February is Responsible Dog Owners Month

February is Responsible Dog Ownership Month. So, while planning your seasonal fun, consider these seven ways to celebrate your dog and practice your responsible dog ownership.


Like people, dogs require exercise. While it’s easy to fall back on the traditional walk around the block, responsible dog ownership requires owners to discover the exercise their dog loves. While some dogs live for their daily walk, others may prefer a faster pace, so a run or strenuous hike with elevation changes might be more appropriate. For other dogs, play is critical. A rigorous game of fetch or tug-of-war might prove the best exercise for a playful dog who craves attention and stimulation, along with the physical activity. Some dogs even like to swim or run agility courses.

To celebrate Responsible Dog Ownership this month, expose your dog to many types of physical activity and notice which seems to result in the most energy, joy, and exhaustion. Once you’ve discovered what kind of exercise or dog sport appeals most to your dog, you can celebrate responsible dog ownership by committing to doing the activity regularly.

Health and Wellness

Another important responsibility is scheduling and attending regular veterinary check-ups for your dog, seeking appropriate dental care, and providing proper nutrition. A dog’s medical needs vary with age, so it’s important to discuss with your veterinarian what your dog needs at any particular stage of life. Most dogs require annual vaccinations, but some veterinarians recommend holding off on certain vaccinations after a dog reaches a particular age.

Your veterinarian can also advise you on any necessary dental care for your dog, such as regular cleaning.

Regarding your dog’s nutrition, you may need to consider several factors, including age, weight, activity level, allergies, etc. Your vet can help you ascertain the proper amount of food for your dog and any special dietary needs your dog may have. Some vets may recommend grain-free diets or special food for dogs prone to gastrointestinal issues.

Celebrate Responsible Dog Ownership Month by setting up an appointment with your vet for a regular exam and a discussion of your dog’s vaccinations, dental health, and diet.


There are many fun ways to bond with your dog, from enjoying a morning walk to snuggling on the couch. Training is an excellent way not only to make your dog safer, better behaved, and more social but also to strengthen the bond you share. From Canine Good Citizen to puppy socialization and dog sports, there is sure to be a class or event that you and your dog will enjoy.

We are going to take a short break here.


It’s essential to make sure there’s a plan for your dog if you need to travel without them. As with training, many options exist, including professional dog sitters who make daily visits to your dog, dog walkers who ensure your dog continues to exercise while you’re away, and boarding kennels where your dog can stay while you travel. Celebrate Responsible Dog Ownership Month by ensuring your travel provisions are optimal for your dog’s safety, well-being, and comfort and for your peace of mind.


Socializing your dog is essential at any stage of a dog’s life, from puppy to senior, and can prove a fun and fulfilling way to celebrate responsible dog ownership. Younger dogs and puppies can benefit significantly from early exposure to situations and circumstances that they are likely to encounter in their everyday life. In comparison, older dogs may need help coping with the arrival of new pets or children in the home.

Basic socialization can include regular, positive exposure to other dogs of various sizes and ages, exposure to different types of people, visits to dog parks, meet-and-greets on a leash, etc.

A socialized dog may enjoy a safer and more fulfilling existence since their ability to remain well-mannered in various circumstances can reduce the likelihood of undesirable or dangerous behaviors.


The familiar “safety first” instruction is no less relevant in the context of dog ownership. A concrete way to engage in responsible dog ownership is to ensure that your dog thrives in the most secure environment possible. Ensure your yard features adequate fencing and, if your dog spends a lot of time outside, provide clean, fresh, accessible drinking water and shelter from the elements at all times.

Before heading out for a walk, ensure your dog’s collar, harness, and leash are in good condition. Are all straps sturdy and unfrayed? Are all clips in working order? You may also want to make sure your dog’s equipment fits appropriately. Pups can easily slip out of a collar that is too loose, while a collar that is too tight can be uncomfortable and even restrict a dog’s breathing.

Despite these efforts, dogs may sometimes still find ways to get loose. To increase your dog’s probability of returning home safely in the event of an escape, microchip your dog, enroll in AKC Reunite and outfit your pup with tags displaying their name and contact information.

Emergency Preparedness

From the recent wildfires in the west to the approach of hurricane season in the east, being prepared to take care of your dog in an emergency is an essential part of dog ownership. Emergency preparations for your dog can include outfitting windows in your home with stickers notifying emergency personnel that a dog is inside, setting aside food, water, and medications for use in an emergency, and preparing a canine first-aid kit and “go-bag” for your dog. In advance of an evacuation, identify dog-friendly hotels and create an evacuation plan that includes your dog. To get started, fill out the AKC Reunite Emergency Plan.

So, what do you think? Did you learn anything new about your K9 buddy?

Before we end the show, let’s press pause for a sec…maybe ask yourself, why did this resonate with me? What aspect of my relationship with my K9 buddy could I apply this to? And what am I going to do differently this week to make my dog’s training a little easier? So, take time to mull it over, talk it out with a family member or trusted friend, put some ideas down in your training journal, and then check back next week for our next episode.

And as always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this episode. So, reach out on Twitter at firstpawmedia, and let’s spark a conversation. Until then, keep going! You are doing great! It is time to create the relationship with your dog that you always dreamed of.

Thanks for listening to Dog works radio. Find the show notes for this episode and all others at Alaska dog works (dot)com. Know someone in your life who need help with their dog’s training? Be a hero and share our podcast with them, and we will see you next time.