Recently, I’ve seen people, read stories, and been involved in a few conversations that have made me realise that maybe not everyone is on the same page when it comes to responsible dog ownership. We, as dog owners, should behave responsibly with and towards our dogs, and by that I mean all of us, all the time.
I’m sure you’re all aware that there are laws surrounding pet ownership, I’m not going to write them out here, but if you’re unsure a quick Google should tell you all you need to know. I’m also not going to have a rant at different things I see that make me mad, or make me worry, or upset me; though I easily could do that too.
I like to think that I’m a responsible dog owner, I follow the law, I look after my dog, I train him using scientifically proven force-free methods, and if it’s called for, I manage him to ensure he stays out of harm’s way. I like to think that in doing so, people notice that I’m responsible; not because I want public attention, or gold stars, or to be told how awesome I am, but because they should see me as ‘just another responsible dog owner’, like all the others.
Sadly, it often seems that I, and others like me, are in the minority. I can’t tell you the number of people I’ve asked to put their dogs back on lead and they’ve not had a lead with them – the most simple of all tools for the dog owner, it could literally be a life-saver, and they don’t have one on them, let alone on their dog.
Oh, but wait…it’s OK because their dog walks alongside them on the pavement, they don’t need a lead.
Well I’m sorry, but it’s not OK – just wait until a car backfires, sending your dog running into the road – it’s not a nice thought, and not a position I wish anyone to be in, but I bet you they wish they’d walked their dog on a lead then.
Responsibility isn’t a huge burden, but if being a responsible dog owner seems like too much hard work, perhaps you should have bought a goldfish instead. I have no problems with people being responsible enough to say they can’t cope with the responsibilities owning a dog brings; but I do have a problem when people can’t cope with them (or worse, don’t want to!) and just carry on as if every thing’s OK. In that situation, I’d rather see one responsible act of dog ownership – finding the dog a new home, or taking it back to the breeder or rescue, than a life worth of irresponsibility.