In case you missed it, yesterday was Responsible Dog Ownership Day. 

At least it was according to the American Kennel Club.

What does responsible ownership mean?

If you're reading this, I'm pretty sure you are someone who strives every day to take responsibility for your dog's welfare. I respect and thank you for that. Dogs deserve the best from us mere humans.

However, you should know that I've spent nearly my entire life surrounded by dog people. And when I see how people engage with their dogs, it's definitely not one-size-fits-all!  As you might expect, they don't share cookie-cutter opinions about what's involved in responsible dog ownership.

As a matter of fact, a whole lot of people with dogs view their role as more the parent instead of the owner.

But that's a discussion for another time.  No matter what it's called, responsibility for the well being of a dog, a sentient being that thinks and feels, involves some non-negotiables. 

Here's a checklist for you. Use it to measure the level of your responsible ownership. Self-examination is always a good thing. It shows us how to grow and do better.

The Five Freedoms for Dogs

I've based the following list on the international standards for the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare. 

  1. Freedom from hunger and thirst. Nutritious, appropriate food. Clean fresh water always available.
  2. Freedom from pain, injury, and disease. Current vaccinations, a secure environment without risk to the dog's safety. Proper identification. Grooming, cleanliness, and weight management. Medications, prompt veterinary care to maintain health and to treat illness.
  3. Freedom from discomfort. Shelter from extreme heat or cold. A comfortable place to sleep. A clean, secure environment free from extreme noise, odors, and unsafe surfaces.
  4. Freedom from fear and distress. The opportunity to learn human social norms in a supportive, respectful environment without punishment, bullying, or intimidation. Protection from all causes of mental suffering. Socialization with people.
  5. Freedom to express normal behavior. The opportunity to freely engage in natural, breed-specific activities and physical exercise.  Opportunities to sniff, chew, chase, stalk, vocalize, and run are necessary for a dog's well being. Socialization with dogs and other animals.

There you have it.  Whether you call yourself a dog parent or a dog owner or something else, when it comes to being responsible for a dog, some things really are one-size-fits-all. 

The Five Freedoms are meant for all dogs everywhere. And because we love our dogs so much, it never hurts to run through a mental checklist. Just to be sure we are giving them all they deserve from us.

Be well,


Just a few more things…

PS – Here's an article if you'd like to read a bit more about the Five Freedoms and dogs. http://apdt.ie/index.php/articles/5-freedoms/

PPS – Heads up y'all if housebreaking mistakes are keeping you awake at night! I've got your back – because I'm still accepting founding members into my Foolproof Housebreaking course. The founding member price is such a good deal! I know housebreaking can be a real mess sometimes-trust me! I've been there! But here's what I want you to know. Every single one of those five freedoms above is woven into the content of the course. Not explicitly mentioned, but nevertheless, there in spirit and philosophy. That's how I know it's life-changing good. For you.  For your dog.

Curious? Contact me for the scoop. https://dogwisdomworkshop.com/contact/

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