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The difference between good &bad dog owners

happy dog

happy dog My dog while not exemplary in behaviour is ‘bad’ mostly because of my lack of discipline not from exercise or food issues. People don’t understand that as the pack leader they themselves have a responsibility to daily take their dogs on DAILY life affirming excursions.

What I also have experienced with my new dog friend is the bond I witness in many other diligent owners who either regularly take their dog to off-lead dog parks or when they go out to cafes.  Since having walked many dogs, I have become aware of some very interesting social dynamics. Good owners V bad dog owners. Which are you?

While dogs are said to be ‘man’s best friend’, there is a much higher proportion of women who call me for dog walking services. As I regularly go to dog parks, I have to admit that I also see many more woman walking dogs than men, before and after standard working hours. And no, they are not all stay at home mothers.

It would appear that the majority of people do not walk their dogs twice or even once a day, and largely feed them a grain based (highly inappropriate) diet to their faithful companions. It would also appear that many women also make the positive decision in a family or couple situation, to bring extra help in exercising and socialising dogs. They sense the need to make their dog happy more than many men. People often laugh at the need for such dog walking services, yet few people take their dogs for sufficient minimum levels or exercise per day. But I digress .. there are many great owners of both genders out there too.

There are very few other animals or people that will greet you with such genuine appreciation when you return home. In fact without the pack structure inherited from the wolf, dogs would ignore us as much as cats tend to do. It is this symbiotic relationship that unfortunately many people take for granted, this unflappable willingness to please the master and alpha dog that mystifies me. It also upsets when I continue to see so many dogs locked up yards for the eternity of their life while their owners do ‘better things.’

While many people intellectually get that dogs are ‘not just for Christmas’, they see one or two dog walks per week as a treat for a dog, not as a birth right. For a dog even gaining just one hour out per day is basically the equivalent of when a felon gets an hour per week in the exercise yard. You have to remember that dogs live in the moment and live perhaps one seventh as long as we do. But with dogs living in the moment, every minute that they are awake and not running with the pack, is a wasted existence. They don’t plan for future holidays or know that they are only going to live 15 years at best.

Having a dog is a major responsibility that unfortunately is not very well policed. It is only dangerous attack dogs that bite children that seem to get in the paper lately, not well meaning people who daily neglect their dogs. However for every dog I see in a dog park, I know there are literally hundreds not getting a walk at all, or if lucky a short walk around the block.

Consider this statistic: If one in three households are said to own dogs, why don’t we see those millions of dogs out twice a day on their dog walks?

For all of the bad things I have caused in my dog, I also take credit for how social he is. He used to run hundreds of metres to meet every new dog and person in the park. Now he uses his judgement better to understand which ones he wants to play with.

Many people say that their dogs are not very social and that is why they dont take them out. But that’s what happens when you don’t socialise them and they learn to understand what is acceptable dog behaviour.

The future of dogs in Australia

Like many people dedicated to their dog, I take a large amount of my time working out ways to make their life better. Providing the most natural environment and food that I can provide them with.

Human’s force our dog companions to live an exceptionally foreign life to fit into our schedules. Humans have even changed dogs from nocturnal animals to mostly being awake during the day. Dogs live in our small yards, with our human possession and rules and ask very little from us. They are loyal and full of life and when healthy get to brighten our lives considerably.

In Australia dog ownership has been on the decline for the last ten years, and there are very few off lead dog areas in most suburbs. It sometimes seems that in our quest to be modern that many of us, including councils, have forgotten the massive benefits that dogs bring to owners and communities.

Dogs teach both children and adults responsibly and empathy. In as little as 15,000 years we have forced the creation of the dog from the wolf and now in many cases it seems we are abandoning what we began.

Simple rules to make your dog happy. Walk them twice a day off lead, feed them meat, give appropriate and consistent discipline, give affection. Missing out on any one of these components to happiness can make for a very sad unhealthy dog.


Article by Bruce Dwyer. If you wish to use any of this information please refer to the article as a reference and provide a link to

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