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Responsible Dog Ownership

Responsible dog ownership begins with the basics, but actually goes much further than making sure your dog has food and water, adequate shelter, daily exercise and is in good health.

Responsible dog ownership means you must take the necessary time to learn and understand your obligations and responsibilities, to your dog and to society, according to the law. Dog ownership is a privilege that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

A big part of responsible dog ownership, is ALWAYS having your dog under complete control when it is in public! You MUST be able to control your dog at all times by using physical restraint or voice commands. If you can’t, you could have a big problem. 

If your dog happens to bite or hurt someone, it’s your fault. If your dog runs off and causes an accident, it’s your fault. If your dog gets away from you it could be hit by a car and be fatally injured. That would be your fault too. If you can't control your dog you need to get some help from an experienced dog trainer or behaviorist. Don’t put it off because if an accident happens it may just be too late! Your dog's life is your responsibility. They are just like a child; they depend on you for safety, guidance and leadership. You need to be able to control your dog under every possible circumstance.

Being a responsible dog owner also means that you should respect other people’s right to NOT have your dog jump up on them. Some people are afraid of dogs. You may think your dog is only ‘playing" or "just being friendly". In most cases he/she wouldn’t hurt anyone but you need to be aware your dog can "sense" fear. If it happens to sense the fear in a stranger, it may see that fear as a threat and your dog could bite them. If your dog is ever seen as a threat, your dog can be found to be a "Dangerous Dog" and it could be taken away from you. It could even be destroyed. 

You also need to spend the time and effort to learn your dog's body language in order to keep yourself and others safe. Being able to read the signs of a sad, scared, upset, aggressive, nervous, territorial or possessive dog is critical in order to avoid dog attacks. I have met many owners that feel that they know all about canine behavior and body language. I've also seen these same owners have a lot of close calls while trying to control their dogs in everyday situations! Even though dogs are a great addition to almost any family, we all need to remember that they are not little furry human beings. They don't think like humans and they are not able to rationalize like humans do. They only react to situations. That is why you must learn to be aware of how your dog's mind works. You might be very surprised at what you find!

Responsible dog owners never allow infants or young children to play with dogs without the proper adult supervision. Dogs and children can be a great combination, but dogs and children playing unattended can be a potential disaster. It is impossible to be 100% certain how a dog will behave if a youngster pulls the dog's tail or steps on one of it's paws. When an adult is present, any unwanted behavior can be quickly correctly without incident. Of course, accidents can happen. But many serious and even fatalities accidents can be avoided by simply making sure that young children are never left unsupervised with your dog.

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