Are you a good owner or a GREAT one?
Check and see how many of these habits you’re already doing.
You pick up more than just poop
Picking up your dog’s poop is Good Doggie Care 101 but truly great pet owners will be mindful of any mess their animal makes and clean up after them, says Ruth MacPete, veterinarian and author of Lisette the Vet. This means not only cleaning up poop piles from the neighbour’s lawn but wiping up pee, drool or other liquids in public places; picking up the pieces when your dog shreds a toy; and making amends if your pup chews someone’s shoe, pees on a rug or otherwise makes a mess.
You follow the rules even if you think they’re silly
Some public places don’t allow pets and great pet owners will obey the posted signs, even if you’re 100 percent sure your Good Boy would be just fine, Dr. MacPete says. “If a business only allows service animals, be respectful and leave your canine companion at home,” she says.
You do a daily “snout-to-tail” check
Great pet owners care deeply about their dog’s wellbeing and spend a few minutes each day giving them a once-over, says Neil Cohen, dog behaviour expert, owner and head trainer at Sit Means Sit. “By touching your dog, from snout to tail (and everywhere in between) you not only teach a dog to accept your touch, should they need it in an emergency, but you also familiarise yourself with their body, enabling you to quickly notice anything that wasn’t there yesterday – like a tick, cut, tumour, etc.,” he explains.
You train your dog to have good manners
“Responsible dog owners socialise and train their dogs for how to behave in public,” MacPete says. Untrained dogs can cause all kinds of problems, intentionally or not, and a great owner will prepare them for different situations before bringing them in public. Not only does this protect other humans but it makes your doggo and his canine friends more comfortable too since they know what to expect.
You respect that not everyone is a dog person
You love your pup with all your heart but a good pet owner recognises that not everyone shares their love for animals. Whether others are allergic, have a dog phobia or just don’t enjoy pets, rather than trying to convince them otherwise you respect their boundaries and train your dog to do so as well, MacPete says.
You are consistent with the rules
Great pet owners know that forbidding their dog to eat off the counter one day and then allowing it the next isn’t being kind, it’s just confusing. Dogs thrive with rules, Cohen says. “Maintain regular boundaries, for example, no counter surfing, no nose on the table, no jumping on people,” he says. “Boundaries establish leadership/authority and make your dog more comfortable in your pack.”
You let your dog sniff all the bushes
Most of the time people want their dog to conform to their lives but a great pet owner makes time for their dog to just be a dog. “You give your dog the gift of a sniff-filled walk or playtime with other dogs, playing in the way that makes the dog, not necessarily the humans, happy,” Benson says.
You walk your dog every day
“Great pet owners make time for a walk; a simple daily walk allows dogs to experience their world and be enriched by it,” Benson says. Walks are good exercise mentally and physically for dogs – not to mention their owners too, she adds.