A new bill was introduced in the New York State legislature (SB473) which would require all dogs and their owners to successfully complete basic obedience training.  If not, the dogs could be seized by the government.

Yikes, if I were living in New York I would be alarmed about this one.

Not that dog training is a bad thing.

To the contrary, dog training is important, and properly trained dogs are less likely to be abandoned by frustrated owners.

But how can it be enforced as a state law, when the more fundamentally important dog licensing to insure they are properly vaccinated for rabies is not being enforced?.  As reported by CBS-New York , some towns, like North Hempstead are considering a door-to-door dog census because town officials believe many dog owners are not properly licensing their dogs.  While dog training is helpful for to promote long-term pet ownership, the health of dogs and their owners should take precedence.

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The proposed dog training law requires the Commissioner of Ag & Markets to “establish requirements for basic obedience courses for dogs and their owners which must be successfully completed.”

The Commissioner also has to establish minimum requirements for the successful completion of basic obedience classes and the requirements for schools which will be authorized to provide such training.

This training must be successfully completed when the dog is one year old or within 180 days of receiving ownership of the dog.

Local governments are supposed to issue a yellow metal tag, free of charge, to every dog owner upon completion of the training.  The tag must be affixed to the dog’s collar at all times.

Suppose the owner and/or dog flunks the class or fails to take it?  In those cases, the dog is subject to the State’s animal seizure law.

The law does not require existing dog owners to obtain a dog training license, but it also does not include a “grandfather clause.”

For those interested in dog training classes, which I recommend for all dog owners, there are a number of options available in many communities.

For example, the American Kennel Club describes its Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Program on its website:

“All dogs, including both purebred and mixed breed dogs are welcome to participate in the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Program. Dogs must be old enough to have received necessary immunizations such as rabies vaccines. Owners will sign the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge attesting to having the dog under the routine care of a veterinarian who will work with the owner to determine an appropriate plan and schedule for vaccines and other health care procedures.”

Many towns also offer training classes.

Keeping your dog healthy, properly vaccinated, and licensed should be a priority.  Properly training your dogs is helpful, but requiring obedience training seems excessive and may prevent otherwise good dog owners from purchasing or adopting a dog.