Ohio ó Cesar Millan, better known as the Dog
Whisperer, told me in an interview last year that
Americans tend to carry their problems.
know exactly what he meant.
noted that in his experience, American owners of tiny
dog breeds would rather pick up their "problem
children" than train them to behave in public.
people rationalize they do it to protect their little
ones from larger animals. But many times itís just
easier to pick them up than it is to train them to
behave. Because they are so tiny, owners make the
mistake of treating them like babies. They perceive
training as being "mean," said Chicago
veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker on her Healthy Pet blog on
the Mercola.com Website.
so many little guys and gals are untrained and
under-socialized, itís common to encounter small dogs
in public places who are fearful of humans, reactive
toward other animals, and yappy," she said.
a poodle/Pomeranian mixed breed, was relinquished by her
original family for a couple of reasons, said her owner,
Mary Jo Fiant of Copley Township, Ohio.
wasnít potty trained and they said she chewed on
things," said Fiant, who took the tiny pup from her
a week, Milly was house trained and "sheís never
chewed on anything," Fiant said.
socialization, Fiant and her husband, John, started
walking the seven-pound pup with a "pack" of
people and their dogs each day. At the park, Milly gets
along with everyone, including newcomers to the group.
owners of little breeds are not that successful with
their dogs, although the dogs are as capable of learning
obedience behaviors as larger animals, said Becker.
when training a little one, it might be a good idea to
start by seeing things from their vantage point, she
human must look pretty scary to an animal that stands
less than a foot off the floor. Until your dog has some
experience reading your signals, show her welcoming
eyes, small movements and a soft voice. Donít deal
with the pup "head on" right away, rather turn
slightly to the side and get down close to her level so
you donít look like a huge hulk.
training treats a miniature size, too, said Becker.
Anything larger than a quarter of a pea is too big, she
sit on the floor to appear less intimidating or sit on a
low stool or chair to avoid hurting your back.
tiny dog needs small toys and training tools. Becker
recommends you use a training harness to avoid neck
injuries. Leather leashes and chain collars are not a
good idea, she said.
very small dogs have incredibly fragile necks," she
also highly recommends you imagine yourself in your dogís
place when you suddenly scoop her up in your arms.
are often startled to be lifted off the ground and
stressed by suddenly losing the ground beneath their
good to train your dog with a verbal one-word cue that
signals you are about to pick her up. Put your hands on
her, say the word, and apply just a bit of pressure
before lifting her.
advises it may be difficult to get tiny dogs to lie down
because they are already so close to the ground they
feel vulnerable. Train on a soft, raised surface because
little dogs are more sensitive to cold and rough
surfaces than larger ones.
her space and allow her to meet new people and dogs on
her own terms. Picking up a shy or frightened animal to
introduce her to others removes her ability to keep her
distance. Do not force the issue.
set boundaries. If you wouldnít allow a larger dog to
jump up on you, donít accept that behavior from your
little one. The same goes for jumping on your lap,
charging out the door ahead of you and ripping treats
from your fingers. Allow her to go on hikes with you,
climb stairs, get in and out of a vehicle and move
confidently on all kinds of terrain.