Tips for walking pets on Responsible Dog Ownership Day |

Tips for walking pets on Responsible Dog Ownership Day

Staff report
Dr. Gary L. Ailes of Carson City, a doctor at Sierra Veterinary Hospital, is promoting Responsible Dog Ownership Day, which is today. Courtesy photo

The second annual American Kennel Club Responsible Dog Ownership Day is today – the 120th anniversary of the AKC.

Dr. Gary L. Ailes of Carson City, a doctor at Sierra Veterinary Hospital, has worked in the field since graduating in 1972.

He offers tips on being a responsible dog walker:

— Always use a leash, or you may discover Rover following the glorious world of smell from one interesting place to another and, by the time he raises his head to check his bearings, he is clueless.

— Use ID tags with your current phone number on your dog’s collar or a high-tech chip ID implanted under the skin.

— Try to remember that dogs are like kids. If they get off the lease and run for it and you chase them, they’ll think it’s a game. So don’t chase, and he will probably return on his own. If he doesn’t, tie a 15-foot nylon line to your dog’s collar. Securely fasten the other end to yourself or something nearby that will not give. Just before your pup reaches the end of the line, say “Whoa” or “Stop.” When the line brings him to an abrupt stop, tell him to sit and praise him for being such a good dog.

— Your dog understands whistles, voice patterns, intonations and body language much better than specific words. If you want to train your dog to respond reliably, be consistent and firm in how you command him, and don’t be abusive.

— Carry “poop bags.” Cleaning up after your dog will ensure you don’t step in it on your next trip around the block and your neighbors will appreciate your common courtesy.

— Know that your dog is territorial, and every tree, bush and post needs a sprinkle.

— Allergies needn’t stop you from walking your dog. Brush or bathe him before coming back into the house to get the pollen out of his coat.

— When your pup begins to bark at a passerby, allow two or three barks, and then say, “Quiet.” Immediately interrupt his barking by surprising him. Shake a can of pennies or use a squirt bottle with water or Listerine and squirt it at his mouth. Then while he’s quiet, say “good quiet” and pop a tasty treat into his mouth.

Your dog is not human, but he does want to please you. Your job is to figure out what his actions mean, understand that some of it is just typical of dogs, and offer gentle but firm guidance toward good behavior. Becoming a responsible dog owner is also part of your job.

If you would like more humorous recommendations from Dr. Ailes read “Happy Tails – Hilarious Helpful Hints for Dog Owners,” available soon at, and at