Responsible Dog Owners Quiz

There’s nothing that puts a burr under my saddle like irresponsible dog owners and handlers.  When I hear of a situation where a dog has either been ill treated, or allowed to behave inappropriately (an extension of ill treatment, if you ask me) my blood pressure rockets.  Here’s what boggles my mind;  if you can’t accept the responsibility that is involved with owning a pet dog, or handling a service dog, then you have no business having a dog in the first place.  It’s simply not enough to love the dog.   Before you entertain the idea of getting a dog, you must be able to answer YES to these questions:

  • Do I REALLY want a dog in my life, or am I just romanticizing how ‘nice’ it would be to have a dog?
  • Can I afford to take care of dog?  Will I be able to pay for food, routine Veterinary care like shots and flea and worming medication, grooming costs, and the unexpected veterinary costs if the dog is ill or injured?
  • Am I willing to commit to giving the dog an opportunity to relieve at least six times daily, in all weather  including snowstorms and heavy rain?
  • Will I have enough time in my life (work, meetings, social life) to ‘walk’ or adequately exercise the dog every day?
  • Do I have the patience to see a dog through training, on my own or with someone who has expertise?
  • Will I be willing to ‘pick up’ after my dog ALL THE TIME?
  • Am I willing to admit that dogs will be dogs, and therefore I must keep my dog on leash whenever there is a possibility of putting my dog, other animals, or people, at risk?
  • Can I get over any disdain I may have for dog hair, or dog slobber?
  • Will I find the time to groom the dog regularly?
  • Can I deal with another animal in my home that might have an ‘issue’ with a new dog’s presence?
  • If I get a new puppy, do I realize that I will probably need to be around the house a great deal initially and I will not get much sleep at first?
  • If I adopt or rescue a shelter dog, do I realize that the dog has a ‘past’ and I will need a lot of patience before it adjusts? And I can’t mold this dog into what I precisely choose?
  • Will I make ‘sorting out my dog’ a priority at all times? (dealing with the dog immediately to ensure that the dog is safe, secure, and not annoying someone)
  • Do I accept that not all people like dogs? that some are afraid of them? so I must see to it that I respect their feelings by keeping my dog in check?
  • Do I swear that I will never yell at, hit, or otherwise strike my dog in anger?
  • Will I take immediate action on complaints about my dog? including barking or property damage?
  • If I live in an apartment or flat, does my lease permit me to have a dog?
  • Am I willing to do whatever I need to ‘safety proof’ my dog’s environment? including installing gates or fences, stowing the delicate coffee table ornaments forever, putting away medications, modifying location of garbage, and other accessible items?
  • Are my children ‘old enough’ to have a dog in their lives?
  • Will I do some research on dog breeds before I go out and get a dog which might turn out to be the wrong one for me?
  • Will I be consistent with the dog’s ‘rules’? (it’s not fair to give the dog permission to lie on the bed one day, and deny it the next.)
  • Will my life be  fairly stable? or will I be relocating often, travelling on business most of the time etc?
  • Will I stay away from ‘puppy mills’ and other ‘side of the road’ dog dealers?
  • Will I engage with my dog routinely, by playing, fussing with, and loving him or her?

These questions are a guide for anyone thinking about having a dog in their life. I hope I scared a few out of ownership…for the sake of the dogs out there waiting for a home. They deserve responsible people in their lives. 


2 responses to “Responsible Dog Owners Quiz

  1. Most dog owners don’t “pick up” after their dog which pisses me off because I do. Park rangers or whatever you want to call them should start cracking down on this, I know for sure the ones in Boston don’t!

  2. Hey Sean! I’m so obsessive about picking up after my dog, that I wrote to City Council to tell them that I thought the exception for Guide Dog handlers to the ‘scoop’ bylaw, should be removed. It gives me (blind handler of a Guide dog) a status I resent. We tend to be even MORE responsible than sighted owners of pet dogs.

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