Ok, if you twist my arm, I’ll admit it….I like small dogs. Chihuahuas used to be my favorite, but now I like Dachshunds. I was never really big on the fuzzy breeds like the Bichon Frise or the Lhasa Apso, they just seem like the kind of designer dogs that are fashion accessories for the very rich; something that would be wearing a fluffy little skirt and be carried around by the likes of Paris Hilton. Poor dog. A Chihuahua, on the other hand, is a dog that has a little moxy. Not afraid to make Taco Bell commercials or romance the pooch next door carrying a rose in his mouth. And Dachshunds are working class dogs, built to dig ferrets out of holes and kill them so they don’t get into the castle.
Lap dogs were originally bred to warm the laps and feet of Europe’s rich and fashionable. The Chinese were also fond of them; the Pekingese were used to fit into the sleeves of the members of the royal court. Some bigger dogs sometimes inherit the lap dog gene. I have friends who have a huge Great Dane who thinks he’s a lap dog. Rowdy’s big enough to sit on the couch with both of his front legs reaching the floor, but he prefers to try to sit on your lap instead. He’s a little too heavy for me, but with the size of some of the laps in America growing all the time, his lap dog status may just change in the near future.
Don’t get me wrong, I like big dogs too, and if I had the luxury of a huge back yard, I’d have one. Some experts say that some large dogs, like the Newfoundland, are ideal for apartments because they are less active, but there’s just something uneasy for me in having something that is capable of eating you living inside with you in close quarters. Hey, I’ve raised 300 lb. Bingo the bear from a cub and he hasn’t bitten me yet, but would you want to sleep next to him? Smaller dogs take smaller bites.
Big dog people sometimes are disrespectful of small dogs, referring to them as “barking bedroom slippers.” But most little dogs are all dogs, and some of them, like the Chihuahua, have a little attitude to boot. I think that it’s overcompensation. Sort of like the very short guy who drives a big Cadillac. Small dog’s small stature and portability means that they spend more time close up with their owners than other dogs. This can result in behavior problems. Again, most times it’s the owner, not the dog, whose behavior is at fault. Small dogs shouldn’t be petted on the head. When they see a huge hand coming towards them, sometimes they get defensive. Small children shouldn’t be allowed to pick up small dogs; what they pick up, they can also drop. You should always try to address a small dog from his level, remember how huge you seem bending over a small dog, and this is also considered aggressive behavior by the animal.
A lot of times owners will ignore behavior problems with small dogs because they are so cute. They need to set limits and show who is in control. But overly physical training methods are not really good ideas for small dogs. For example, most small dogs have collapsing tracheas, or windpipes. This is a genetic problem resulting from the breeding process. Using a choke collar can collapse the trachea and cause some serious problems. Gentle redirection and reward training works best with the toy breeds. Or grab a dog harness or approved dog collar.
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