Promises to My Dog
By Sherry Woodard, Best Friends animal behavior consultant
Bringing a dog into your family causes great joy all around. But, making a commitment to a dog is much like making a commitment to a human being: Both relationships require daily care and nurturing in order to flourish. So, as you embark on this new commitment, here are a dozen promises to consider making to your dog:
- I promise to have realistic expectations of the role my dog will play in my life. I will remember that she is a dog, not a furry little human; she cannot satisfy all my emotional needs.
- I promise to protect my dog from dangers, such as traffic and other creatures who might want to hurt her.
- I promise to keep her well dressed with a collar containing up-to-date I.D.
- I promise to learn kind and gentle training methods so that she can understand what I am trying to say.
- I promise to be consistent with my training, since dogs feel secure when daily life is predictable, with fair rules and structure.
- I promise to match her loyalty and patience with my own.
- I promise that my dog will be part of my family. I will make a commitment to schedule time every day to interact with her so that she will feel loved and will not develop behavior problems from a lack of stimulation and socialization.
- I promise to seek professional help if my dog develops behavior problems that become unmanageable.
- I promise that my dog will have opportunities to exercise and honor some of her instincts. She’ll have walks and runs outside of her daily territory, so she can sniff and explore.
- I promise to provide veterinary care for her entire life. I will keep her healthy and watch her weight.
- I promise that if I move, marry, have a baby, or get divorced, she will continue to share my life, since she is a beloved family member.
- I promise that if I absolutely must give her up, I will find an appropriate home for her that is as good as or better than my home.