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5 Signs of a Responsible Dog Owner

5 Signs of a Responsible Dog Owner

September is Responsible Dog Ownership Month. Being a responsible pet parent may have many different definitions. But, it is more than just loving your dog and meeting his basic needs. Being responsible means learning how to understand the world from your dog’s point of view. Dogs speak a different language than people, and they are constantly studying everything we do to understand our behaviors and language. Being responsible means understanding their language and ways of communicating. Here are some of the ways that you can be a responsible dog owner that go beyond the basics of neutering and spaying, exercising your dog, feeding them healthy meals and treats, and being there for them until the end of their life.

1. You Give Them Space.

Some dogs are very comfortable around a multitude of dogs and activity, many aren’t and need extra space. Learn to read your dog’s stress signals and make sure you keep her in an environment that is safe, determined by her needs. If you are aware of signs of stress in crowds, then it’s better to leave her home than take her with you to your local wine and art fair this weekend. Some dog-friendly events aren’t always friendly for all dogs.

2. You Pay Attention To Their Sound Environment.

We brings dogs into our human world and we say “adjust.” Some do, many don’t. When dogs can’t orient the source of a sound to determine whether it is safe, they can easily go into sensory overload and develop anxiety behaviors along with health problems. Humans hear sounds between 20-20,000 Hz. Dogs hear at least twice as high, sometimes all the way up to 55,000 Hz. While I think itís great that more events and public places are dog friendly, so often those environments are created for humans. A fundraising party for dogs and their people that benefits your local shelter, doesnít benefit your dog when a loud band is playing. Please be careful of your dogís sound environment.

3. You Treat Dogs Like Dogs, Not Little Humans.

As humans, we tend to anthropomorphize our pets. It’s only natural if we love them. But, when we start to understand life from their point of view, we realize that dogs rarely show affection the way humans do. Most don’t like being pat on the head, especially from a stranger, and most don’t naturally take to hugs.

4. You Prioritize Humane Training.

While it’s our responsibility to train our dogs, it’s also our responsibility to humanely train them with positive reinforcement. Humane training is not only the kind, loving way to train, but it’s scientifically proven and it works and helps to create an emotional bond between you and your dog that is priceless.

5. You Provide Opportunities for Stimulation.

We can read a book or study a subject online when we want to learn, grow, and educate ourselves. But, it’s our responsibility to keep our dog’s minds stimulated. Feed her out of food puzzles instead of a bowl, enjoy a canine sport together, and teach her new tricks that help her keep thinking and making decisions.

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Read more: Behavior & Communication, Dogs, Everyday Pet Care, Pets, , , ,

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Lisa Spector

Lisa Spector is a concert pianist, Juilliard graduate, and canine music expert. She is co-founder of Through a Dog's Ear, the first music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system. Their new high-tech pet gadget, iCalmDog, is the portable solution to canine anxiety. Lisa shares her home and her heart with her two "career change" Labrador Retrievers from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Sanchez and Gina. Follow Lisa's blog here.


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1:13PM PDT on Sep 16, 2014

thank you.

7:59PM PDT on Sep 15, 2014

May all dogs live to be happy and healthy. Here's to a Happy Responsible Dog Owner Month.

4:42AM PDT on Sep 10, 2014


3:37AM PDT on Sep 10, 2014

Good advice. Thank you.

11:37PM PDT on Sep 9, 2014

Thank you

4:23AM PDT on Sep 9, 2014

I try to do my absolute best for my dogs and other animals without 'babying' them. My bedroom is their safe zone where they can retreat or have time to themselves. I am always on the look-out for new toys and things to stimulate them. But most importantly they are free to be themselves, I don't want to morph them into something different.

8:40PM PDT on Sep 8, 2014

Thank you.

8:39PM PDT on Sep 8, 2014

Thank you.

2:11PM PDT on Sep 8, 2014

Yes, I guess I'm a responsible dog owner, though I, too, probably humanize them a bit too much. I do love them, though, and they are safe, well-fed, healthy and happy.

1:34PM PDT on Sep 7, 2014

I guess this makes me a responsible dog owner. :)

Although, I do tend to consider my dog a little more human than just a dog. Yes, she has clothes, but they're not for dress up, they're for the elements of the weather. Rain coat, sweaters and winter coats, because a little chihuahua gets cold easily and needs a little something extra to keep warm on a cold days walk.

I do notice that my dog isn't fond of others patting her on the head, but she has no qualm showing them where she wants that little pat...on her hind quarters! :)

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