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Statistics show that about 37% of American households have a dog. Since people on this forum are generally more concerned about dogs than the average guy, do you folks think that most dog owners are "good owners"? Or do you think that many dogs live their lives in purgatory?

My personal guess is that 30% of dog households treat their dogs well, 30% OK and 40% poor.

Anyone else have an opinion?
 

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Most owners aren't great compared to my standards (minimal training, bad training methods/technique, little or no exercise, poor diet, poor understanding of dog behavior and body language, etc). But I wouldn't say the dogs are living in doggy purgatory- I'm sure they're happy- dogs tend to be optimistic animals- but their lives could be way better. I'd say most dogs I know have okay quality lives, some have really great quality lives, and some have really poor quality lives.
 

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Pet sitting as a career and having a first-hand experience with other dog owners and their pets... uh... I'd have to say that the majority of dog owners are ignorant, misinformed, irresponsible, or just downright stupid.

I'm not necessarily saying that they're horrible to their dogs, but generally most of the animals I have come across professionally or just in passing were very poorly trained and had absolutely no sense of manners. Most people I know are still heavy into dominance theory, intimidation training, and positive punishment training...

Also, too many dogs are fat. I don't mean just a little chubby... I've met at least three dogs who were morbidly obese, including a Golden Retriever that put that famous fat Dachshund to shame (I think that Golden was like... 200+ pounds). Personally, overfeeding a dog to the point of dangerous obesity and medical conditions like heart problems and diabetes is animal abuse... abuse with good intentions.
 

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Considering what a dog's life could work out to be (just look in any shelter, or at rescues who can't get a dog adopted out for months/years), I'd say that most dogs have it alright. Not every owner is stellar, but at the end of the day more than anything else, dogs just want to feel like they belong. Like they are part of the family. People may be at odds when it comes to things like training, feeding and vet care but at the end of the day, so long as they get to be with their people as much as possible (ie, they're not a "backyard dog"), I don't get too upset about how people choose to treat their dogs. Life's too short for that and, as someone else said, dogs are too optimistic.
 

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Yes, a lot of dog owners are ignorant and not great at training. But overall, i think most dogs here have a pretty good life. Look at so many other countries-their dogs run feral and are emaciated and fight for food and often eaten by humans. I don't think holding everyone up to the same standards is fair. I'd rather have a dog somewhat overweight and poorly trained than starving in the streets. Most dogs are happy, even if they don't get the training and exercise a lot of us would like to see.
 

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Given that most of the owners I meet don't seem to have much "dog sense" even if they are very nice people and well intentioned, I am amazed how well behaved most of the dogs we meet in the dog run are. Even if they have no recall (my own puppy's ain't too good :) ) and people tend to let them get a little crazy instead of getting up and distracting them overall I usually feel safe letting my little over-friendly dog off leash.

In my neighborhood in New York City, the population of babies and dogs has just exploded over the past few years. Everyone you see on the street is walking a dog, or a baby, or texting, or all three. All sorts of people are now pack walking dogs "professionally" for low wages who probably never had a dog before. At first this wasn't such a good thing but the ones that have lasted seem to have the dogs pretty much in hand. Since so many wealthy people here work long hours and have very young children who can't care for the dogs, it's a good thing that at least they're getting some exercise and socialization.

Two things are somewhat unique to our situation here, one good and one bad. About half the dogs are purebred and half are rescues (I do live in a very socially progressive neighborhood). Since there are almost no breeders anywhere nearby and I don't think people are having their puppies flown in I have to think that most of the French bulldogs, Cavaliers, doodle dogs, poodles and other small breeds are being bought from pet stores, which is sad. I wonder how many people researched their breed and realize that bulldogs can easily overheat and in general have a hard time breathing? Or that almost every Cavalier will develop heart disease sooner or later. That their dog most likely came from a puppy mill and is a health time bomb that will probably go off after their toddler is in jr. high and will be heartbroken when Bella becomes incurably ill.

On the other hand, New York City has literally hundreds of pit bulls waiting for homes at any given time. The public shelter does a good job of placing the dogs with good temperaments but there's just too many of them. In my affluent neighborhood I see a lot of younger women with beautiful pitties who are among the best behaved and healthy looking dogs of all. This seems to be an owner that is well informed about the breed and willing to take responsibility for it. They set a great example.

And yes, almost all of the smaller dogs are overweight. Oddly enough the bigger dogs, with the exception of labs, seem to be slimmer but I think that's because you have to be a more informed owner to want to keep a big dog in the city. I think most of these dogs have second homes where they can run around and that they were acquired from an actual breeder. But again, the backyard bred pit bulls are generally in the best condition of all. I think it's largely genetic.
 

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There are people that are irresponsible with their pets but it's not as common as when I was a kid. The neighbor's dog was always loose and therefore allowed to breed. I used to love seeing the puppies walk across the street to my place and petting the pups. There were about two litters of pups a year from that dog. This was over 15 years ago and I haven't seen stuff like that in a long time. My biggest pet peeve is people that let their dogs run loose in the neighborhood. However, only one neighbor does that, at this point.

Most of the statistics I've seen say over 50% of households have at least one dog and that matches what I see here. Of course, it'd be almost impossible to get an exact figure and know for sure. People tend to immediately jump to and notice the negative side of things. From my experience, most people genuinely love their dogs and other pets. Some people may not be ideal dog owners but what is completely ideal in life? As long as person's dog is happy, I'm not bothered by what people do and it certainly doesn't matter to me whether or how much their dog is trained. :)
 

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Define "well" "ok" and "poor". The question isn't valid without some sort of parameters. What I consider poor may be considered ok by someone else.
 

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Looking back at this, I agree, the most common problem I see with "casual"/"normal" dog owners is the dog being overweight. I don't dwell on that too much when around other people's dogs as there isn't much I can do about that. Nine times out of ten it would change nothing to say something about it as they'll think of million of excuses or get offended by it or annoyed with you. Thinking about it, would I comment about a child being overweight? Most definitely not!! Same with pets. I've even had the problem of my family being a hindrance to one of my dogs loosing weight.
 

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Statistics show that about 37% of American households have a dog. Since people on this forum are generally more concerned about dogs than the average guy, do you folks think that most dog owners are "good owners"? Or do you think that many dogs live their lives in purgatory?

My personal guess is that 30% of dog households treat their dogs well, 30% OK and 40% poor.

Anyone else have an opinion?

Dogs are very adaptable and I think that most adjust to their owners lifestyle. What I would consider Well, O.K. or Poor may not be what you do so.

I think that most dogs are treated well, they may not be up to my standards, maybe I won't like what they are fed, maybe I won't like the fact that they live out in the backyard, or that the owner doesn't train the dog either at all or using techniques I consider good, etc, but still that dog is loved, well fed, has good shelter, and has a pretty good life if not an excellent life. I think that's the majority of the dogs in the U.S.

Then there's the dogs that I would think are treated poorly they are well fed, but live out in the backyard, or in a crate in the house, and have hardly any contact with their owners. They are flea covered and have minimum vet care, if they are in pain or sick they are left to suffer until the owner gets around to taking them to the vet to be euthanized. The owner basically gives them the minimum amount of care necessary and they are not viewed as loved family members. Those owners are the ones that move and take the dust covered books but leave the dog or cat behind. I see that kind of owner often enough to be worrisome, but not nearly as often as I see the owners that love their dogs and do their best to care for them.

I think someone treating their dog poorly is someone who is neglecting or flat out abusing the dog. No shelter, food when the owner remembers to feed him, kicked or beat for any infraction or maybe just because. If the dog has a long haired coat it will be a matted mess resembling Shrek the sheep. When the dog gets sick it's left to die. Some owners will keep the dogs in small cages and use them as breeding machines, others will regulate them to the fighting ring. That's the stories that make the news and the reason it seems like there are so many. I think the problem is less large then it seems and such owners are not common.
 

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This is such an extremely broad question I think it's impossible to answer. It's like asking if children in America are treated well. Some are spoiled rotten in a bad way, some are abused and neglected, some are raised well and live happily, some are raised decently and live somewhat happily. I think anytime someone asks about "America" usually the answers are so across the board because people in different states/regions all have cultures and societal expectations of their own. I think a lot of it depends on where the person lives state/region wise, as well as city/suburb/country, their income level, animal experience level and what sort of animal experience level, as well as cultural background other than American.

I think most people love their dogs. I think that people's expectations of what a dog is, does and how they live/are supposed to live, varies greatly. For one person it might be cruel to make a dog live outside. To another it might be cruel to crate them. Others might think it's cruel to leave a dog alone ever for more than a few hours. While most people DO love their dogs though, I think a lot of that love is misplaced, and makes them overfeed their dogs, treat them like people, not train them, allow them to behave inappropriately and spend more time fulfilling perceived "needs" (ie, human ones) the dog doesn't have, but neglecting the dog's true needs that the person is ignorant of.
 

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I'm guessing most are ok. As long as they're loved and treated well, I'm okay if they aren't being trained properly, eating the highest equality food, etc.
 

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I like what Rain said. There's a bottom point where the dog is obviously suffering, and that's not okay. Anything above that is preference. I've had a dog that we just could not get to be an inside dog. Luckily we had enough property, but she was a million times happier living outside. We left the garage open, had her bed in there and food and water out there constantly. She never ran away and we bathed and vetted her. She just loved living outside much more than inside. To some people that's cruel, but we knew for a fact that we couldn't get her to live inside. Our dogs now are total inside divas. I try not to judge how other people treat their dogs too much because I don't know their side of the story. I know whenever I've received some rude comments (got one again today...) about Tucker's barking, it always puts me down because I feel like my months and months of work and progress are for nothing. The dog may look obese or not well behaved, but maybe the owner is having a hard time getting their dog to lose weight. Maybe the dog is better behaved than it was a month ago but still has a ways to go.
People show love differently, and I think that just because someone has a different approach to training/diet/vetting than you doesn't make them a worse dog owner. One method doesn't work for every dog. I'd say a good majority of America's pets are decently happy.
 

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Most of them are fed, have a roof above their heads and get walked/human interaction.

It`s better than what most dogs on the planet have.

Average lifespan of a Greek stray (its full of strays) is 1.5 years. Average lifespan of a Greek barrel dog is even less.

All is relative.
 
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