Goal of the Program
The goal of the Responsible Owner (RO) Program is to help dog owners while partnering with the cities in which we work, balancing the needs of the community with regards to public safety while helping owners address the behaviors that caused their dog to be deemed dangerous. We provide owners with various resources needed to fulfill the requirements of the dangerous dog ordinance, including the animal liability policy and training, with the goal of returning the dog safely to the community. The program is a minimum of one year, as this gives the owner time to undergo a customized training program to modify problematic behaviors and stay in compliance with the City requirements regarding dangerous dogs.
How the Program Works
The RO Program is specifically designed to address all items listed in the Minnesota Dangerous Dog Statute as well as the municipality. Once an owner enrolls in the program and purchases the required Animal Liability Policy, we set up an initial training assessment with a seasoned and credentialed local trainer who gathers information about the incident and assesses the dog’s temperament. The trainer then recommends a course of action, which includes a customized training program to address and modify problematic behaviors. Throughout the year of the program, the owner complies with the City requirements for dangerous dogs, completes the training program, and makes modifications as needed depending on the dog’s progress and the recommendations of the trainer. The RO Program partners with professional certified trainers who hold the CPDT (Certified Professional Dog Trainer) and CDBC (Certified Dog Behavior Consultant) certifications. After completion of the training program, the owner will ask the City to review the designation with the goal of having it removed.
Why Partner with Us?
Dangerous dogs are a public safety concern, and we understand and recognize the need to address community safety while supporting responsible owners who take the initiative to educate themselves and utilize resources to become better dog owners. We believe that, in certain circumstances, a dangerous dog designation should not be a lifetime ban, particularly if a responsible owner is proactively willing to work with their dog to modify the problematic behaviors. Dogs, like people, can change when provided positive guidance, coaching, and reinforcement.
The owners we work with have made a commitment to address the issues that caused their dog to be deemed dangerous, and our goal is to work with you to support those owners. We believe that the success of the program depends on collaboration between owners and the City, working together to reach a common goal of returning the dog safely to the community. It is important to note that although the end goal is to remove the Dangerous Dog designation, we are also committed to doing to ethically. If the final evaluation of a dog does not indicate proper progress, as determined by program staff, we will notify the owner of this and continue to work with the owner on the problematic behaviors. Upholding the integrity of this program is important to us.