Your dog will be your best buddy, your biggest fan, and your
most ardent supporter. Here's an overview of your end of the
Dogs need some space
to call their own.
care of your dog's health.
Provide proper nutrition, water, shelter, exercise,
grooming, and vet care.
your dog to behave.
Just like we teach our children manners so they will be
civil adults, you must teach your dog to be a functional
member of the family. An untrained dog is a nuisance and a
your dog enough exercise.
Different breeds and personalities require different levels
of activity and types of exercise. Dogs need to be walked or
let outside several times a day for exercise and
with your dog, and provide plenty of toys.
Walks are great and necessary, but dogs also need one-on-one
play time. You should provide a variety of safe toys for
your dog, too, to help keep her amused in your absence.
up after your dog.
Whether at the park, on the street, or even in your own
yard, you need to dispose of your dog's waste. Dog waste
carries microorganisms that can seep into groundwater
supplies and make people sick. (It also kills the grass as
it decomposes.) It is your duty as a responsible pet owner
to be prepared for this eventuality whenever you take your
your dog on your property or on a leash.
Do not let him wander around the neighborhood -- this is not
safe for your dog or considerate to your community. In some
communities, it is illegal.
Discourage excessive barking.
One of your dog's "jobs" (aside from providing nonstop
adoration) is to warn against intruders. You will have to
teach your dog what level of response is appropriate for
your living situation. A dog in an apartment building, for
example, cannot bark every time someone walks past your
as much time as possible with your pup.
Dogs need attention, and they also need companionship.
Snoozing in a corner as you browse online or cook dinner is
rewarding for your dog, too. When you can't be there, put on
the radio or TV to keep your dog company.
let your dog bite anyone -- even in play.
Biting is a completely unacceptable activity. There is
nothing "cute" about biting. If you don't make this clear
from the beginning, you are failing to socialize your pet,
and your pet will pay the price. Dogs who bite cannot live
with a family.
you intend to breed your dog, spay or neuter your pup.
It is better for your dogs' health and the community --
there are too many homeless animals as it is. Animal
shelters feel so strongly about this that they often require
you to pay for spaying or neutering a dog as part of the
adoption process, or provide the service for a low fee to
any pet owners in the community.
license and an ID tag.
No matter how carefully you watch your dog, he may get lost.
Quick identification of your pet increases the likelihood of
a happy ending to a potentially tragic situation. A current
photo of your pet would be helpful, too.
Supervise dogs and children, particularly young children, at
No matter how "good" your dog is, you cannot anticipate her
every response. The same can be said for children,
particularly children who are not familiar with your dog.
Designate an emergency contact in case of sudden illness or
Make provisions in your will, as well, for the care of your
pet. Do not assume that people will take on this
responsibility; ask friends or family if they are willing
before you designate them to care for your pet in your