Choosing the Right Dog for You and Your Family

Research and understand the breed before you adopt a dog. Understand that no one breed is the right type of dog for everyone.

Vaccinate, microchip, and license your dogs.

Spay and neuter your dog as early as possible. Altered pets live longer, happier, and healthier lives. They are also more stable and easier to control when not triggered by their sexual hormones. Females that are in their reproductive cycles, and males who are triggered by their sexual hormones, tend to be far more reactive and aggressive than those who are not.

Abide by any federal, state, or local laws pertaining to pet ownership and the breed of dog you adopt. Research the laws of your state/city/township on your own to ensure you are meeting all of the statutory requirements with regard to ownership of your dog. For example, Bexley and Reynoldsburg do not allow pit bull breeds in their jurisdictions.

Ensure that your apartment, condo, or rental house allows the type or breed of dog you are considering before you take ownership of the dog. Also, check whether your apartment, condo, or rental house has a weight limit for dogs (or a limit on the number of dogs) you are allowed to own while living there.

Always keep your dog on a leash, except in a secure and safe enclosed area (for example, your securely fenced yard). Dogs can be "escape artists" and act unpredictably when unsupervised. Never leave your dog unattended outside. You need to be aware that criminals often steal unattended dogs for use in illegal activities.

Use caution and supervise closely if you take your dog to a dog park. Be sure to follow all rules for the park. Even if you think your dog is wonderful with other dogs, another dog may cause a problem. If your dog injures another dog in the state of Ohio, you are personally liable.

Properly house, feed, and care for your dog. All dogs should be kept inside and only be outside when they are supervised by a person that is capable of controlling the dog.

Owning a dog is for LIFE (the natural life of the dog) - provide needed veterinary care (from a licensed veterinarian) and do not allow your dog to be abused, neglected, or abandoned.

Do not sell, give away, or dispose of your dog. If you must re-home your dog, contact a reputable shelter or rescue. Do not post your dog as "Free to a Good Home."

Enroll your dog in a positive reinforcement training class (training which uses reward-based methods). Ongoing classes for the life of the dog (and you) are strongly recommended.

When out with your dog, pay attention to your surroundings and balance the needs of the public with your dog's needs. This means picking up your dog's mess, not letting him/her jump on or annoy others, and avoiding off-leash dogs that may run up and instigate a fight.

Socialize your dog with humans as much as possible before and after they reach maturity, and be sure that you dog's experiences are ALWAYS positive. Socialization with people should be part of your dog's training for his/her entire life. Relegating a dog to the backyard or keeping it chained 24/7 can lead to disaster. You want your dog to be able to handle new situations with confidence and pleasure.

Never leave a dog alone and unsupervised with other animals or children. Even though you think they are the best of friends, it is better to be safe than sorry! All it takes is one time for an altercation to happen. This is especially true with multiple dogs in one household. Do not take any chances. Children should never be left unsupervised with any dog.

Always monitor your dog when it plays with other dogs. Some dogs like to play rough and can be pretty vocal. Their games often mimic an actual dog fight and can be overwhelming for the other dog.

Give your dog daily exercise. All dogs need an outlet for their mental and physical energy.