People often described small dogs as toy dogs, purse dogs, or yappy, and often questioned, is it even a dog? These are all common conceptions of little dogs. They are often considered an accessory, easy to manage, and not needing training; some owners even encourage their small friends to potty inside the home. Little dogs are picked up, moved, pushed, and toted in bags, purses, or small crates. Doing this can cause significant behavioral issues with your K9, including aggression, lack of confidence, and extreme fear. While it is easy to think of little dogs as adorable and an accessory, they need the same training, boundaries, and respect afforded to their larger K9 relatives. 

Our K9 friends don't like being forced to move, be held, put into spaces, or carried, without consent, any more than we would. But, due to their size, we can quickly move small dogs around and manage them at our will. Because dogs speak in space, working with your small dog is essential instead of using their size against them. We train larger breeds to understand commands, go into the kennel of their own will, and walk on a leash without pulling. We realize that forcing these larger breeds is not often met with compliance and instead can be met with aggression. Smaller breeds have the same feelings and need for autonomy. 

The most common misconception in the small dog world is that Little dogs are not working breeds! While small dogs such as Dachshunds and Jack Russles don't have the glamorous jobs of riding in police cars, they were bred to work and still have that drive in them. German for Badger Dog is Dachshund, and they were bred to track and chase out badgers. Their low-to-the-ground stature makes them perfect for tracking odor, and some Handlers still use them as Search and Rescue Dogs. Jack Russels, also known as Fox Hounds, were used in Britain for hunting and sports work. Small dogs in today's society thrive in Sports Work, such as Agility, Fly Ball, and Herding Events. Don't let their small stature fool you; small dogs can and do love to have jobs. 

If you want to add a small dog to your home or already have one:

  1. Consider training them as a part of your life.
  2. Learn healthy communication, allow your dog autonomy, and support them in making good choices. 
  3. If you have a small high-energy breed, consider sports work, or teach them to hide and seek in your home.
  4. If issues such as aggression or fear present themselves, contact a local trainer to help you address them.