Dogs are loyal, loving, and fun, but a dog is also a big responsibility. A poorly understood dog can be a neighborhood nightmare. A well-cared for dog is a joy. Here are four basic ways to be a responsible dog owner.
Learn as much as you can about your dog
All dogs enjoy walks, but some breeds absolutely need to be active. Are you up to walking your dog every day for at least half an hour? If not, choose a sedentary breed that can spend most of its time in your lap. Some dogs bark a lot, some are laid back. Be prepared.
Make a vet appointment before you bring the dog home
Have the dog checked out beforehand. Does it need shots? Is the dog in general good health? Keep your regular vaccination appointments and be sure to register your dog with the city. Consider chipping your dog. That way, if your new friend goes on an unauthorized adventure, whoever finds him will call you.
Make sure you have what you need
You will need a six foot leash and collar for walking the dog, a dog bed, some toys, and high quality dog food. You will also need a fenced-in yard and shelter outside for the dog if it is going to spend a lot of time there. Do not plan on tying your dog to a post all day. Tying a dog up this way encourages frustrated barking, and tangled chains can cause injury.
Expect an adjustment period
Don’t expect your dog to be perfect. Enroll the two of you in a basic behavior class so your dog can learn good canine citizenship. Teaching your dog basic commands like ‘come’, ‘sit’, ‘wait’ and ‘lay down’ will make both of your lives easier. When you first bring your dog home, take it through each room of the house on its leash and let it sniff. Finally, show it where it will sleep and reward it with a treat.
One extra tip Check with your home insurance agency make sure certain breeds are not excluded from the liability section of your policy. Some companies exclude dog breeds like pit bulls, Cocker spaniels, and Malamutes. If you have an excluded dog, you could get a call from a personal injury attorney should your dog nip a neighbor or friend, and you will be on your own for the damages.