Becoming a Responsible Dog Owner


Celebrate Responsible Dog Ownership by learning how to be a better pet owner

This month, the American Kennel Club (AKC) invites all dog owners to celebrate Responsible Dog Ownership. If you are wondering what makes a Responsible Dog Owner, don’t worry – not only is the AKC hosting educational events and health clinics across the United States, but we are sharing examples of responsible owners and 10 tips for you to become a more responsible dog owner. 

10 ways to be a more responsible dog owner

Responsible Ownership in Action

Every day after school, my boys and I are greeted by Lola, a friendly Golden Retriever. The other dogs waiting by the flag pole pull on leashes, bark and growl as others walk by. However, Lola quietly stays by Mary, her owner, calmly greeting the children who ask to pet her.

The others aren’t “bad” dogs; they are still learning the behavior and rules that Mary taught Lola.  Mary is a great ambassador for Responsible Dog Ownership. Not only has she invested time in training Lola, she takes pride in Lola’s grooming, practices training while we wait for the school bell to ring, regularly exercises Lola and exposes her to new people and places to keep her social. Lola is a healthy, happy dog who can positively interact with neighbors in the community.

Why it matters

This is the end goal for responsible dog owners – to care for your pet in a way that allows them to be healthy, happy and able to participate in the community around them.

Here are 10 ways to become a responsible dog owner:

1. Recognize that your dog’s welfare is your responsibility

Learn to recognize signs of distress or behavior issues and find solutions to these problems.

2. Always provide fresh water and quality food

If it’s hard to keep water and food bowls filled, consider investing in an automatic dispenser. Remember that dietary restrictions change with age. Also, Healthy Partner Pet Snacks are a delicious, wholesome reward for your pet.

3. Socialize your dog through regular exposure to new people and places

This can be as simple as walking in new neighborhoods or bringing your pet along to family activities.

4. Take pride in your dog’s appearance with regular grooming

Don’t let those toenail’s grow too long. If they’re too hard to trim at home, find a groomer that you and your dog are comfortable visiting on a regular basis.

5. Teach basic training, such as “sit”, “stay”, and “come”

Read about our training tips and ways to find local help.

6. Schedule regular vet appointments and stay on top of vaccinations

Set an automatic reminder on your phone today.

7. Pick up and properly dispose of dog waste

Find a bag system that works for you. Maybe that means walking near parks that provide bags or find a place in your vehicle to store them so you are never without.

8. Provide the proper amount of exercise and mental stimulation

Talk with the vet to determine what this looks like for your dog, based on their age, breed and current health status.

9. Adhere to local leash laws

Visit the local city website to learn what those are in your community.

10. Make sure your dog is properly identified with tags and microchips.

For tags, visit a local pet store. For microchips, schedule an appointment with the vet.

Article written by Melissa Wheeler, a writer and pet enthusiast. Melissa has a 10-year-old Whippet, named Leo, who loves to run, sneak food and cuddle with his family.