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5 Ways to Be a Responsible Dog Parent (and Good Citizen) | Pupford

November 30th, 2023

Filed under Podcasts

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While there are many many ways to raise a pup, there are generally agreed-upon ways to be a responsible dog parent! And being a responsible pup parent makes the world better for all other dogs and humans.

In this episode, I’ll break down 5 easy ways (honestly, very easy) to be a good dog parent citizen. Plus, these ideas will help keep you and your pup safe!

Let’s dive into it ⬇️


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why it matters to be a responsible dog owner

Being a responsible dog parent helps open the door to new opportunities and situations for your dog and all dogs in general.

When people choose to not be responsible dog parents, they ruin experiences, locations, and situations for other dog parents and their pups.

For example, I’ve been to parks that used to allow dogs but no longer do.


Probably largely because of point #1 below…


a good dog parent picking up their dog’s poop

I truly can’t believe this is a topic that still warrants discussion, but it does. Take a walk around any city and you’ll likely find dog poop that should have been picked up.

Here’s a really simple formula to know when you should or shouldn’t pick up your dog’s poop.

1- Are you outside of your own home or yard? 2- Did your dog poop?

If you answered yes to both of these questions, then pick up your dog’s poop! 😜

Not picking up your dog’s poop is a sign that you care more about yourself than those around you. Plus, leaving poop out will often lead to dogs eating poop. Oh 💩!

Here are 3 reasons (not that you really needed them) why you should always pick up your dog’s poop.

  1. It’s really easy
  2. It’s pretty easy
  3. It’s quite easy

Ohhhh, and a few more reasons…

  • Not picking up your dog’s poop is actually illegal in many places
  • Leaving dog poop can contribute to the spread of pests, diseases, and other health concerns
  • Leaving dog poop not picked up often leads to parks, areas, etc. choosing to not allow dogs

This is rule #1 for being a responsible dog parent, just pick up your dog’s poop!

If you’re forgetful when it comes to poop bags, get yourself a poop bag holder and connect it to your dog’s leash. That makes it all but impossible to forget poop bags. Hooray!


a dog getting vaccines to stay healthy and safe in their environment

On a similar note, we have a responsibility to keep our dogs healthy and safe. While there are too many “tasks” to list, here are some easy ways to keep your dog healthy and be a responsible dog parent.

Taking care of your dog’s health, grooming, and vet care is an easy way to be a responsible dog parent. Plus, preventative medicine and grooming can end up saving you loads of money in the long run! Win-win!


human paying attention to their dog

No dog is perfect, and mistakes and accidents will happen.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are a lot of dog accidents and issues (bites being one of them) that can be avoided by paying attention to your dog’s actions.

I’ve been to the park WAY too many times where this happens 👇

  1. Pup parent and pup arrive
  2. Pup parent unclips their dog from the leash
  3. Pup parent spends the next 30 minutes on their phone, not watching their dog

While I am NOT recommending being a “helicopter parent” to your dog, I am 100% recommending paying attention when your dog is out and about with other dogs, humans, etc.

Even when you’re out on a walk, it’s a good idea to pay attention to your dog’s actions. This can help avoid situations where your dog runs into people, cuts people off, eats dangerous food off the ground, and the list goes on.

It’s a good reminder to all of us that dogs can be unpredictable and get into precarious situations.

Paying attention is the first step to becoming a responsible dog parent.


a dog at a restaurant that is calm and relaxed and handling the situation

Part of being a responsible dog parent is knowing your dog’s limits, triggers, and general behavior abilities.

Putting your dog into a situation they can’t handle will ultimately cause problems for everyone around you AND your dog.

An example would be taking an aggressive dog to the dog park. It’s not the best idea.

It would likely end with a dog fight, which no one wants.

And it’s not just parks… some dogs shouldn’t go into dog-friendly restaurants or stores. While I know that can be heartbreaking to hear, some dogs just aren’t meant for those spaces.

If your dog has a major barking problem, taking them to a dog-friendly restaurant wouldn’t be good for you, your dog, or anyone around you.

When dogs end up in situations they can’t handle, that’s when bad things (like bites) happen. Again, having the goal of helping your dog behave well in a human-first environment should be a top priority.

When dogs go into places they can’t handle, it often leads those places to no longer allow dogs. It’s a vicious cycle that can only be broken by taking our dogs to places and situations that they can handle!


not all people like dogs

While I can’t personally wrap my head around it, some people just don’t like dogs. And that is okay.

That understanding is fundamental to being a responsible dog parent.

Just because you love your dog, doesn’t mean everyone wants your dog running up to them.

Just because you love petting dogs, doesn’t mean everyone wants to pet your dog.

Just because you don’t mind dog hair, doesn’t mean everyone else doesn’t mind.

While how we treat dogs in society has improved dramatically in recent decades, there is a long way to go. In my opinion, the route to improved societal acceptance and inclusion for dogs is largely influenced by how dog parents act and behave with their dogs in public.

Every time someone gets rushed by an off-leash dog more people petition to not allow dogs in parks.

Every time someone steps in dog poop on the street more people grow a disliking for dogs.

Every time someone hears a dog barking nonstop while they eat out at a restaurant the less likely restaurants are to continue to allow dogs.

I don’t mean to sound so harsh, but I think it’s an important reality check on how our behavior affects dogs as a whole in society.

Related Reading: Why Dogs Like Being Pet + Where to Pet a Dog


Before we wrap up, I also want to include one other point I think is very important... and that is to follow all leash laws everywhere you go!

I have been in many public places where dogs are required to be on-leash, and an off-leash dog runs up to someone (sometimes with a dog, sometimes with kids, etc.) and I hear the well-intentioned pup parent say, “It’s okay, my dog is friendly!”

Unfortunately, there are a few problems with this. One being that the other dog they may be running up to is fearful/reactive, two, we can think our dog is being friendly, but their body language paints a different picture, and three, the person does not like dogs, is allergic to them, or for other religious or personal reasons does not want a dog to approach them.

Not only can not following leash laws be dangerous, but it is also another way to make it so dogs aren’t allowed in public places.

Before heading out on an adventure with your pup, be sure to check out the leash laws wherever you are going, and if you are going to an off-leash area, make sure your pup’s recall is solid.


recap of how to be a responsible dog owner

As pup parents, we all have a responsibility to be good citizens in the dog-human world! Here are 5 easy ways to be a responsible dog parent.

  1. Pick up poop
  2. Keep your dog healthy with vaccines, spaying/neutering, grooming, etc.
  3. Pay attention in public
  4. Don’t go places your dog can’t handle
  5. Understand that not everyone likes dogs

We can all do our part to help make society a more enjoyable place for us humans and our dog counterparts.

What else do you think is important when it comes to being a responsible dog parent? Tell me in the comments!


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