First of all, let's remember that this discussion isn't dealing with canine behavior, operant conditioning, and the like. We are discussing if you are a responsible dog owner. If this seems a little confusing to you, please let me give some ideas that will help you be the responsible dog owner:
- Get your dog spayed or neutered. They live longer and have healthier lives.
- Provide proper identification. If your gets out, you have a far better chance in getting him back if he has a dog or electronic tag. There are also GPS products that fit on your dog’s collar. These tools will send you a message when your dog leaves the area and will guide you right to him. (He can run, but he can’t hide!)
- Make sure you get the appropriate training for both you and your dog. This will help build the trust, respect, and bond between you and your dog. Both of you will be better for it.
- Be sure to have regular appointments with your veterinarian. Discovering problems early will provide your dog with a far better life and will cost you far less in the long run.
- Make time for your dog. Schedule play dates and include him in your regular family activities. Make sure that your dog feels like a family member.
- Exercise with your dog daily. Exercise is one of the four major functions required for any dog. Fetch, walkies, or any interactive exercise will keep him healthy and build a lasting bond between you and your dog.
- Provide your dog with shelter. He should have his place where he can simply go and "hang out". The best shelter is a dog crate. This is the place where only he can go and where he will always feel safe.
- Whenever you travel for any distance, make sure that he is always safe in the car. Always have him in a harness that is properly secure when driving. Don't have him in your lap or the passenger seat!