The difference between big dogs and little dogs……

Do you think there is a difference between big and small dogs?

  • Small dogs are more playful (they like to jump in your lap)
  • Small dogs are fussier over their food (most big dogs will eat anything…..)
  • Small dogs bark more (the yappy type)

Is this all true?

We get lots of emails and comments from dog owners which COULD lead us to the conclusion that small dogs are harder to train, fussier and generally more difficult.

But something that happened this last week has changed our view…

We’ve recently taken over looking after a bichon frise, in addition to caring for our own border collie. Our dog (Molly) is a pretty quiet thing, but this bichon …well…

…he would tear off along the beach and wouldn’t come back when called…

…he tried to jump up on us all the time…

…he barked at the slightest noise…

In general, he though he was in charge….

But in the last week there’s been a big change in his behavior. He’s stopped jumping up, doesn’t run away at the beach anymore…

In fact, he’s behaving a lot more like a DOG rather than a toy.

So why the change? Well I don’t think it’s that we’re such great dog trainers, but I do think the line above has everything to do with it….

We treat him like a DOG rather than a toy.

Remember, dogs are pack animals. They don’t like to make decisions for themselves. They would much rather YOU made their decisions for them. Honestly, it makes them feel a lot less stressed if they think they don’t have to tell you all the time that they are in charge by barking, running off and generally doing the OPPOSITE of what you want them to do.

So WE decide for Toby the bichon…

  • when he gets to jump in our lap for a cuddle
  • when he eats (we put the food in his bowl and don’t let him touch it until we say so)
  • when he gets into and out of the car and in and out of the door (and it’s always after us, not before)

The keys are:

  • …if he misbehaves he gets NO ATTENTION. Being ignored is the ultimate punishment for a dog; he won’t know the difference between praise and a telling off which is why shouting at him for doing the wrong thing doesn’t work. It’s all attention in his eyes, which is GOOD.
  • …we don’t allow him to make decisions. If he jumps out of the car without us saying he can, well it’s get right back in and wait, thank you.

And the funny thing? He’s a LOT happier and more relaxed – and so are we.

We’ve never had a small dog before but this got us thinking…

Maybe it’s not that small dogs are any different to big ones – maybe it’s just that their owners TREAT them differently.

If you’ve got a small dog and it feels like he’s running you rather than the other way around, you might find all this food for thought.

So what do you think? Do you think there is a difference between big and small dogs? What’s been your experience? We’d love to hear from you. Please put a comment here.

Have a good week,

Liam & Mal


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