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TA B L E OF CONTE NTSIntroduction - 3Think First - 4Make the Commitment - 9Get Ready - 12Bring Your Dog Home - 15Keep Your Dog Healthy - 18Keep Your Dog Safe - 24Be a Friend - 28Train Your Dog - 33Breed Responsibly - 36Get Involved - 38Be a Canine Ambassador - 40Who We Are and What We Do - 44

INTR OD U CT IONAmong companion animals, dogs are unmatched in their devotion, loyalty and friendshipto humankind. Anyone who has ever loved a dog can attest to its hundred-fold return.The excitement your dog shows when you come home, the wagging tail at the sound ofthe leash being taken from its hook, the delight in the tossing of a tennis ball, and the headnestled in your lap-those are only some of the rewards of being a dog owner.Owning a dog is not just a right, it is a responsibility. These animals depend on us for, atminimum, food and shelter, and deserve much more. If you are considering taking a doginto your life, you need to think seriously about the commitment that dog ownershipentails. If you already have a dog, you need to consider if you are fulfilling all yourobligations as its owner.The AKC is committed to helping dog owners raise happy, healthy dogs. The list below iscertainly not exhaustive, but it contains some of the essential ways you can be the bestdog owner you can be.

ch ap t e r on eTHINK FIRST

T H I NK FI R STDog ownership is not something to be entered into lightly. Owning a dog is a longterm emotional and financial commitment. Before deciding that a certain dog isright for you, you must make an honest assessment as to whether your home isright for any dog.EVALUATE YOUR LIFEST YLEIf you get a dog, he will become a part of your life. You need to make sure thathe’s suited for your lifestyle. For example, if you are athletic, you will probably notbe happy with a dog that has a low energy level. If you are extremely neat, youwill probably want a dog that doesn’t shed much. All aspects of your family’s life hobbies, activities, personalities, and schedules - should be evaluated before youget a dog.Based on your evaluation, determine what qualities you want in a dog. Considersize, energy level, grooming needs, trainability and temperament. Do you want aguard dog or a lap dog? Is it important that your dog get along with children? If yourent your home, are there restrictions on height, weight or breed? Answer thesequestions now - once you bring a dog home, it can be heartbreaking to realize thatyou made the wrong choice.American Kennel ClubE-Book - 5Previous page: FogStock/FogStock Collection/ThinkstockMAKE A LIST

T H I NK FI R STCHOOSE A BREEDOnce you have made your list of ideal characteristics, do some research to find whichbreeds fit that profile. Go to your local library, attend a dog show, and visit the AKCwebsite. Narrow your choices to the breed that seems right for you.1. Get a ReferralYou have a much better chance of being satisfied if you get your dog from aresponsible, ethical breeder whose primary concern is to produce dogs of highquality, good health and stable temperament. The AKC has a Breeder Referralcontact for each recognized breed. These individuals can put you in contact withbreeders or rescue organizations in your area.2. Make ContactGet in touch with the breed contacts in your area. Let them know that you areinterested in their breed. Be able to demonstrate that you have put thought into yourchoice. Don’t be discouraged if the first breeder you talk to does not have puppiesavailable right away. That person may know another breeder in the region.3. Ask QuestionsAsk the breeder any questions you can think of about the breed. When you finda breeder you’re comfortable with, ask to visit the kennel and view the dogs onthe breeder’s premises. Inquire about health problems of the breed, and what canbe done to prevent or control them. Find out what kinds of activities, includingcompetition, the breeder’s dogs participate in and enjoy. The breeder’s dogs are apreview of what your dog will be.American Kennel ClubE-Book - 6

T H I NK FI R STCHOOSE A BREED4. Consider an Older DogPuppies aren’t for everyone. If an older dog better fits your lifestyle, check the AKCwebsite to find a breed Parent Club and/or breed rescue. These organizations rescuepurebred dogs that have been lost, abandoned or surrendered due to the death or illnessof their owners. Most rescue dogs have been spayed or neutered and are screened forhealth and temperament problems. Rescue is a not only a great source for purebred dogs,it’s also a way to save the life of a dog in need.5. Expect QuestionsA responsible breeder or rescue contact will ask you extensive questions about the typeof home you can offer a dog. These people are as committed as you are to making theright match between you and a dog. Give honest answers to their questions. Rememberthat, due to their experience in the breed, they know what issues are important in placingone of their dogs.6. Prepare to WaitAvailability varies. Be aware that a puppy or dog of the breed you’ve decided on may notbe easy to find. Responsible breeders do not breed often, and many times the puppiesof a planned breeding are already spoken for. Just remember that a good dog is worthwaiting for.American Kennel ClubE-Book - 7

T H I NK FI R STCHOOSE A BREED7. Skip the Holidays Design Pics/ThinkstockMany people try to buy puppies as Christmas gifts for children or other family members.Most breeders do not recommend this. You should be prepared to give a new puppy yourundivided attention, and that is rarely possible during the busy holiday season. A betteridea is to give dog-related gifts - toys, leashes, grooming tools - and then bring your puppyhome when all the excitement has died down.American Kennel ClubE-Book - 8

ch ap t e r t woMAKE ACOMMITMENT

make aCO MMI TME NTPICK YOUR PETWhen the time has come to select your pet, consider your options carefully. Respect yourbreeder’s input about which puppy is right for you. If you are rescuing an older dog, askyour contact person for information on its health, temperament, behavior and history.GET IT IN WRITINGPrevious page: Creatas Images/ThinkstockInformation about the sale or adoption should be in writing. The contract should include,for example, details regarding any fees, spay-neuter agreements, health guarantees,terms of co-ownership, restrictions on breeding, and living arrangements. It should alsoinclude instructions on what to do if the dog, despite your best efforts, simply doesn’twork out for you or your family. Most responsible breeders will insist that the dog bereturned to them.American Kennel ClubE-Book - 10

make aCO MMI TME NTGET YOUR PAPERSGet your AKC registration application from the breeder when you purchase the puppy.Make sure the breeder completes the appropriate sections of the form and signs it. Thebreeder can also help you fill out your section correctly.REGISTER YOUR DOGSend the completed, signed registration application to the AKC. Your dog will thenbecome part of the nation’s largest registry of purebred dogs and as well as being eligiblefor a variety of competitive events and can also activate the Complimentary 60-Day Trialof AKC Pet Insurance*. If you rescue a dog, consider applying for a Purebred AlternativeListing/Indefinite Listing Privilege (PAL/ILP) number. This number will allow your dog toparticipate in some companion events.American Kennel ClubE-Book - 11

ch apte r t hre eGET READY

G E T R E ADYPREPARE YOURSELFGet ready for your new friend before you bring him home, to make sure the transitionwill be as smooth as possible. Buy food, treats, a collar and leash, toys, grooming tools andother necessities in advance so your dog or puppy will have everything he needs.MAKE A SCHEDULEYou and your family members should decide who will be responsible for food, water,walking, exercise, clean-up and grooming. Post a schedule of tasks in a visible area of thehouse to remind everyone of their responsibilities.DOG-PROOF YOUR HOMEPrepare your home before your new dog arrives. Move breakables or “chewables” tohigher ground. Make electrical cords inaccessible to curious paws and noses. Block offany area of the house that you want off-limits to the dog. Put the lid down on your toiletand your shoes up in your closet. Block access to any house or garden plants that may betoxic to dogs.It is essential that you have a secure method of keeping your dog on your property. Checkyour fence for spots vulnerable to chewing or digging. If your yard is not fenced, considera large dog run or invisible fencing. If your property is not fenced in some way, emphasizeto family members that the dog must be leashed at all times when taken outdoors.American Kennel ClubE-Book - 13Previous page: markcarper/ThinkstockSET A CONTAINMENT POLICY

G E T R E ADYGET A COLL ARYour dog should wear a flat leather or nylon collar with a buckle at all times, except whenin a crate. (The buckle can catch on the crate and cause injury.) The collar should be tightenough that it will not slide over the dog’s ears, but loose enough that you can fit twofingers between the collar and the dog’s neck. Check the fit of the collar often, especiallyif you have a fast-growing puppy.MAKE A BEDEvery dog needs a quiet place to call his own. Create a comfortable area, whether a crate,a mat or a pile of blankets, for your dog to go to when he needs rest or privacy.BUY SOME TOYSProvide your dog with a variety of toys to prevent him from playing with your socks andshoes, your morning paper, or your child’s favorite doll. Get some toys that you and yourdog can play with together, such as balls and plush toys, and some things to keep him busywhen he’s alone, such as chewies or rope bones. Never leave your dog unattended withany toy that has small, detachable parts.FIND A VETERINARIANYou should choose a veterinarian for your dog as soon as possible. Have your dogexamined by the vet within a few days of his arrival. Give your vet copies of the dog’shealth records, and set up a vaccination and check-up schedule.American Kennel ClubE-Book - 14

ch apte r fo u rBRING YOURDOG HOME

br in g you r dogHOMEAt last! You’ve made all the preparations, and it’s finally time to bring your new friendhome. Give him the best welcome possible. With love, patience and mutual respect, hewill feel like part of the family in no time.LET YOUR DOG ADJUSTGive the dog time to adjust to his new home. The dog is bound to feel insecure andfrightened by a change in environment, and a pup may be homesick for his mother orlittermates. Show him to his crate or bed, and where to find food and water. Then leavehim alone to explore the new surroundings.NAME YOUR DOGYour dog will need a good name. Your breeder may have suggestions or evenrequirements for his AKC-registered name, but his call or informal name is up to you.Older adopted dogs can adjust quickly to a new name.MAKE INTRODUCTIONSPrevious page: shironosov/ThinkstockIntroduce your dog to your household slowly. Many pairs of hands petting him at oncemay overwhelm him. Later, introduce him to neighbors, regular visitors and other familymembers. Give your dog a sense of who your - and your dog’s - friends are.American Kennel ClubE-Book - 16

br in g you r dogHOMEINTRODUCE OTHER PETSOther companion animals in your home should also be properly introduced to your newdog or puppy. Don’t expect them to get along right away, and don’t try to force them toplay together. Give them time to adjust to one another.HOUSETRAINWhichever method of housetraining you have chosen - crate training, paper training orlitter box - make sure that all members of the family enforce it consistently. Accidentshappen, so have a procedure for clean-up.SET HOUSE RULES bodza2/ThinkstockTeach your dog from the beginning what is and is not appropriate behavior. If somethingis “OK” today, your puppy willthink it’s OK forever. Makesure that every member ofthe family enforces the houserules. Consistency is the keyto having a well-behaved pet.American Kennel ClubE-Book - 17

ch apt e r f iv eKEEP YOUR DOGHEALTHY

ke e p you r dogH EALTHYGO TO THE VETERINARIANSet up a schedule for regular check-ups with your veterinarian. Ask the vet questionsabout your dog’s diet, behavior, activity level or other concerns. Contact the veterinarianat once if your dog seems ill or in pain. As a special registration benefit, the AKC hasarranged a Complimentary 60-Day Trial of AKC Pet Insurance* for newly registeredpuppies. Details about this special complimentary benefit will be sent to you shortly afterregistration.FEED A GOOD DIETWork with your veterinarian or breeder to find the food that is best for your dog’s age,size and activity level. Keep the diet consistent. Always provide plenty of fresh, cleanwater.EXERCISEDogs need regular exercise to ensure continuing good health. Take your dog for walks,run around in the yard, throw a ball around - anything to get him up and moving. This willbenefit his health and could prevent behavior problems.VACCINATEDogs should follow a strict schedule of vaccinations to prevent diseases. Keep your dogcurrent on his vaccinations, following the schedule recommended by your veterinarian.Keep a copy of your dog’s vaccination records handy.American Kennel ClubE-Book - 19

ke e p you r dogH EALTHYPREVENT DISEASEYou can take steps to prevent other diseases not covered by the regular series ofvaccinations. Depending on the area of the country you live in, your dog could be at riskfor diseases such as heartworm and Lyme disease. Ask your veterinarian for advice onprevention.REPEL FLEAS AND TICKSAside from discomfort, parasites such as fleas and ticks can cause serious diseases.Keep your dog, his bedding, and your home free from parasites by using the methodrecommended by your veterinarian.KNOW YOUR DOG’S PAT TERNSYou should become familiar with your dog’s patterns in terms of eating, drinking, sleepingand relieving himself. Any major variations in these patterns could indicate illness andshould be reported to your veterinarian.PROVIDE CHEW TOYSDogs never outgrow the need to chew. Protect your possessions by providing a variety ofchew toys to satisfy your dog’s urges.American Kennel ClubE-Book - 20

ke e p you r dogH EALTHYBATHE YOUR DOGA clean dog is a healthy dog. Bathe your dog on a regular basis appropriate to his breedand environment. Overbathing can be harmful to a dog’s skin. Use a good shampooand be sure to rinse well. If bathing your dog is more than you can handle, take him to agroomer or veterinarian for help.GROOM YOUR DOGAll dogs should be groomed regularly for health and best appearance. Some short-coatedbreeds need just a quick brushing every week, while some longer-coated breeds needdaily brushing to prevent matting and to reduce shedding. If your dog requires clipping orsculpting, you may want to consult a professional groomer.CLIP THOSE NAILSKeeping your dog’s nails short will keep him comfortable, prevent injury to his feet,and may save the surface of your floors. If you can hear your dog’s nails click on a hardsurface, they need to be trimmed. Ask your veterinarian for advice on clipping your dog’snails yourself.CLEAN THOSE TEETHTo prevent tooth decay and gum disease, clean your dog’s teeth regularly. Most dogs willaccept a “toothbrush” if introduced to it slowly and gently. You can also give your dogproducts such as hard biscuits, rope bones and nylon chews to keep his teeth clean.American Kennel ClubE-Book - 21

ke e p you r dogH EALTHYPREVENT OBESIT YKeep your dog healthy by maintaining him at an appropriate weight. Feed him a wellbalanced diet and give him plenty of exercise. Don’t give in to begging - “people food” isgenerally bad for dogs.KNOW YOUR BREED’S HEALTH RISKSYou should be aware of common health problems in your breed, how to prevent them,and how to recognize their onset. For example, some giant breeds are prone to bloat,while some short-faced breeds are prone to respiratory problems. Ask your breeder orveterinarian for information about any signs or symptoms you should watch for in yourpet.PROTECT FROM POISONSMake sure that your home and yard are free from poisonous substances, such asantifreeze, which tastes good but can cause serious illness or even death. Keep yourveterinarian’s number handy in case of accidental ingestion.As your dog ages, his needs will change. He may require a different diet, need moresleep, and be less active. Do what you can to keep him comfortable. Your dog may notbe as “fun” as he once was, but he is the same dog you loved as a puppy. You should doeverything you can to pamper him in his final years.American Kennel ClubE-Book - 22 AVAVA/ThinkstockBE ALERT TO CHANGING NEEDS

ke e p you r dogH EALTHYPROTECT FROM POISONSMake sure that your home and yard are free from poisonous substances, such asantifreeze, which tastes good but can cause serious illness or even death. Keep yourveterinarian’s number handy in case of accidental ingestion.BE ALERT TO CHANGING NEEDSAs your dog ages, his needs will change. He may require a different diet, need moresleep, and be less active. Do what you can to keep him comfortable. Your dog may notbe as “fun” as he once was, but he is the same dog you loved as a puppy. You should doeverything you can to pamper him in his final years.END SUFFERINGIf, due to illness or old age, your dog reaches a point where his quality of life is severelycompromised, arrange to end his life humanely. Letting go is sometimes the kindest thingyou can do. Don’t prolong the suffering because you fear the pain of losing your dog.American Kennel ClubE-Book - 23

ch ap t e r s ixKEEP YOUR DOGS AFE

ke e p you r dogS A FEI.D. YOUR DOGYour dog should wear anidentification tag with yourname, address and phonenumber at all times. This willincrease the chances of your dogbeing returned to you if he is lostor runs away.Microchips and tattoos aremethods of permanentlyidentifying your dog, and can be invaluable in recovering your dog should he becomelost. You may wish to enroll your dog in AKC’s affiliate, the AKC Reunite service, whichis the nation’s largest database of microchipped pets.WATCH THE HEATDogs can succumb to heat stress in a matter of minutes. Do not leave your dog inan unventilated vehicle when the temperature is high. When your dog is outside, heshould have a shady place to lay down and plenty of fresh, cool water.American Kennel ClubE-Book - 25Previous page: Pekic/Thinkstock; this page: jclegg/ThinkstockCONSIDERMICROCHIPS ORTAT TOOS

ke e p you r dogS AFEPROVIDE SHELTERYour dog needs a sheltered area for the time he spends outside. The shelter shouldprovide shade in summer and warmth in winter.TRAVEL SAFELYKeep your dog safe in the car by using a crate, or by attaching the dog to a seat beltwith a harness. Never let your dog ride free in the back of a pickup truck, or allow himto hang his head out of the car window.FIND A PET-SIT TER OR BOARDING KENNELMake arrangements for your dog’s care when you go away. Have a friend or reliablepet-sitter come over to tend to the dog, or find a good kennel for boarding. If you optfor boarding, try to inspect the facilities before you drop your dog off.American Kennel ClubE-Book - 26

ke e p you r dogS A FEPREPARE FOR DISASTERBe prepared to care for your dog in the event of a disaster such as fire, flood,hurricane or earthquake. Make an emergency kit with clean water, food, and first aidequipment. Find out in advance if the evacuation shelters in your area allow animals. Ifnot, develop alternatives.ESTABLISH AN EMERGENCY CONTACTEnlist a family member or friend to take care of your dog in the event of a suddenillness, hospitalization or other emergency. This person should ideally be someoneyour dog has spent some time with and is comfortable with. Leave a list of generalcare instructions in a safe place.MAKE A WILLYou should make arrangements for the safety and care of your pet in the event of yourdeath. Don’t assume that a family member will step in to take care of the dog.TAKE PICTURESOf course, you will want a picture of your dog to grace your desk or to send as aChristmas card. More importantly, a current photo will be invaluable in the event thatyour dog is lost.American Kennel ClubE-Book - 27

ch apt e r s e v e nBE A FRIEND

be aFR I E NDPL AY!Dogs, of course, love to play. Set aside time each day for play sessions. Apart fromthe obvious benefit of having fun together, play also provides an outlet for your dog’senergy.GO ON WALKSTake your dog on frequent walks. He will enjoy exploring the neighborhood and willbenefit from the exercise. Make sure that you have a good strong leash and that youmaintain control of the dog at all times.TALK TO YOUR DOGYour dog won’t understand your words, but he will enjoy the sound of your voice.Talking to your dog will make him feel involved. You can also use different voice levels topraise or correct your dog’s behavior.GIVE TREATSYour dog will always appreciate a treat, and treats can be used as a supplement to hisregular diet, as well as an excellent training aid.SWITCH OUT TOYSKeep your dog entertained by rotating his toys. Put “old” toys out of sight for a monthor two and then bring them out again - your dog will enjoy them just as much as whenthey were new.American Kennel ClubE-Book - 29

be aFR I E NDGIVE YOUR TIMEYou are the center of your dog’s world. You may be tired after a long day at work, butyour dog has spent the day anxiously awaiting your return. Reward that loyalty withyour time. Pet him, talk to him, play with him, laugh with him. Let your dog know youvalue his company.FIND THE “SPOT” WilleeCole/ThinkstockScratch your dog’s belly often. If you find the “spot,” so much the better.American Kennel ClubE-Book - 30

be aFR I E NDLEAVE THE RADIO ONTry leaving the radio or television on when you leave your dog alone. The noise willkeep him company.PL AN ACTIVITIES WITH YOUR DOGInclude your dog in family activities. Take him to the park or on outings to the beach, orto special activities such as the “Dog Olympics” or dog parades. Your dog will love beingout and about with you.GIVE A MASSAGEDogs love to be petted, and recent studies have shown that structured massages maybe beneficial to your dog’s health and behavior. They may also be very relaxing for you!MAKE THAT TAIL WAGYour dog’s tail is a barometer of his emotions. Do what you can to keep it happilywagging.American Kennel ClubE-Book - 31

be aFR I E NDGO ON TRIPSDogs can add another element of fun to a family vacation. Check ahead for lodging thataccepts dogs. If flying, ask about travel accommodations for your dog when you makeyour reservations.EASE SEPARATION ANXIET YYour dog will want to be with you at all times, but for most people that simply isn’tpossible. Help your dog get used to being alone. Leave him each day with a minimum offuss. When you come home, greet him calmly. This will teach him that your leaving is notsomething to be concerned about.GET ANOTHER ONE!Dogs are pack animals by nature and generally enjoy the company of other dogs. Yourdog may benefit greatly from having a companion to play with. Be as conscientiousabout getting a second dog as you were about getting the first; multiple dog ownershipisn’t for everyone, and some dogs do better as an “only.”DON’T LET YOUR DOG DOWNYou aren’t a dog owner just at Christmas, or on the weekends, or in the afternoon, orwhen you have spare time. You aren’t a dog owner just when the dog is behaving, orwhen he’s a cute fuzzy puppy, or when he’s winning awards. When you bring a dog intoyour family, that dog is yours for life. If you can’t keep that commitment, don’t make it.And once you’ve made it, don’t break it. Your dog’s life depends on you.American Kennel ClubE-Book - 32

ch apt e r e ig htTRAIN YOUR DOG

TR A I N YO U R DOGTEACH BASIC COMMANDSTeach your dog basic commands such as sit, stay, come and down. Training your dog willnot only make your life easier, but will also fulfill your dog’s desire to learn and pleaseyou.SOCIALIZE YOUR DOGExpose your dog to different people and settings regularly. Take him to the park, tothe pet store, on a walk through town. Praise him for accepting petting from friendlystrangers, and for behaving calmly around other dogs. The more your dog learns of theworld, the more comfortable he will be in it.GO TO CL ASSPrevious page: Hongqi Zhang/ThinkstockObedience classes can be a great experience for you and your dog. You may evendiscover that your dog has a great talent for learning, and be able to compete inobedience, agility or tracking events.American Kennel ClubE-Book - 34

TR A I N YO U R DOGPREVENT NUISANCE BARKINGDon’t let your dog’s incessant barking annoy your neighbors. Teach your dog not tobark without real provocation. If your dog’s barking is causing a problems while you’reaway from home, there are several training options available, consult your veterinarian.PRAISE YOUR DOGBecause your dog loves you, he wants to please you. Praise him lavishly for obeyingcommands and behaving well. Using positive, rather than negative, reinforcement willhelp your dog enjoy learning.SUPERVISE PL AY WITH CHILDRENChildren and dogs can be great companions, but they also require supervision whenplaying together. Your dog may be “good with kids,” but what if he encounters a kid thatis not good with dogs? Very small children should never be left alone with a dog, nomatter how stable his temperament.GIVE YOUR DOG A JOBKeep your dog active and alert by giving him tasks to do. Teach him to fetch the paper,carry groceries in a pack or empty the dryer. Make him sit before getting a treat or laydown before going outside. Giving your dog a sense of purpose and accomplishmentwill increase his sense of well-being.American Kennel ClubE-Book - 35

ch apt e r n in eBREEDRESPONSIBLY

breedR E S P ONS I BLYBREED TO IMPROVEBreeding should primarily be done for the advancement of the breed. If you are thinking aboutbreeding your dog, consult your breeder for advice. Consider all the consequences-and expensesof breeding a litter before you do so. Consult AKC publications for more information as well.FIND A MENTORIf you plan to breed or show your dog, you will want to find a knowledgeable person inthe breed to show you the ropes. A mentor can be an invaluable source of experience andinformation, and can help make your “novice” days much easier.SPAY OR NEUTERSpaying/Neutering are major surgeries and the decision to spay or neuter a dog should be madeby the dog’s owner in conjunction with their veterinarian. Recent scientific studies demonstratethat spaying/neutering, particularly before a dog is fully mature, may result in detrimental longtermhealth impacts. In light of this information, AKC encourages breeders, owners and veterinarians toconsult on the appropriateness and timing of spaying or neutering an individual dog.CONTAIN FEMALES IN HEATPERFORM GENETIC SCREENINGIf you plan to breed your dog, it is very important to test for genetic disorders. While it isimpossible to eliminate all genetic disorders, perform all available tests recommended bythe Parent Club.American Kennel ClubE-Book - 37Previous page: Laures/ThinkstockIf your female dog goes into heat, or season, make sure to keep her properly secured.Males can sense a female in heat up to five miles away.

ch ap te r t e nGET INVOLVED

G E T I NVO LVE DJOIN AN AKC CLUBYour local AKC dog club is a great resource. Many clubs offer educational seminarsand health clinics. It’s also a good place to start if you plan to compete in competitiveevents with your dog.EARN AN AKC TITLEExplore the sport of dogs by participating in AKC events. The AKC offers titles foraccomplishment in a wide variety of competition types and levels. Find an event that’sright for your dog, and have fun.ENCOURAGE BREED BEHAVIORAll purebred dogs were developed with a purpose in mind. Find activities that willencourage your dog to fulfill her breed’s purpose. The AKC offers many performanceevents geared toward specific breeds.Your children can have fun and learn more about dogs and dog care by participatingin AKC Junior Showmanship events. Through the National Junior Organization, yourchild can compete in conformation and performance events, attend seminars, andearn scholarships.American Kennel ClubE-Book - 39Previous page: Bigandt Photography/ThinkstockINVOLVE THE KIDS

ch apt e r e le v e nBE A CANINEAMBASSADOR

be aCA N I N E AMBAS S A DO RSET A GOOD EX AMPLEAs a dog owner, you are responsible not only for your own dog’s well being, but forthe status of dogs everywhere. One irresponsible dog owner in town can make lifedifficult for dog owners all over. Owning a friendly, clean, well-mannered dog reflectspositively on the species and may help protect our rights to own companion animals.RESPECT YOUR NEIGHBORSNot everyone will love your dog as much as you do. Keep your dog on your property.Don’t force your dog’s company on a neighbor who isn’t comfortable with dogs.DON’T LEAVE LEAVINGSAlways carry a plastic baggie or two with you when you walk your dog to pick up anywaste it leaves behind, then dispose of the waste properly. Failure to clean up afteryour dog is disrespectful to your neighbors.Heed the laws regarding dog ownership in your city or county. These may includeregistration, leash laws and nuisance barking laws. Failure to obey the laws in yourarea may not only result in the loss of your dogs, but may also infringe upon the rightsof others in your area.American Kennel ClubE-Book - 41Previous page: psphotograph/ThinkstockRESPECT LOCAL L AWS

be aCA N I N E AMBAS S A DO RFIGHT ANTI-DOG LEGISL ATIONBe aware of any legislation developing in your city or state that may compromise therights of responsible dog owners. Become an active voice against legislation

Get Ready - 12 Bring Your Dog Home - 15 Keep Your Dog Healthy - 18 Keep Your Dog Safe - 24 Be a Friend - 28 Train Your Dog - 33 Breed Responsibly - 36 Get Involved - 38 Be a Canine Ambassador - 40 Who We Are and What We Do - 44. INTRODUCTION Among companion animals, dog