For the Love of Dog: Etiquette for the Responsible Owner

Nobody loves a dog that keeps them up at night with endless barking or likes to destroy property. We’ve all had that neighbor, but we don’t want to be that neighbor. So what makes a good dog owner? Learning some dog behavior can go a long way in making you a conscious and responsible dog owner.

Understand the Responsibility

Before getting a dog, make sure you are prepared for the long-term commitment. Dogs require a fair amount of attention. As Today reports, they are not creatures of isolation. Leaving a dog in the backyard all day and night is not the best way to care for a dog. Consider what breed might better fit your lifestyle. Also, think about the personality traits, where you live (apartment or house), yard size, time you can dedicate to walks each day, work schedule, etc.

Basic Training

When it comes to owning a dog, basic training will save you a lot of heartache down the road. The Spruce suggests there are commands necessary for any dog owner to give their pet a sense of structure and for easy handling. 

Some of these include:

  • Come. This is important if your dog gets out of the yard or tries to run off. Having the ability to call him back is a great help.
  • Drop it. Most dogs like to chew things, which might include your shoes, homework or any number of important belongings. Teaching the dog to drop something that is in its mouth is a handy skill in dealing with chewers.
  • Sit. This is one of the most basic commands, but it helps in controlling the dog and preventing him from jumping, especially on visitors.
  • Stay.  This might even save his life by keeping him from running out into the street or other dangerous situations.

Public Etiquette

Part of the fun of having a dog is taking them out to the park, family outings, hikes and other fun dog-friendly activities.

Walks. Most neighborhoods require dogs to be on leashes when being walked. This is to protect your dog and other people. Always clean up after your dog and avoid them doing their business on your neighbors’ grass. Carry bags to pick up messes. Reader’s Digest reports that this is not only to keep your neighborhood clean, but also to avoid health risks.

The laws. Being a responsible dog owner is also about taking are of your dogs health and ensuring he doesn’t put anyone or other dogs at risk. Vaccines help stop contagious and serious canine diseases including distemper, rabies and hepatitis. Make sure to get your dog vaccinated on time and to have him chipped in case he runs away.

Bark park. Taking dogs on a leash free area can be a lot of fun, but it also comes with risks. Keep an eye on your dog at the park to watch for signs of distress or aggression.

Meeting other dogs.  Good public etiquette means respecting other dog owners and other dogs. If your dog comes across another while on a walk, always ask the owner if it’s ok to approach. Most people at dog parks love dogs, but that doesn’t mean they want your dog jumping on them. Make sure to curb this behavior by training your dog at home never to jump on other people.

Dog neighbors. If your dog is barking at the neighbors, try to understand why. Dogs might be barking out of excitement, fear, or a protective instinct. By understanding what your dog is feeling you can better deal with the behavior. Don’t yell at your dog or reward the dog with attention when they bark. If your dog is barking too much, you might need to give him more exercise. His anxiety might be caused by excess energy and boredom.

Dogs need our guidance to keep them safe and out of trouble. Remember that your dog looks to you as the leader that provides food and structure. Understanding basic principles of their nature can help you not only become a responsible dog owner, but a wonderful pet parent.

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