Responsible Dog Ownership: 3 Expert Tips for Pet Parents

Key takeaways

Being a responsible dog owner is essential. Owning a dog is a huge commitment, and not everyone is prepared or ready for the task.

We're offering our expert tips on how to be a responsible pet parent to help those who may be struggling or those considering getting a new puppy.

We've broken this down into three simple steps: Training, health, and wellbeing.

Quick Navigation

  1. Key takeaways
  2. How to be a responsible dog owner
  3. FAQs
  4. Final thoughts

How to be a responsible dog owner

if you're asking the question 'How to be a responsible dog owner?', then you're on the right track to being one! There are a few ways to ensure you're a responsible pet parent, so let's take a look at them.

Train your dog

Pet owners are responsible for the way their dog behaves. This may seem like a daunting or scary fact because we often feel like we can't predict our dog's behavior, but with the right training and socialization, you should feel confident in your ability to control your pup.
This should start when they are a puppy. The early years are key to developing your dog's obedience and ensuring good behavior. You can try this yourself, or you can invest in a dog trainer or puppy classes.
The essential basic commands to train your dog include:

Asking them to stay

Asking them to come back

Telling them no

Telling them to stop

A German shepherd running away from its owner
With these four commands, you should be able to keep good control of your pup. Dogs will appreciate these boundaries. Without them, they won't know how to behave and will become confused if they are punished for specific behaviors. Not having consistent pet parenting can also lead to issues in the future.
It's important to introduce your dog to many different situations when they are young. This will mean they are accustomed to adapting to new environments and make them less reactive. Use the following checklist:

Take them for a walk in a town: The hustle and bustle of a town or city will help your dog learn to be calm in busy environments. Instead of following every new scent or saying hello to every person who walks by, they'll learn to control these urges for their and your safety.

Visit family and friends: Taking your dog to another home and out of their territory can be stressful for them. Getting them used to this early on in life will help them deal with their stress and teach them how to behave in other people's homes.

Introduce them to children: Responsible pet ownership means that your dog is not a danger to those around you. One of the most important elements of this is keeping children safe. Having controlled interactions with children from a young age will teach your dog to be calm, gentle, and relaxed.

It's important to introduce your dog to many different situations when they are young. This will mean they are accustomed to adapting to new environments and make them less reactive.

A dog surrounded by people

Look after your dog's health

Pet parents should take their dogs for regular veterinary checkups. Our furry friends can't tell us when they are sick or injured, so it is solely our responsibility to notice this and get them the help they need as soon as possible.
A professional will be able to advise you on what your pet needs to be happy and healthy. Alongside this, pet parents should invest in good pet insurance to make sure they can always afford the care their dogs need.
Looking after your dog's health doesn't just mean taking them to the vet. Every day, you should take steps to keep them happy and healthy. This should include:

Grooming: Keeping your dog well groomed will impact their health. Clip their nails, clean their paws, brush their coat, clean them, and brush their teeth regularly. This will help prevent injuries, infection, and pain. It'll also make them more comfortable, improving their overall wellbeing.

Exercise: Every dog is different, but every dog needs a certain amount of outdoor exercise. Not only is this essential for maintaining a healthy weight, but it's also the main way most dogs will get the mental stimulation they need. Research your dog breed to find out how much regular exercise they need. If you can't set aside the hours, invest in a dog walker.

A well-balanced diet: Plenty of dog food brands promise that they contain what your pup needs. However, not all of them deliver. Every dog will need a different diet, depending on their age, breed, and health problems. Get advice from your vet, and then start reading the ingredients on the back of the packets to make sure your dog is getting what they need from the right diet. Always remember to provide a mix of wet and dry dog food, as this will help prevent plaque buildup on their teeth.

An owner bathing their dog

Prioritize their wellbeing

One of the most important aspects of being a good pet owner is prioritizing your dog and their wellbeing. Owning a pup is a huge responsibility and one that will change your life forever. You will have to adapt your lifestyle to suit your dog, which can mean giving up activities you may have previously enjoyed, like traveling or partying.
It's essential your dog lives in a safe environment. If they don't feel comfortable and secure, they may develop behavioral problems and could even run away. To do this, try the following:

Dog proof your home: Don't leave dangerous foods or sharp objects lying around the house. Anything that may do harm to your pup should be out of reach.

Be cautious about visitors: Most dogs will be more than happy to welcome visitors into their home, but it's important you read their body language and understand the situation. The home is their territory and they can feel protective of this. Having a stream of strangers invading their space can be stressful and cause anxiety. Introduce new people gradually and respect your dog's space.

Don't leave them alone: Leaving your dog alone for extended periods of time can cause separation anxiety. They will come to resent their home and won't feel safe within it. This can lead to other health problems as well as behavioral issues.

Make sure they have what they need: Dog toys will offer your pup some mental enrichment when they are playing solo. A good dog bed, some puzzle feeders, and their favorite stuffed animal will mean that they'll be able to entertain themselves when you're busy.

It's essential your dog lives in a safe environment. If they don't feel comfortable and secure, they may develop behavioral problems and could even run away.

A dog on a bed
Top Tip: Always remember to get your dog microchipped. This will ensure they have proper identification on them at all times in case they become lost or are stolen.


What does it mean to be a responsible dog owner?

Responsible dog ownership means you put your dog and their wellbeing first. This means you make sure all of their needs are met and they are happy.

What are the rules for a responsible dog owner?

The rules for a responsible dog owner are divided into five elements. This means you must make sure your dog has a safe environment, a healthy diet, companionship, good health, is trained well, and is well-behaved.

What are the qualities of a responsible pet owner?

The qualities of a responsible pet owner include compassion, respect, dedication, loyalty, and love.

How do you know if someone is a bad dog owner?

You will know if someone is a bad dog owner if their dog is afraid, stressed, or badly behaved. It'll also be clear if they neglect their dog.

How do I report an irresponsible dog owner?

You can report an irresponsible dog owner to the local dog warden or the police.

How do I know if I'm a good dog owner?

You'll know if you're a good dog owner if you put your dog's wellbeing first. Being a good pet parent means you always ensure your dog is as happy as possible.

How do you know when a dog is happy?

You can tell when a dog is happy by their body language and facial expressions. Pet parents will notice a relaxed posture, a wagging tail, an open mouth, and round eyes when their pup is happy.

Final thoughts

While Responsible Dog Ownership Month may only be in September, you should take good care of your pup for the rest of your dog's life.
Good pet parents will be striving to give their dog the best life possible, and just the fact that you have come to this article means you're probably doing a great job already!

Written by

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Lauren Jeffries

In this blog, I combine my two areas of expertise: pets and writing. I share my personal experiences alongside plenty of animal behavior research to help owners look after their pets. I have always lived with furry friends and am now a loving cat mum to two orange kitties.

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