The Growing Importance of Responsible Dog Ownership in the U.S.

Arthur C. Kosieradzki - SiebenCarey "Know Your Rights" AttorneyAugust 31, 2015

More than 46 percent of U.S. households provide homes to  approximately 77.8 million dogs, according to a 2015-2016  survey by the American Pet Products Association. Dog owners  spend an average of $1,641 a year on care, food, boarding and  toys. With the staggering numbers on dog population – and  money spent on dog care in this country – in mind, it is clearly  more important than ever that dog owners take responsibility  for the comfort of their dogs, and how their dog’s emotional  stability affects the people around them.

Everybody loses when a dog bites – the victim is injured, scared, and shaken while the dog is left feeling threatened and uncomfortable. Not only is it your obligation under state and local law to ensure that your dog doesn’t bite anyone, but it’s the right thing to do. When considering adopting a dog to bring into your home, first consult a veterinarian on what kind of dog may be right for you and your family.  

Responsibly Owning a Dog in a Young Family

Half of the 4.5 million victims of dog bites in the U.S. each year are children. As primary victims of dog bites, the children of this country need dog owners to assume as much responsibility as possible.

     -First and foremost, since so many dog bites happen to young children, you might want to wait until your children are 4 years old or older before bringing home a dog.
     -Remind your child that dogs do not like to be hugged or kissed. Unlike stuffed     animals they will react, and most likely in a negative way.
     -Teach your child to stand completely still if a strange dog is acting threatened. A dog will quickly lose interest in anything stationary, so a completely still person is a safe person.
     -Dogs do not like attention when they are trying to sleep, eat, or protect something. Your children should learn the appropriate time to show affection to a dog.

General Tips
Even if you don’t have children in your home, you should still take precautions in integrating your new dog into your lifestyle nonetheless. Getting your dog to socialize normally is a delicate process, so here are some helpful tips for you:
     -Socialize your pet as a puppy so it feels at ease around people and other animals. Train your dog on basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” “no” and “come” to build a bond of obedience and trust. It is also important to exercise and spend time with your dog as dogs left alone too much can develop behavioral problems.
     -Keep your dog healthy and feeling well with all required vaccinations. Neutering/spaying your pet can also lessen aggression.
     -License your dog and obey leash laws.
     -Use positive training methods with your dog, such as a clicker. Giving your dog a lot of positive attention works in tandem with training them to behave properly to best accomplish a well-behaved dog.

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