Monday, August 8, 2016

Small Dogs: The Knife's Edge of Letting Them Be Dogs

Hey, everyone!

One of the biggest struggles I face as a small dog owner, especially one that blogs, is other people's perception of my dog's capability based solely on her size. Sometimes we're met with admiration and encouragement, other times chastisement and misplaced pity. Regardless of the reaction, I'm always a little confused by it.

Personally, I don't see my dog as small. I see her as a dog, plain and simple. I see her tininess (9.5lb, about 9" tall) as something that opens doors and keeps my pet related bills down, but her size doesn't define her for me. Being little doesn't make her incapable. It doesn't make her hard to train. It doesn't limit her. It's not a disadvantage. It's not "cruel" to have her do everything (and more) a larger sized dog can.

I feel like a lot of small dog owners tend to not want to treat their dogs like dogs. Whether it's because they're perceived as easier to baby, or because their smaller sizes makes them seem less capable, I can't say, but it's quite prevalent in the small dog community. In some ways I can understand it, and others I really can't.

It can be really, really scary to stop and think about just how many things can hurt a little dog. If they were to get into a fight with a dog larger than them, they could be killed so easily. A sickness could rack their bodies and destroy them within days. A bird of prey could snatch them up. They're at a greater risk of injury from people and life in general. Their sizes makes you believe it's easy to loose them, and it is definitely true that you can't see them as well if they get away from you and aren't trained to come when called.
I get that. I don't let my dogs greet strange dogs, ever. I'm careful with their health, where they're drinking from, ect. I supervise when they're loose. I don't allow strangers to handle them. I make sure to work on recall and staying close to me from day one. Some days it's still easy to get stuck in the worry though, and I know that as well as anyone.

On the other hand....their lifespans are longer. They tend to not be affected by the orthopedic issues that surround larger dogs. They're infinitely cheaper to feed and medicate. They're quick and agile. It's so, so much easier to take a little dog places, and it's often easier to find lenient people in not-quite-dog-friendly areas when yours is small. You can hold and cuddle them, and it's easy to quickly snatch them up and out of the way of danger. They're easy to travel with, and mature quicker than larger dogs, making training a quicker process.

I take full advantage of my small dogs' perks. I love that they're little! It opens so many doors, and makes things better, in my opinion. While yes, you have to do a little rearranging, it's fun and easy to do. I really don't get why people think having small dogs is so different!

What about you? How do you view your little dog?

- Dachshund Mommy


  1. Having a small dog, I can relate with this post! My Dachshund isn't allowed to jump on people or do other a big dog isn't able to do.

  2. A lot of benefits to a small dog
    Lily & Edward

  3. As a person new to owning a small dog, all of this really makes sense to me. I've always said I don't want a small dog. I don't want to own an animal who will die if I step on it (I'm not the most coordinated person out there). But I've been the owner of a 10 lb jack russell puppy for 4 months now. And it is so much easier. Koira isn't huge, at 40 lbs, but the difference is massive. Koira can't fly in the cabin (or in cargo even if I wanted her to, since she is considered brachycephalic by the airlines) while Ptera can fit in a carrier that fits under the seat in the cabin. If I need to in a crowded area, I can pick Ptera up and carry her. She is just as capable as Koira when it comes to hiking, kayaking, paddleboarding, etc, except with what she has as personality differences or the learning curve of a puppy who did nothing at all before I got her. Because seriously, she had never been on a leash before I brought her home, had never really left the house. Because they treated her more like a plaything for their kids than a dog. But I can't complain too much, because they were aware enough of what was happening that they made the decision to rehome her.

  4. I always view my little dog as a dog. He doesn't have a carry bag and I don't dress him up. He has a couple of outdoor sweaters and a waterproof coat. He loves his walks on the beach and I try not to be overprotective when another dog comes over to say hello.
    I agree about being wary about much bigger dogs though, it's better to be safe than sorry.
    Lynne x

  5. Having just lost my beloved 70 pound pup to cancer, I realize that I'm just not strong enough to get a large dog into the car, up the stairs or, eventually, back on his feet. Since I can't imagine being without a dog in my life, I am trying to figure out the right dog. Your post was helpful.

  6. I've never liked little dogs, growing up they were the ones that were the most ill mannered, they were yappy, prone to biting/growling/nipping, most likely to chase me when out jogging, and I worried about accidentally injuring them. I always had and loved big dogs, they can carry their own gear, their size alone is intimidating for strangers if I want to go hiking by myself, they make for great pillows, they are strong and sturdy and just generally I love their full size!
    Recently though in the last couple years after getting involved with rescue I decided that it's an owner problem not a little dog problem when I helped out my neighbor with her yappy little dog. He responded so quickly to me that I would have kept him if she hadn't wanted to keep him.
    Having my large dogs and moving I realized how hard it is to travel with them, if it's hot out and they aren't technically allowed in a store I can't just pick them up and take them with me anyways.. so I have to plan my stops etc.
    Our next dog will be small, I am leaning towards a boston terrier, something small, spunky, and athletic. :-) My rescue friends i'm sure will have a fit, having done my fair share of rescuing and fostering both dogs and cats I think I want a puppy from a breeder. I've already started researching just to see what is out there - but i'm a bit ahead of the game we aren't going to be getting any additional dogs unless we foster until Dante and Ziva are gone *hopefully in a long time!*.

  7. I hate when people say they're "dog lovers" but then say "oh, but I don't like little dogs." That's not what being a dog lover is. That's being prejudiced.

    I have a 6 lbs Toy Fox Terrier, we go hiking and train in agility (although we're on hiatus from that atm). I'm in a TFT group on FB. Someone posted on the group asking if a TFT would be a good choice for hiking and trick training and most of the owners in the group said "No, they're too small, they're good lap dogs." That's ridiculous! Try telling Delilah she's too small! There were some people in the group that said that having a TFT and only letting it sleep on the couch all day is a disgrace to their terrier heritage. I 100% agree. Too small, that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

  8. So the girls are what I consider to be small/medium. They are 30lbs. When I first got Zoe, she was 25lbs and she seemed so tiny and delicate. My previous dogs were big, 75lb dogs. Zoe was anything but delicate and she proved it over and over by taking down dogs (playing) that were 3 times her size at the dog park.

    I am an over protective pet parent and I have no idea how I would feel about things if my dogs were even smaller. I would probably be kind of terrified that my dog would get hurt but I do appreciate the longer life spans and that you can take little dogs more places. I really want to get a Portuguese Podengo Pequeno. They are sort of Nola sized. :D

  9. I'm a big doggie, as you know, but honestly, I'm always impressed with how your treat Nola. She's a dog. Avery special and beautiful dog and you honor that. I appreciate it from the bottom of my canine heart!


  10. we've always had small dogs but bailey is our first tiny dog (she's only 4lbs). while we love the perks of having a small dog, and there are quite a few, we are also well aware of the dangers and risks. her safety and well being are our top priorities.
    wags, bailey unleashed


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