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Unlike their human pack-members, dogs do not have the ability to ponder their actions. In other words, they cannot plot an attack or plan an escape or scheme on how they are going to get the moldy ham out of the trash without getting caught. They simply live in the moment – controlled by conditioning (i.e. past actions and consequences) and good ol’ natural instinct.
When a dog behaves badly, it is usually the owner who is at fault. Being a responsible dog owner requires so much more than just the physical care of the dog. It involves everything from understanding how a canine thinks, to following local ordinances, to being a considerate neighbor.
If you own a dog and wish to be a law-abiding, mindful owner, consider the following to-do list:
- License your dog
- Keep up-to-date on vaccinations
- Obey leash laws
- Prevent nuisance barking
- Provide proper, secure containment
- Spay and neuter your dog
- Pick up all leavings
- Complete obedience classes
- Always supervise play with children
You may adore your dog, but that doesn’t mean everyone else does. And even if they did, there’s a good chance most of them would not enjoy constant barking, surprise packages left on their lawn or aggressive bodily contact. It’s the owner’s responsibility to ensure their dog is an upstanding canine citizen. With a little personal consideration and careful adherence to the law, your dog could be the star of the neighborhood. It’s like that old proverb says: Good fences make good neighbors. Well, this is especially true if you own a dog!