Being a responsible dog owner

Advice for dog owners


  • What are my responsibilities as a dog owner?
  • How do I report issues of cruelty towards dogs?
  • Why should i train my dog?
  • Why should my dog wear a collar and tag?

What are my responsibilities as a dog owner? 

As a dog owner you have a responsibility to ensure that your pet does not cause a nuisance to others. This means that you must comply with certain laws, most of which are straight forward and are there to ensure that people and dogs can live happily and safely in the community.

If you are a Colchester Borough Homes tenant you should also read their Pets in Council Homes policy.

Do you run responsible dog owner events?

We carry out a range of educational activities to promote responsible dog ownership, including 'Bark in the Park' and other community events, aimed at potential and current dog owners.

How do I report issues of cruelty towards dogs?

The RSPCA's primary function is to promote kindness and prevent cruelty.

If you need to report cruelty or a dog in distress you can call the RSPCA 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999 or contact them online.

Do you have any advice on choosing a dog?

So you have decided to buy a dog. Have you thought about what type of dog is suitable for your lifestyle? Are you a couch potato or do you enjoy long walks in the country? You will need to take this into account when buying a dog. Our "Choosing the Right Dog Guide" will provide you with useful information to help you choose the right for you, your family and the dog.

The Kennel Club also has an excellent guide to breeds that may help you in choosing the right type of dog.

Alternatively, you might like to re-home a rescue dog. You can visit the websites of the rescue organisations to find out more about this.

Why should I train my dog?

Dogs like to be led. Training is one way to help keep them under control. Your dog should be under control and responsive to your commands. Training will help your dog learn how to behave around people and other animals, it will also reduce the risk of it biting someone.

Your dog's quick response to a command may save its life. Remember an out-of-control dog may result in you being prosecuted and your dog destroyed. 

The basic first lessons for your dog to learn are:

  • To walk beside you on and off the lead "heel"
  • Stay when told "sit" or "sit and stay"
  • Come to you when called

Why should I train my dog to go to the toilet at home?

Once you have got your new member of the family you will have to deal with the problem of dog poop. If you train your dog to go to the toilet at home it will reduce the amount of poop scooping you will have to do when you are out and about. It will save you from having to carry it around with you until you can dispose of it in a dog bin. 

Please note if you fail to pick up their poop whilst you are out it may end costing you some money in fines. 

Dog poop can be disposed of with your normal household waste. Collect the dog poop bags and store them in another strong bag. Then place this inside your usual waste bag so it is well protected and not liable to burst open.

Why should I get my dog spayed or neutered? 

  • Puppies can be difficult to re-home and are expensive to look after
  • It can prevent your dog from straying or trying to escape
  • A bitch on heat will attract other dogs, which may prevent you from walking her and allowing her off the lead in public areas.
  • Females can also benefit from spaying by reducing the incidence of uterine, mammary and ovarian cancers. It can also reduce uterine infections such as Pyometra.
  • They are less likely to develop unwanted behaviours such as marking, sexual aggression and mounting. They are also less likely to escape, roam or fight with other dogs.

Why should I get pet insurance? 

  • Veterinary treatments can be expensive 
  • If you cannot afford veterinary treatments, your only choice could be to have your dog put to sleep
  • Everyone wants to keep their dog healthy, well into its old age  

Silver Footprint Award

Our Animal Service has received a sliver 'Animal Welfare Footprint' award from the RSPCA for its treatment of stray dogs and education in the Borough.

How can I contact you about my dog?

Animal Services can be contacted on 01206 282581 or via email at