Celebrating the Small Dog!
The Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center love dogs of all kinds. Long-haired, short-haired, athletic, couch potatoes, they all have a special place in our hearts.
When one pictures (wo)man’s best friend, often images of doting Labradors or protective Shepherds come to mind. We know through personal experience, though, that small dogs earn just as much love as their more massive counterparts.
The small dog has earned respect and love from dog lovers everywhere, and they deserve to be recognized, too.
Dispelling Small Dog Misnomers
Little dogs are often overlooked when being considered for a new family pet. Some may find them a little too frou-frou or fragile while others have fallen victim to labeling them as ankle-biters.
Little dogs aren’t necessarily more aggressive than big ones. In fact, the Chihuahua and Dachshund head the top of the list of most frequent biters right alongside German Shepherds and Pit Bull Terriers. Dog aggression isn’t really size dependent.
It is true, though, that small breed dogs have often been bred to dote on their owner, oft holding their place on the laps of nobility over the years. This can result in some protective and less-than-friendly behavior towards strangers behaviors.
Genetics aren’t everything, though. There is no reason that a small dog can’t be taught the same manners that a larger one can. With a little work, the ankle-biter and Napoleon complex stigmas can be put to rest.
If you have a small dog:
- Reward good behavior with positive reinforcement
- Remember that small dogs need training and socialization, too
- Don’t make excuses for bad behavior, no matter how harmless it may seem
- Don’t carry them everywhere so that they can build some confidence
- Make sure that they are equipped with a well-fitted collar or harness and are taught to walk on a leash
Not all little dogs are high maintenance, either. A Labradoodle requires much more grooming than a Jack Rusell Terrier. Many small breed dogs are pretty rough and tumble as well with historical significance in hunting, herding, or other working roles.
Appreciation for the Small Dog
While there are breed related issues in almost any type of dog you choose, most are manageable if you do your research and know what you are getting into. There are so many things to appreciate about the small dog.
Small dogs are great because:
- They generally age more slowly and have a longer lifespan than their larger counterparts
- They tend to be cheaper to feed and medicate due to their size
- They are easy to transport and take lots of places
- Their messes tend to be smaller
- They can be quite versatile
While smaller dogs are not for everyone, they definitely can earn a place in many family’s hearts. Don’t rule them out as a possibility based on stigma alone. They tend to be a lot of dog in a small package.
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