If mastiffs, German shepherds and other big dogs aren’t your style, and you’re thinking about getting a small dog, there are some things to prepare yourself and your home for to make the transition a smooth one.
Just Because They’re Small, Doesn’t Mean You Don’t Have to Train
Small dogs have a reputation for being cute, docile beings, but sometimes, they’re more energized than dogs three times their size, and many times they have aggressive tendencies. Due to their size, they can’t do nearly as much damage to a person as a much larger, stronger dog, and for that reason, many owners of small dogs don’t train their pets properly. If you get a small dog, remember that the training commitment you make should be the same as if you were getting a much bigger dog.
You’ll Need to Watch Their Calorie Intake
With bigger dogs, a few extra treats here and there won’t make a huge difference in their weight, but if you have, say, a 6-lb. dog, a few extra treats can add up pretty quickly. Because these dogs have smaller bones, it’s important to keep them at the proper weight so avoid injury or bodily stress. If you want to give them treats as praise, think of giving them little bites of carrot or other vegetables, as these are low-calorie ways to help them learn.
They Need Just as Much Exercise as Bigger Dogs
It’s true that some large dogs are perfectly content basking in a sunbeam in their owner’s apartment or house, but small dogs sometimes need more room than some big dogs, and even more exercise. Their energy can get pent up if they’re not entertained and exercised, which can lead to unnecessary bouts of aggression. If you can’t walk them enough to keep up with their seemingly endless amounts of energy, you may want to consider hiring a dog walker.
Be Careful When You Walk
Whether just inside your home or on a walk outside, it’s important to keep a close eye on where the dog is and be careful where you walk. Little dogs can get under your feet and get stepped on or kicked by accident, which—depending on how small they are—can cause serious injury.
Always Supervise Their Interactions With Other Dogs
Small dogs can have a tendency to scare easily and become aggressive, and can often feel threatened when interacting with dogs much larger than they are. Always be sure to keep an eye on your little guy or gal when they’re playing to make sure things don’t get out of hand. This is especially important at dog parks, where multiple dogs can start playing together and quickly escalate—your dog is a bit less “sturdy” than a larger dog and can get injured more easily.