#1: They keep their dog out of harm's way.
Accidents can happen to even the most attentive and caring pet owners, but a responsible dog owner doesn't leave their dog unattended in a car on a hot day (or any day, preferably!), doesn't leave them alone outside for long hours without mental or physical stimulation, and protects them from potential dangerous situations.
#2: They use humane, force-free training methods.
A responsible dog owner doesn't rely on quick-fix training methods that involve pain, intimidation, or instilling fear in your dog. A relationship based on mutual trust and respect is formed on a foundation of force-free training methods, rather than on ineffective and inhumane tools like shock collars orelectric fences.
#3: They make time for their dog.
A tired dog is a happy dog. On the other hand, a bored and unstimulated dog can become destructive, anxious, or even aggressive. A responsible pet owner makes time every day to provide some sort of stimulation for their dog, whether it be with interactive toys and games, going for a walk, or a doggie playdate with friends.
#4: They keep up with veterinary care and preventatives.
A big part of responsible dog ownership is keeping up with your dog's healthcare needs. While you may choose to use titer testing in place of annual vaccines, a responsible dog owner is actively aware of their dog's vaccination history and what they may need in the future. They also keep their dog up-to-date on monthly heartworm preventatives, as well as flea and tick preventatives, if needed.
#5: They don't contribute to pet overpopulation.
Spaying or neutering your dog is the easiest way to guarantee that they will not contribute to the overpopulation problem. While there is debate in the veterinary community on the best time for the procedure, having your pet spayed or neutered is one of the most responsible decisions you can make as a dog owner. This is especially true if you live in the United States, where millions of unwanted dogs are euthanized every year.
If you choose not to spay or neuter, you can still be equally as responsible of a pet owner by keeping your dog safely contained at all times, and by choosing not to breed your dog.