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              Hints on how to be a responsible dog owner:

 

"Understanding your dog and knowing how to control him, develop his potentials and resolve behavior problems, emotional conflicts and frustrations are no less essential than love and respect."  Michael W. Fox, noted author and  veterinarian
 

1. Please have your dog spayed or neutered if it is pet quality.  Be part of the solution to pet overpopulation and not part of the problem.  Leave breeding to the professionals.  Everyone thinks that their dog is the best in the world and should be bred. The only reason anyone should breed is to try and improve the breed and eradicate the serious genetic problems that abound in today’s breeds thanks in part to poor breeding.   A good breeder does not make money from breeding. A reputable breeder offers spay/neuter contracts on pet quality dogs and conducts health and genetic screenings(OFA and CERF) on all breeding stock . According to the Humane Society "every year between 6-8 million dogs and cats enter US shelters, some 3-4 million of these animals are euthanized because there are not enough homes for them" . For more info on breeding please go to the following sites:
           http://www.dog-play.com/ethics.html
           
http://www.akc.org/find-a-match/#slide1

       How responsible dog breeders differ from backyard breeders
                                              
 

2. Remember that your dog has been bred over the centuries to be a companion animal.     Please don’t get a dog only to chain it out in the yard or keep it in the basement.  You  need to question your motives on why you even have a dog if this is you. Don't purchase a dog because you want a protective guard dog. It is cheaper to buy a security system for your home, your insurance company won't drop you, and your neighbor's child won't get bit.
 

3.  Please ID your pet in some way- microchipping and tattooing are just two of the latest methods to ID your dog.  Many local pet stores have order forms for tags or in-store tag making machines.  A temporary ID method that costs nothing and only 5 minutes of your time is to write your phone # and address on your dog’s collar in waterproof permanent marker.This is a nice back up method in case your dog loses its tag.  Our local animal control officers have told us that 90% of the dogs they find have no form of ID.
 

4. Try to feed your pet a good quality dog food.  Discuss what is best with your vet.  Cheap brands of dog food are generally filled with fillers, such as beet and threshing room floor by products that make your dog feel full and increase the amount of stool. 
 

5. Always supervise any interaction your dog has with a child.  Most  dog bites occur when the parents back was turned only for a minute.  Make sure your dog is well socialized around children and knows it’s place in the family pack.  Many dogs view children as a subordinate member of the pack that can be dominated.
 

6. Socialization and training:  Don’t neglect making your dog a trusted member of the family.  Go to dog obedience classes, start at a young age, as soon as it has received all its shots.  Don’t wait 6 months to a year to begin training- training starts as soon as you bring them home.  If you wait too long certain behaviors become ingrained and are harder to retrain.
 

7. Know the right ways to play with your dog.  Some great games are hide and seek and fetch/catch.  Many trainers feel that tug of war encourages aggression in dogs as it is  a battle to see who wins.   Provide plenty of toys for your dog to discourage boredom.  A dog that has toys is a dog that will be less destructive in the house!
 

8.  Please remember that your dog has a life while you are at work 8 hours a day.  Some people think they have a stuffed animal that only comes to life when they are home.  Don’t get a dog only to leave it crated for 10 hours.
 

Leighthouse Kennels, Ron and Pat Leight


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leighthouse@rochester.rr.com