Tips for a happy life with your dog

Dogs bring us so much love and enjoyment that we owe them a lifetime of care and commitment to their health and well-being. Of course this includes playtime and treats, but don’t forget about microchipping, vet visits, training and poop-scooping.

In honor of AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Days, here are eight ways to ensure that you and your dog lead a happy life together:

— Take your dog for a walk, throw a ball around or go for a run. Exercise and mental stimulation promotes good health and prevents destructive behaviors.

— Take care of your dog inside AND out with regular grooming, quality food and vet appointments. Keep all vaccinations current.

— Expose your dog to new people, places and other dogs by taking him to the park, to the pet store, or on a trip through town. Socialization will help your dog lead a happy, well-adjusted life.

— Keep your neighbors happy by scooping poop on walks and respecting leash laws.

— Take your dog through the Canine Good Citizen test to show that he or she is a well-mannered member of the community. “Sit,” “stay” and “come” are important and potentially life-saving commands.

— Don’t tie your dog outside a store or leave him in your car. Pet theft is on the rise nationwide, and dogs can succumb to heat stress in a matter of minutes. Leave your dog at home if you need to run errands.

— Keep your dog safe in a car by using a crate or by attaching him to a seat belt with a harness.

— Show that you’re dedicated to responsible dog ownership by signing the AKC Responsible Dog Owner Pet Promise at

Responsible dog owners can find an AKC Responsible Dog Owner Day event to attend in their area at

First Published August 17, 2014 8:00 PM