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
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.
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.
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
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
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