We love our dogs dearly, and many of us consider them to be members of our family, so it is easy to forget that not everybody views our dogs in the same manner we do. Really, that’s true of everything in life – some people are not crazy about children, or about having significant others, or being around others period. That said, pets can pose some specific issues for other people that are important to remember. Some people are allergic to animals, and some people are afraid of animals. Some may have had very frightening encounters with dogs or even been attacked by a dog. That’s not your furry friend’s fault, but it’s still polite and kind to follow some basic principles of dog ownership to make everyone’s lives a little easier, and to spare you and your dog the hassle of unpleasant encounters with neighbors.
3 Top Ways To Be A Responsible Dog Owner
- Take good care of your dog
- Keep your dog confined to your property or on a leash at all times
- Clean up after your dog
It seems obvious, but taking good care of your dog prevents and solves a myriad of problems. Choosing the right dog is important. Of course there are times where a stray dog may show up and choose your family, and if you can make that work, that’s wonderful. But in general, get a dog that fits your lifestyle. A St. Bernard in a 8th floor walkup apartment may be difficult. Make sure you exercise your dog enough and give him/her plenty of attention. This will cut down on barking that drives your neighbors insane. Dogs often bark and whine when they are bored – so have plenty of appropriate toys. Make regular veterinary appointments for your dog. Have records of your dog’s vaccinations available so that if your dog does have an altercation with another animal, you have those records available.
No matter where you live, it’s not okay to let your dog run free. Your dog needs confined somehow – either by a real fence, an invisible fence, on a leash, etc. Most people view a dog tied to a tree as poor dog ownership and tends to make for an unhappy pup. If you do put your dog outside on lead, make sure it’s only for an hour or two – don’t abandon your dog there for hours, which will make neighbors worry about your dog (understandably) and will also make your dog more likely to bark and howl. Know the laws about where you live – some places don’t allow outside dogs, or have limits about how long a dog can be outside. Regardless, a dog roaming the neighborhood, even while on a walk with you, is unacceptable, unless it is on a leash. Unleashed animals make people afraid and can lead to bites, dog fights, cats being chased up trees, dogs being hit by cars…it’s ugly. Take responsibility for your pet.
Similarly, while you’re out and about with your pet, your dog is bound to relieve him or herself. There’s probably not a lot you can do about urination except steer your animal away from your neighbor’s car tire. However, when it comes to dog poop, you have to pick it up, place it in a disposal bag, and dispose of it in a proper place – which means a community bin that is marked for this purpose, or at your own home. It’s not ok to throw it in your neighbor’s trash. Nothing will make neighbors dislike you and your animal more than allowing it to poop in their yard and leaving the poop there. Imagine if the roles were reversed – you have no dog because you don’t want to deal with the mess, but you constantly are walking out into your yard and stepping in dog poop. Pretty infuriating, right? They make special retrieval devices and disposal bags that can attach right to your dog’s leash, which can make an unpleasant task a little more pleasant for you.
With a little thoughtfulness, most of your neighbors will grow to love your pup as much as you do.
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