Responsible Dog Ownership Month
Nineteen years ago, the American Kennel Club initiated Responsible Dog Ownership month as a way to celebrate and promote responsible dog ownership. A conscientious dog owner and well trained dog are an asset to society! To that end, the American Kennel Club encourages all dogs and owners to participate in training and to take the Canine Good Citizen test, be they purebreds, or mixed breeds. There is also no expiration date on training, as an old dog really CAN learn new tricks!
What are the benefits of having a Canine Good Citizen, you may ask? I’m so glad you did! They are numerous.
- The hours you’ll spend training will forge an unbreakable bond with your best friend.
- You and your dog will be GREAT neighbors and the envy of other dog owners.
- You’ll have given your dog confidence to be either alone at home, or in a crowd on a busy street because he’ll know just how to behave.
- Your dog will be a favorite at the vet or the groomer, since he’ll be comfortable and prepared for what is asked of him.
- If you want your dog to do such things as be a certified Therapy Dog, oftentimes he must pass the Canine Good Citizen Test, so you’ll already be a leg up!
- You’ll know when he’s off his game, or not feeling well due to all that time you put into getting to know him.
- Your dog will be more welcome in places because he is well behaved and knows how to act (we all have that one family member who isn’t so fond of dogs, win her over with your great natured pooch.)
- He’ll be a great ambassador for his breed AND dogs in general.
- Seeing a dog who is well behaved is helpful to those who have a fear of dogs. A dog who can follow commands is predictable, and not seen as dangerous.
- It may make it easier to rent, as some apartments prefer dogs with their certificates.
- Proof of training may help with homeowners insurance rates.
What are some ways you can celebrate Responsible Dog Ownership Month? Try these out!
- Get that pooch moving! He’ll thank you for it. A regular old walk is great, but have you tried your paw at something new? How about dock diving, or a Coursing Ability Test? Maybe Agility? If your pal is healthy and up for it, you may want to give one of these things a try. Check with your local kennel or training clubs to see if there are opportunities for you and your pup to try something out.
- Is it time for a check up? Make sure Fido is up to date on all his necessary shots and tests. Older dogs especially need a wellness check sometimes more than once a year to make sure everything is in top running condition. Don’t forget his teeth, dogs need to brush too! Proper nutrition and fresh water are, of course, a must.
- As I said before, age is just a number. Dogs of any age can learn new behaviors and tricks. Any time spent with you is the best part of your canine buddy’s day. Keep it short and positive when learning new things, and he’ll soon have them down pat.
- Travel time. If your dog loves to travel, hit the road if you can, even if it’s simply to the park for a walk. Many hotels across the country are pet friendly, and with the weather cooling down in the fall, a family vacation really can include the whole family. If not, find a great place for Scout to stay, or a sitter to make sure all his needs are met.
- Socialization is the key to a well rounded pup. From puppyhood to veteran age, it’s an important part of a dog’s life. A dog that has been properly socialized will have a better life, since he doesn’t always have to stay home, and can be the life of the party since he has such good manners!
- Safety first! Make sure your dog’s environment is safe. If you have a fenced yard, is the fencing in good shape? No holes, or loose gates? If he takes walks, how does his collar and lead look? No frays, or loose buckles? Are his license and tag secure? It’s always a good idea to look into getting a microchip just in case he slips his collar. If you can, try to travel with him in the car in a crate, or with a safety harness. A loose dog can quickly become a projectile in a car accident.
- Emergency Plans. Put a sticker on your door or window alerting first responders that you have a pet inside. Gather a first aid kit for your four legged friend just in case he gets hurt. Make sure you have a “go bag” for your buddy in the event you have to hit the road fast! Be sure to keep his records and meds in a place where they can be quickly packed so you have it should you need hit the road in a hurry. It’s always a good idea to make sure he is crate trained in case he has to be confined in a true emergency. That way he’ll be less stressed should he be asked to “kennel up!” Better that he be trained and never need it than to need it and not be trained. Head to the Borzoi Club Of America’s website to their ReadyBorzoi page for some great tips on how to create an emergency plan and prepare for any eventuality with your pets.
The library has plenty of books on selecting your next dog, as well as training, and care. We also have just some great dog stories to share, whether you’re young or just young at heart. You’ll find classic dog tales like Lassie, Come Home by Eric Knight and the James Herriot tales, (now a great TV series on PBS!) to more modern dog tales like The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein and Marley and Me by John Grogan. Take a look at this list to find some!
There’s no wrong way to celebrate your best friend. Whether he’s big or small, young or old, purebred or of mixed breed, the time you spend with him will be the BEST part of his day. As Roger Caras reminded us, “Dogs are not our whole lives, but they make our lives whole.”
Set aside some time today to remind your dog how much he means to you!