days, and the beginning of football season! It is also a month, started by the American Kennel Club, deemed “National Responsible Dog Ownership Month.” The month celebrates dogs for their loyalty, devotion, and unwavering friendship and companionship they bring to our lives.

If you have ever loved a dog you can attest to the fact your dog provides you with unconditional love every single day. When you come home from work and your dog greets you at the door, enthusiastically wagging his tail shows you the pure joy with which he lives his life. When you pour food into her bowl or grab the leash off the hook, your dog looks at her dinner time and walk time as the most important parts of her day.

Let’s face it, no matter what activity your dog is involved in, whether it’s being a couch potato, taking a walk, eating dinner, or being in the car he looks at that activity as being the absolute best. Our dogs live in the moment, every moment (that’s certainly a lesson we can take from them!)

Sharing your life with a dog is not only a privilege, it’s a responsibility. Our dogs rely upon us for food, shelter, love, and for us to be with them until their last moments. Take a moment to think about whether you are being the best human for your dog.

What does being a responsible dog owner mean? Here are some things we believe it encompasses:

  •        Regular veterinarian visits to assure he is healthy and happy
  •        Making certain she is up-to-date on vaccinations
  •        Keeping her at a healthy weight
  •        Feeding him high quality food
  •        Assuring he is wearing proper identification in case he gets lost
  •        Providing him with a safe, warm home
  •        Having a disaster plan in place in the event you ever had to evacuate
  •        Spaying and/or neutering your pet
  •        Giving her lots of playtime, affection and love

Here are other ways to be the human your dog deserves

Find the “right breed While there may be no “right” or “wrong” breed you need to match the breed you adopt with your lifestyle. For example if you’re a couch potato, don’t adopt a high energy dog who needs hours of daily exercise. Keep in mind, though, no matter what breed you choose, exercise is essential to keep him at a healthy weight. Choose a dog who fits your lifestyle and the home in which you live. Small dogs will likely do better in a small apartment than will a large breed dog. Match your personality with your dog and you will live happily ever after!

“Puppy” or dog-proof the home. If your dog is going to be home alone, either crate train her or dog-proof the house. Don’t leave shoes or other items that your bored dog might chew while you’re away. Keep trash cans closed and out of reach. Pick up any small items that a curious dog or puppy might chew on. A dog who is bored is more likely to be destructive or who may spend his day barking and annoying the neighbors.

Plan exercise time. A tired dog is a happy dog and this is especially true if you work outside the home and will be leaving her home alone. Get up earlier in the morning and take her for a long walk. Play a rousing game of fetch with him. When you leave and he’s sleeping on the couch, you’ve done your job!

Train your dog. Whether you have a small dog or a large dog, each can benefit from training – even basic obedience training. A training class will also help your dog get socialized with other dogs and humans. Look for a training class for your new puppy or your newly adopted older dog. Many dogs are surrendered simply because they haven’t learned basic dog obedience like: sit, stay, come, heel. A training class is also a great way to build the bond between you and your dog.

Canine enrichment. This may be a new-to-you term, but canine enrichment takes many forms. You can enrich your dog’s environment by offering her unique toys when you leave her home alone. A unique toy could be a snuffle mat or a dog treat puzzle toy. Each of these toys will keep her occupied and reward her with a treat when she solves the puzzle or finds the treats hidden in the fibers of the mat. Another way to enrich your dog’s environment is to turn on DOGTV when you leave the house or when you have work to do in the house and can’t entertain your pup. DOGTV is scientifically-developed programming that can calm your dog and keep her company while you’re away. Grab your FREE 14-day subscription and enrich your dog’s environment!

What does Responsible Dog Ownership mean to you? What do you and your dog do together that helps cement your loving bond? We’d love to know!