75 Ways To Be a Responsible Dog Owner (56-75)

Train Your Dog

56. Teach basic commands

Teach your dog basic commands such as sit, stay, come, and down. Training your dog makes your life easier, fulfills his desire to please you, and strengthens your bond.

57. Socialize Your Dog

Expose your dog to different people and settings regularly. Take him to the park, to the pet store, on a walk through town. Praise him for behaving calmly around strangers and other dogs.

58. Go to class

Obedience classes can be a great experience for you and your dog. You may even discover that your dog has a talent for obedienceagility, or other AKC sports.

59. Praise your dog

Praise him lavishly for obeying commands and behaving well. Using positive, rather than negative, reinforcement will help your dog enjoy training.

60. Supervise play with children

Children and dogs can be great friends, but they need supervision when playing together, no matter how friendly your canine companion might be.

61. Give your dog a job

Teach him to fetch the paper or carry groceries. Giving your dog a sense of purpose and accomplishment increases his well being.

Breed Responsibly

62. Breed to improve

Breeding should only be done for the advancement of the breed. If you are thinking about breeding your dog, consult your breeder for advice.

63. Contain bitches in heat

Males can sense a female in heat up to five miles away. If your female dog goes into heat, keep her properly secured.

64. Do genetic screening

If you plan to breed your dog, it is very important to test for health and disease. Perform all available tests to rule out the possibility of passing on a genetic defect.

Get Involved

65. Join an AKC club

Many clubs offer educational seminars and health clinics. It’s also a good place to start if you plan to participate in competitive events with your dog.

66. Earn an AKC title

Explore the world of dog sports by participating in AKC events. The AKC offers titles for accomplishment over a wide range of levels. Find an event that’s right for your dog and have fun.

67. Encourage breed behavior

Find activities that will encourage your dog to fulfill his breed’s purpose. The AKC offers many performance events geared toward specific breeds.

68. Involve the kids

Your children can learn more about dogs and dog care by participating in AKC Junior Showmanship events. Through the National Junior Organization, your child can compete in conformation and performance events, attend seminars, and even earn scholarships.

69. Find a mentor

If you plan to breed or show your dog, find an experienced person in the breed to show you the ropes. A mentor can make your “novice” days much easier.

70. Read all about it

Keep up with the latest dog news by reading AKC publications. From “The Complete Dog Book” to the AKC Gazette to numerous free publications, the AKC provides a wealth of materials on all areas of the dog world.

Be a Canine Ambassador

71. Set a good example

As a dog owner, you are responsible not only for your own dog’s well being, but for the status of dogs everywhere. Owning a friendly, clean, well-mannered dog reflects positively on the species.

72. Respect your neighbors

Not everyone will love your dog as much as you do. Keep your dog on your property. Don’t force your dog’s company on a neighbor who isn’t comfortable with dogs.

73. Fight anti-dog legislation

Be a voice against legislation directed against specific breeds. For more information, contact the Government Relations and Public Education departments at the AKC.

74. Get a Canine Good Citizen Certificate

Your dog can become an AKC Canine Good Citizen by passing a test designed to demonstrate good manners and acceptable behavior in everyday situations. The CGC program has become a standard for recognizing obedient dogs and responsible dog owners throughout the country.

75. Show your pride

Bringing a well-behaved dog into public places or showing off his talents at competitive events is an excellent way to “advertise” the rewards of canine companionship.

While no means exhaustive, these 75 steps will set you up to be a responsible dog owner.

Courtesy of American Kennel Club