Being a Responsible Dog Owner

Corey McCusker  00:03
Hello dog lovers, and welcome to Muttz with Mannerz™ Canine Academy Podcast, where we’ll share dog training tips and educational information to help you raise your pup, young or old, so they can be a loving part of your family and your community for life. I’m your host, Corey McCusker, Canine Coach. And along with me, I have my co-host Diane Purser, Canine Educator. 

Diane Purser  00:27
Hi, everyone. Thanks for listening in. 

Corey McCusker  00:30
We have a passion for pups and we thank you for joining us today. Today’s topic is how to be a responsible dog owner. 

Diane Purser  00:39
Having a dog involves a lot of responsibilities. And today we want to discuss the key things that you as an owner need to think about and do to be a responsible dog owner.

Corey McCusker  00:52
Exactly. So today, we’re gonna touch on what you need to do to be a responsible pet owner. One of the things is do your research. What’s the investment involved? And some key things that you need to do for your dog. What does the law require? And how can you help to control the pet population?

Diane Purser  01:15
Like all our podcast information and tips, we know that in most cases, we are not able to give you everything you might need to work on by yourself. So we’ll always at the end of the podcast give you ways to find more information, or information on how to contact Muttz with Mannerz™ for personalized help. So Corey, what’s the first thing an owner can do before they get their dog?

Corey McCusker  01:41
The first thing is to ask yourself some key questions to figure out the dog you want. And the one that would best suit your lifestyle. So let’s start with your lifestyle and your dog knowledge. What previous dog owner experience do you have? What is your activity level? Are you a stay-at-home person or an active outdoor person who wants their dog involved in those activities? Are you a homebody or away from the house a lot, or working away from home? Are you single, or are you in a relationship? Who are your family members who will be in regular contact with the dog? What ages are they? Are they young or senior? How involved will they be with your dog?

Diane Purser  02:30
Those are all really good questions to make sure that you think through carefully. Let’s also talk about our home environment. So some questions there you should be thinking about is, do you live in a condo or apartment with elevators? Do you live in a house with a backyard, and is it open or is it fenced in? Is it a single-level or a multi-level dwelling with stairs? Are you a clean freak where everything is in order and neat, or are you okay with some mess? And potentially potty accidents or hairballs or some things being chewed? Do you live in a city or in a country rural area? And most importantly, do you have other pets your dog will need to respect and play with?

Corey McCusker  03:18
All great points to consider. If you don’t already have a dog, make sure that you’ve done your research and answered those questions when you are selecting the right dog for you and your lifestyle. Avoid making impulse decisions. Because dogs come in all different sizes, shapes and energy levels. And you want to make sure that you do the education, gain the knowledge so that you pick the right new fur-family for your household. And all of this research will make that addition go so much smoother, and they will stay with you for your life. Just a couple of apps that we know or quizzes that we know that you can do your research. One that I use is Perfect Dog. It’s an app that you can find on Apple Store, and it will help you learn more about the breed history and temperaments. Another one that helps you pick your dog based on personality and lifestyle is one that you can find on the OSPCA website, and it’s called Meet your Match®. But just remember no quiz is perfect and can answer the right pet for you. But it will help provide you with some information that will help you make that decision. And for those of you listening and you have your dog, we are sure you did your research and you found the right dog for your family. So now we want to go through what are some of the key responsibilities that you need to be aware of.

Corey McCusker  04:47
The first thing that we want to talk about is the investment that’s involved. The investment when we are referring to that is time and money. When you are bringing your dog home you need to think about what time will be involved in owning that dog. So you need to walk the dog. You need to feed the dog. You need to take the dog to vet appointments. You need to make sure you’re making time for them to play. And also for training, whether you’re doing that training at home or taking them to group classes. You also may need to make sure that you’re taking time for them to groom them yourself or taking them to a professional groomer to get done. There’s also the money aspect that you have to think of that’s involved. Those vaccinations cost money and those vet visits. The grooming will be an expense, whether you’re buying the tools to groom yourself or taking them to a professional groomer. The food that you will be purchasing for them. Is it premium? Is it kibble? Is it raw? So all of that costs money. The toys – the many toys – that you’ll be buying, and their beds or their crates, and also making sure you have the leashes, seatbelts, and collars for them. So all of that is a substantial amount of time and money.

Diane Purser  06:06
So what are some of the key things that we do for our dog? We socialize and train them. We have basic day to day care. We have medical care and coverage that we have to think about. And we also need to prepare for vacation time, and emergencies.

Corey McCusker  06:27
So true. So you mentioned the socialization and training. I just want to touch on that. Proper socialization is very important to the health and happiness of your pup. It’s also a great way to bond and gain trust with them throughout your lives together. So finding supervised playgroups where you can take your dog to socialize will help your dog meet new furry friends and learn how to play properly. Make sure you expose your dog to the world safely with walks, visit to the pet store, parks, introducing them to children, all of the things that they will come into contact with. And I also want to touch on the importance of training, being a trainer. Training your dog exercises their brain and helps them be a well-mannered dog at home and in your community. You can have training games at home that you do, you can take them to group classes, you may want to hire a private trainer to come into your home and help you. Exercise and mental stimulation is also required for every breed. And for every breed, it can be different. So make sure your pup gets the proper amount for their needs to keep them happy and healthy. Many think that it’s just physical exercise, but the mental stimulation works their brain and is just as important.

Diane Purser  07:51
Another thing that we need to think about is just the basic day-to-day care, and that’s part of what you discussed when we were talking about time investment. So you need to think about the food, water and shelter of your dog or where they’re going to sleep and where they’re going to eat, if you’re out of the house. You need to take them for walks and exercise and socialize them, as you mentioned. It’s very important that – and we’ll talk about this a little bit later in the laws or the legal part of owning a dog but – they should be wearing a collar and walking on a leash. They need identification tags in case they get lost and get away from you. Medical care, first aid if required, and of course grooming. And again, this comes down to the breed or the type of dog that you’ve chosen, how much or how extensive each one of these is for you in terms of time and money investment.

Corey McCusker  08:54
Yes, so true. And that’s where again, those things there could be something that you have to commit to every single day. You mentioned about the medical care, and I want to just touch on that. So medical care is so important as your dog will need this from the start with going to that first vet visit and the vaccinations. So vaccination and parasite control is important to keep your dog healthy and to abide by Ontario bylaws. Our dogs have to be vaccinated. It is also very important to stop the spread of infection parasite pass between animals. Many are exploring what options are available as some do go the route of veterinary medicine but there is also holistic vets out there that provide other solutions for you. So find the right option for you. Your dogs may get hurt or ill and will need first aid. So having some knowledge or having that vet or that emergency vet’s number handy so that you can contact them immediately. Something that comes up a lot is people inquire about pet insurance. So should you get pet insurance? Yes, if it’s the right plan, and your pets not very old with any existing health conditions, but you can’t predict when or how your pets will get sick, or how much it will cost. So there will be unexpected veterinarian costs that can add up to thousands of dollars. So some people will start off when they first get their pup with pet insurance. And there are options available out there that you can explore. Another option that people choose instead of pet insurance is putting away some money every month. But even if you tried to save up money in advance, you could come up short. So the pet insurance, if you’ve got it from the start does prevent you from having to take on that lasting debt or forego veterinarian care. So lots of things to think about there with the medical care and couple

Diane Purser  10:58
Yeah, that’s for sure. That’s a big one for everybody.

Corey McCusker  11:01
Mm hmm.

Diane Purser  11:02
So the other part of responsible pet ownership, are there, are some legal requirements that you have to think about. And they touch on things like food and shelter and care, licensing, rabies shots, which you mentioned as part of the vaccination process, and the ever wonderful poop and scoop needs. If you would like to understand these in more detail, there are two areas that you should be fully aware of when you are responsible for a pet. First of all, the government of Ontario has the OSPCA Standards of Care Act, which outlines in detail the minimum requirements of a dog owner for their pet in order to keep them healthy, happy and safe. But on top of that, there’s also your local bylaws. And these bylaws will include things like licensing your pet, rabies vaccinations, the fact that you are not allowed to walk your dog off-leash, which we don’t recommend any way even if your dog is well trained, because you just never know what might catch their attention. And it’s also respectful for other people who might not be comfortable around dogs coming up and meeting them. But in many, many areas, walking off-leash is not legal. You must walk your dog on a leash. And then very importantly, just for everybody’s care, and comfort, and environmentally, when you do have your dog off of your property, and they do poop and do their business, then please pick up after them.

Corey McCusker  12:55
So important. Great points there, Diane.

Diane Purser  13:00
So the other and last area that I’m particularly fond of – because again, Corey, you and I are both such big advocates of making sure that animals get a good home and stay in them for life – is pet population control. So by having your dog or cat sterilized, which is spaying or neutering, you will be doing your part to prevent the birth of unwanted puppies and kittens. Spaying and neutering your pet helps reduce the number of stray and unwanted animals in your community. And reducing the amount of stray animals helps to prevent other pets and wildlife from being injured or killed in fights.

Corey McCusker  13:49
So the other thing that we want to touch on is what happens if you go away. So say that you have your pup and you know, your family wants to take a vacation, and it may be flying somewhere going somewhere where pets aren’t acceptable or not allowed. So you have to think about how are you going to care for your dog? Or how are you going to have somebody else care for your dog? There’s many boarding facilities, maybe you get a family or friend, maybe you have a pet sitter come in. If it’s just for the day you’re going away, a daycare is an option or a dog walker. But making sure that you make arrangements to care for your pet when you are going to be away a long period of time or go on vacation. And finding that daycare or boarding facility that you can trust will really help you save the day. So make sure that you research them – no different than if you were researching a daycare for your child – because your new fur-family is one of your new children. So, you know, research the facility, do a tour. Ask how they’re supervised. What’s the routine like? Just so that you find the right place that you have peace of mind when you’re away that your dog’s being cared for. I think we’ll wrap that up because we’ve gone through a lot of things we’ve touched on. And I mean, we’ve talked about making the time for them, making sure that you’re socializing and training them. You know, you touched on the the day-to-day care. We’ve touched on the medical care and coverage that’s needed. And then being prepared for emergencies and vaccinations or vacation. The other thing is, I just want to touch on one other point, we’ve talked about pet first-aid, but you also have to talk about – we won’t get into it now – if there was ever an evacuation of your home. You need to be prepared for that too. If there was a fire or flood, being prepared for that. So, Diane, any final comments that you want to touch on?

Diane Purser  15:47
No, just like our other podcasts, we know that there’s so much information has come your way. So please reach out to us. But the bottom line is, owning and caring for a dog is a very big responsibility. We want you to have your dog for life and to be able to enjoy all the wonderful benefits of having a dog in your life. So thanks for listening, everyone.

Corey McCusker  16:12
And thank you everyone for joining us today to discuss the importance of being a responsible pet owner. If you would like to learn more or listen to other podcasts, please visit our website at Thank you everyone for joining us. Have a great day, and bye for now.

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