Fido Celebration in September | Federation of Southeast Iowa

Melinda Wishman

September is the month of responsible dog ownership. According to a 2021 survey, 69 million American households own at least one dog. With this in mind, please allow me to climb on my soapbox.

If you are considering adding a dog (or another dog) to your life, choose carefully before committing to the animal that we hope will be with you for the next 15 years.

Throw the “Adopt, Don’t Shop” tagline out the window. You should take a long time to do reproductive research. This “shopping” will help you make an informed decision. Choose the type of dog that fits your lifestyle. Active or relaxed? Long or short hair? Snuggly dog ​​lap or hiking companion? Once you have weighed all the variables, you can adopt from a shelter or rescue group or purchase from a reputable breeder. The important thing is that you choose the type of dog that is right for you, regardless of whether it is a heritage breed bred for a specific purpose or a dog looking for a second chance. Shelters and rescues are full of decisions made by impulse-buying people without “shopping.”

Make your dog a good citizen. Keep it tied in public places. Parks and trails for everyone to enjoy Not everyone loves dogs. He shouts “He’s friendly!” While a 90-pound Labrador charging mom with her toddler and baby in a stroller doesn’t excuse you from your dog’s lack of control.

Get your dog accustomed to handling: paws, nails, mouth, ears and tail. Get him into the habit of holding him, tying him up, and brushing his coat. Your vet will thank you when it’s time for routine exams and office procedures.

rational nutrition. An astonishing number of American dogs are obese. Like the same condition in humans, this puts an enormous strain on their bodies. Dog food companies are in the business of selling dog food and packaging guidance is only a starting point. Can you easily feel a dog’s ribs, hip bones, and spine? If not, cut back on the dog’s food. Unless your dog is a truly working farm dog or sled racer in Alaska, he probably doesn’t need the maximum amount of food included in the bag. My two Australian sons, who are actively trained and featured in the venues, are doing well for just under the minimum recommended amount.

Teach your dog to accept being in a cage. This is not a punishment. It’s safety for unsupervised dogs and peace of mind for humans. He should not live in his crate but should be comfortable staying in in case of an emergency or if non-dog-loving relatives come to visit.

Make sure to keep it polite. Do it yourself or rent it.

Train basic commands, especially come and stay.

Make sure he exercises regularly. Tired dogs are remarkably well-behaved.

Don’t blame the dog for mistrust. It’s an animal with animal instincts, not a “fur baby.” You are the human with a large cerebral cortex and an opposite thumb.

If you haven’t noticed, Responsible Dog Ownership Month isn’t so much about our dogs as it is about us. Municipal problems with dogs in general, quarrels between neighbors about barking or property destruction, “no dog” signs popping up in outdoor recreation areas and a whole host of other negative publicity related to dogs can be avoided with informed and responsible care. This is a month that should be celebrated throughout the year.

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