By Linda Cole
When it comes to dog training, the size of the dog does matter! It can mean the difference between being successful or falling flat on your face when trying to teach your small dog commands. In a way, it’s easier to train larger dogs because owners of small dogs often treat a smaller pet differently than they would a bigger dog.
Many small dogs belong to the terrier group. This is a group of feisty, high prey drive dogs with lots of energy. They are smart and not afraid to let their feelings be known. Small dogs can be manipulative if they get a chance, and can have an attitude the size of a Great Dane. It’s tempting to let a little dog get away with things most owners wouldn’t accept from a larger canine. His actions may not hold the same weight as a misbehaving larger dog, but a small dog can still be disruptive. If your small dog jumps up on someone to greet them, many will think that’s cute, but if a Saint Bernard leaps up, your guest could be lying on their back with a drooling dog standing over them. Not as cool to some, but could be cute depending on your guest’s sense of humor.
Dogs can understand if they are being treated differently than others around them, and it’s important to treat small dogs just like you would a larger one. Training is about teaching your dog how you want him to act, but it’s also a good way for you to learn who your dog is as an individual. Small dogs can be stubborn. We can accidentally teach little dogs the wrong way to act if they are rewarded for their misdeeds or bad manners.
Part of our job is to instill confidence and trust in our pets. Treating a dog with respect, regardless of size, is one way of establishing yourself as their leader, and says you can be trusted. Don’t give any treats or attention until your dog has all four feet on the ground.