Believe it or not small dogs need training and exercise as well.
Let me say it again: Small dogs need training and exercise for their mental and physical health and well-being.
Not providing your small dog with enough house rules, obedience training and exercise sets your dog and you up for dog behavior problems.
These dogs can develop dog behavior problems quickly –sometimes more quickly – than big dogs.
What excuses have you used not to train your small dog?
Here are a few of the excuses I’ve heard over and over again. Let’s take a look at them one by one and bust these “small dog myths!”
He was so small I didn’t think he needed training.
As your dog ages and begins to claim a sense of entitlement of who is running the show, he may start objecting to your corrections as he assumes the position at the front door to ward off intruders (your friends). His bark – and bite – can be as painfully annoying as a larger dog – not to mention an embarrassment to you and other family members.
I didn’t think he was smart enough to train.
Boy, there is nothing further from the truth than this! This is funny because the last dog owner that said that to me learned the truth about her small dog in a very short barrage of questions and answers that went kind of like this:
Question: “How does your dog let you know he wants up on the couch with you?”
Answer: “He scratches my leg and I pick him up.”
Question: “How does your dog let you know he needs to go outside to potty?”
Answer: “Why, he barks, of course!”
Question: “How does your dog let you know when it’s time for his supper?”
Answer: “He does a cute little circle dance at mealtime and barks.”
As the light bulb came on over her head, I said with a smile, “If he’s smart enough to have trained you, then he’s smart enough to be trained by you. I rest my case.”
I just wanted a small dog to love and cuddle
Here’s the problem with this myth. If you let a dog age with no structure, no purpose and no sense of being except for your own personal needs, behavior problems may develop that you won’t like.
Fixing those behavior problems is like asking your dog to come off welfare, go to work and have a purpose. He will resent having to go to work and have a purpose. Now it’s time to do what’s best for your dog, not for you. It may be a struggle but it’s never too late to start making things right.
Dong it right from the start
Not training your small dog gives him the wrong perception of life at your home and who’s in charge. When dog behavior problems develop no one is happy. It is usually a struggle to get your dog back to a balanced life of “learn-to-earn” everything with a “Sit!”
Many small dog owners think that obedience training and rules ruins an otherwise “easy lifestyle” and that they will be limited on the amount of what they perceive as shared affection.
The fact is you should limit the amount of shared affection with your dog as much as you should limit the amount of ice cream you eat every day. The “too much of a good thing” theory has been proven many times over. There can be happiness in moderation.
Happiness is setting the rules up right from the start. Your small dog should earn everything — especially love and affection. It will pay big dividends in the future in the form of no behavior problems. Now that’s money in the bank because now you don’t have to call me!
I’m always curious about your input – it’s important to me. Do you deal with this situation in your house?
Remember: “Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”
His Ground Rules for Great Dogs is your solution to going from a bratty dog to a behaved dog. Grab them now.
Jim Burwell, Houston dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 9000 clients, has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad. Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.