Tips for Good Dog Parenting
7 September, 2015

Guest Blog by Sylva Kelegian

As a rescuer of over 500 dogs, I have experienced almost everything in the canine world. I wrote my 2015 award winning memoir, GOD SPELLED BACKWARDS: The Journey of an Actress into the World of Dog Rescue to raise awareness about the rescue world and I hope to help others with this blog as I’ve learned everything the hard way.

Adopting a dog is the best way to go –

As most of you probably know there are millions of dogs in shelters waiting to be adopted and I always urge people to go to the shelter or your local rescue group and adopt rather than buying a puppy from a pet store. Puppies in pet stores come from puppy mills where the parents are kept in cages, without love, exercise, or even the ability to stand on anything other than cement or wire cages; a horrific legal practice in our country. Many animal lovers are doing everything they can to shut down the mills but there is so much money and power behind these laws that it’s a real fight. If people would stop buying from pet stores the puppy mills would eventually go out of business and the suffering of these poor animals would cease. Animal lovers in our area have stopped pet stores from selling puppies and you can too by contacting your local city council and taking action, one step at a time.

Dogs have needs just like us –

When looking to adopt please take into consideration that dogs are more social than people and need to be part of a pack. That means they need to live inside the house with their two legged family members. Putting a dog in the back yard to live alone is one of the cruelest things you can do. We have domesticated these animals and they need to live inside with us and be walked on a regular basis. If you work all day, consider getting two dogs so that the dog is not left alone for 8 hours a day. Unless you get a very senior dog who likes to sleep all day, the best thing is for the dog to have a companion, if possible. Or hire a dog walker to break up the day.

Protect your dog –

The first thing I do when I rescue a dog is get him/her microchipped and put a collar with my ID tag on it. Microchips are necessary and every pet should have one but the quickest way to get your dog home is with an ID tag. I believe the statistic is 90% of dogs with ID tags get home and 90% of dogs without ID tags don’t get home. Anything can happen. Doors can be left open, gardeners can leave gates open, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc. The best thing you can do for a dog that has a great home is put an ID tag on them because you can’t expect someone to take your dog to the shelter or vet to have them scanned for a microchip.

Some people don’t know about chips and will keep the dog if he/she doesn’t have a tag, but always have a chip as a back-up as it’s the only legal way you can prove it’s your dog. And if you don’t like to hear the jingle of tags, get a collar from that engraves names and numbers directly on the collars.

Keeping your dog safe –

I learned very quickly to never walk a dog on a collar. Collars can slip over heads and dogs can be gone without their ID tags. A rescue friend of mine walked a dog on a collar and she slipped out and was hit by a car and killed. That was the last time he walked a dog on a collar! Always keep the collar and tags on and walk your dogs on either a nylon choke chain or harness and please never walk your dog on the street off leash. I am amazed at how many seemingly smart people walk their dogs off leash on busy streets in Los Angeles. No matter how trained your dog is, anything can happen! Like the car that backfired and scared a dog (who had been walking off leash for ten years) into the street and a driver swerved to miss the dog and hit a woman and her baby instead. Responsible, common sense dog ownership can prevent accidents like this from happening.


Sylva Kelegian is the author of GOD SPELLED BACKWARDS: The Journey of an Actress into the World of Dog Rescue.  Please take a look at this great book which you can find at her site:


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