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.
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.