10 Tips for a Happy Life With Your Dog

Mark your calendars, folks! September 20 is the AKC's Responsible Dog Ownership Day, which celebrates the bond between people and their pets. The RDO Day events, which are held in partnership with more than 5,000 dog clubs and other pet-related organizations from around the country (that includes your town, too!), will continue through the rest of September and beyond. Find an RDO Day event near you by clicking here. 

In honor of this nationwide initiative, the AKC is trying to get the message out about how to be the best owner your pet could ask for:

1. Take your dog for a walk, throw a ball around, or go for a run. Exercise and mental stimulation promote good health and prevent destructive behaviors.
2. Microchip your dog and enroll him or her in a pet recovery service. Keep your contact information updated so you’ll be reunited if your dog is ever lost or stolen. Read about a woman who got her stolen dog back six years after he went missing.
3. Take care of your dog inside and out with regular grooming, quality food, and vet appointments. Keep all vaccinations current.
4. Expose your dog to new people, places, and other dogs by taking him to the park, to the pet-supply store, or on a trip through town. Socialization will help your dog lead a happy, well-adjusted life.
5. Keep your neighbors happy by scooping poop on walks and respecting leash laws.
6. Take your dog through the Canine Good Citizen test to show that he or she is a well-mannered member of the community. “Sit,” “stay,” and “come” are important and potentially life-saving commands. Learn to teach sit here, and to teach come here.
7. Don't tie your dog outside a store or leave him in your car—pet theft is on the rise nationwide, and dogs can succumb to heat stress in a matter of minutes. Leave your dog home if you need to run errands.
8. Keep your dog safe in a car by using a crate or by attaching him to a seat belt with a harness.
9. Find a job or activity for your dog like therapy work, agility, or Rally. A busy dog is a happy dog!
10. Show that you’re dedicated to responsible dog ownership by signing the AKC Responsible Dog Owner Pet Promise here.