Owning a dog is a privilege that comes with responsibility. Just like your dog relies on you for food and shelter, it is also your obligation to ensure she is well behaved. Responsible dog ownership is critical for peaceful interactions in your neighborhood. Here are the three main pillars of being a conscientious dog owner.

Teach your dog public etiquette skills

You can teach your dog the right public skills or hire a trainer to do so. The most critical dog etiquette skills include basic commands, walking etiquette, socializing etiquette, leash training, and dining etiquette.

Experts recommend you adopt a force-free training approach. Socialize her by exposing her to different people and different social setups, such as by taking her to the park or bringing her along as you go shopping.

Deal with your dog’s bad behavior

Common bad dog behavior includes jumping on people or other animals, aimless barking, pottying in public places, digging in yards, begging for food at the table, chewing on objects, and exhibiting aggressive behavior. While dog training can help to prevent such behavior, in the event your dog misbehaves, it’s important to find the cause and ways of mitigating the naughtiness. For instance, your dog may chew on things if she is teething, bored, or anxious. If she is teething, see a veterinarian for teething gels. If she just needs to be kept occupied, provide her with chew toys to play with when she is bored.

You can also mitigate your dog’s bad conduct by praising her for good behavior. Praise offers positive reinforcement and encourages her to keep behaving well. Communicate with your dog in a pleasant and polite tone. While she may not understand the actual words you are saying, she picks up on your tone and body language. Being too harsh on your dog may cause her to be rebellious.    

Take care of your dog’s well-being

It’s important to provide your dog with a safe environment, so start with the basics:

  • Dog-proof your home.
  • Set up a quiet and clean sleeping area for her. You can use a crate or even just a pile of blankets.
  • Fence your home to prevent her from straying to neighboring properties.
  • Replace toxic indoor and outdoor plants with pet-friendly options.
  • Always keep an ID tag on her in case she gets lost.

Other wellness measures you should take for your dog include:

  • Create a schedule to feed, exercise, and groom your dog.
  • Stay up to date on her vaccinations.
  • If your dog shows signs of illness, immediately take her to the veterinarian.
  • Take the necessary parasite control measures to prevent her from being infested with fleas, ticks, or worms and spreading them in the neighborhood.
  • Manage breeding through neutering or spaying. If your female dog is in heat, keep her secure; male dogs can sense her from a distance, which could lead to unplanned breeding.
  • Provide your dog with adequate mental and physical stimulation by playing with her, taking her for walks, and giving her toys to entertain her when you can’t be with her. When your dog is well stimulated, her energy levels are well contained, which will prevent her from excessive barking, howling, and hyperactivity.
  • Work with your veterinarian to determine the best diet for your dog, depending on her age, health condition, and breed.
  • Find a pet sitter or pet boarding facility to care for your dog on days you are away. This will prevent her from becoming restless.  

A dog who is well taken care of and trained is less likely to misbehave whether she’s at home or taking a walk with you through the neighborhood. However, no animals, including humans, are perfect. If she misbehaves, take responsibility by correcting her behavior in a positive, reassuring way.

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