Tag Archives: little dogs

Why small dogs are troublemakers

Small dogs are troublemakers.

They can’t help it. It’s in their nature to explore every nook and cranny of their world. And, because of their size, they can fit into the smallest spaces. Especially the ones we can’t reach. 

four small dog troublemakers

They’re at their curious worst when they’re puppies. They’re even tinier and can fit into even smaller spots. Keeping track of Boston Terrier puppy is like being on a perpetual carnival ride. Both of you are in constant motion when the puppy’s awake. Fortunately, puppies nap a lot. And when they do, every bit of waking aggravation is eclipsed by their cuteness. 

Chaos is their job

A blanket statement like “small dogs are troublemakers” is just begging for contradiction. And, anecdotally, we know there are some incredibly angelic little dogs out there. We’ve just never met one. And we’ve encountered a multitude in our time.

It makes sense, when you consider their background. The vast majority of small dog breeds were developed as vermin-hunters. They have the size they do to fit into rats’ nests and vermin holes. Many people are surprised to find out that the elegant-looking Yorkshire Terrier breed was developed in the fabric mills of Yorkshire to rid the factories of rats. They look like fairy pets. They’re fierce like the dickens.

Where did this come from?

Small vermin-hunting dog breeds are also designed to work independently of people. Unlike most hunting and sporting dogs, little dogs “do their thing,” without any direction from their owners. The low-slung Dachshund are solo hunters, with badgers and other tunneling animals their primary prey. 

One possible exception may be the Toy Poodle. All Poodles are water retrievers, bringing back game brought down over water. Small dogs are not, by any stretch of the imagination, frou-frou, do-nothing creatures.

Which brings up a whole set of issues for people “downsizing” from bigger dogs. While it’s true that little dogs are easier to carry, you have to get hold of them first. Anyone who’s ever tried to coerce a little dog into staying where it doesn’t want to be (like the bathtub), knows the feeling. If you don’t know the taste of dog shampoo, you’ve never had a little dog. 

Problem solvers

These independent little hunters had to figure out, on their own, how to get to their prey. In modern times, this leads to all kinds of trouble, from figuring out how to open crate doors, to cabinets (where the snacks are), to climbing onto furniture (tables, kitchen counters). They can get under, and over, and into just about anything their creative minds desire. Which is why small dogs are troublemakers.

One of the best ways to make sure your dog stays out of mischief is to keep his brain engaged. If she’s trying to solve puzzles you’ve created, she’s not making up her own. One of our favorite games is “find it,” or a version of hide and seek. Deliberately place some treats around the house, in accessible but not obvious places. Small plastic leftover containers to keep the treats from getting too lost. 

A tired dog is a good dog

Your dog will love “finding” the treats. Even more than if you handed them to her. Dogs do feel a sense of accomplishment. Achieving a goal, using their natural abilities, and engaging their brains makes a good day for any little dog. And you’ll both have fun, too.

If your “find it” game whets your appetite for more, please check out our dog-training site: 2-Minute-Trainer.com You’ll find all kinds of training games to play with your dog, and new tips every week for more fun with your little troublemaker.

Does dog size matter? Big vs. little dogs

Does the size of the dog matter? Are little dogs smaller in anything but size?

There are all kinds of sayings about dogs. The one we hear all the time is “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog!”

Which is nonsense, of course. Except that it does point out that it’s attitude that matters more than actual size.

We love little dogs!

Many times when people come into the shop they say “We have big dogs, can we come in?”

And our absolutely truthful answer is: “We love all dogs – you and your dog are welcome here!” And the next comment, inevitably, is why little dogs?

Simply put – it’s harder to find “stuff” for small dogs, so, as small dog people, we created the shop we needed.

Put in perspective: there’s not a lot of size difference between a harness for a 60 lb. dog and a 70 lb. dog. There’s a huge size difference between a harness for a 5 lb. dog and a 15 lb. dog. The 15 lb. dog is three times the size of the five pounder!

Talking dog breed sizes

This week Hope was interviewed for a story about “small dog breeds for big dog people.” We suppose that when people are looking to downsize, they may want to shrink their dogs, too!

But as we told the reporter, different dog breeds were developed to do different “jobs” – and most of those jobs aren’t interchangeable.

Born this way

mastiff looking at camera

Most bigger dog breeds have the jobs of protecting, herding, sporting, or hunting. All of those jobs are done alongside people, with dog and human acting as a team. The sport of dog obedience, to this day, follows some of the traditions of long ago. Dogs “heel” on the left so that their humans’ right hand was free for fighting, or shooting, or using whatever tool the job required.

Different jobs, different looks

Smaller dog breeds do different jobs – the ones they were bred to do. Pest control is a specialty of most little dog breeds. For example, the adorable and elegant-looking Yorkshire Terrier is a determined little ratter whose original job was to keep the fabric mills of Yorkshire free of pests.

Bred for the job

Fox terrier head shot, 3/4 view looking to left

The other main “job” of little dogs is companionship. In today’s world, dogs of all sizes fill this role. Although it’s always a good idea to keep in mind the dog’s original function. A Border Collie isn’t well-suited to life in a city apartment where the owner works all day. Just as a Pug may not be the best companion for a marathon runner who wants an exercise buddy.

Collapsing Trachea in small dogs – how to cope

Does your dog honk like a goose when you go for a walk? Do you avoid playing with your dog so he/she doesn’t start coughing? Does the hacking start as soon as your dog gets excited Is he/she overweight? Is your dog a toy breed? Your dog may be suffering with Collapsing Trachea.

Collapsing Trachea isn’t your fault, and, in most cases, can be managed without surgery and with an excellent long-term prognosis. According to Veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker, the majority of dogs with the condition do just fine with “medical” management.

So what is Collapsing Trachea and how do dogs “get” it? VetStreet says it happens when “the trachea’s normally firm cartilage rings of support are softer and less supportive than they should be. In these cases, inhaling air during the normal act of breathing can cause the trachea to collapse on itself (much like a flimsy straw would with a thick milkshake), which typically elicits a hacking cough.”

Don’t blame yourself – you didn’t cause Collapsing Trachea!

And don’t blame yourself – Collapsing Trachea is an inherited condition. We haven’t done anything to cause it. And there’s quite a few things we can do to keep it under control.

The most important thing is to stop the cycle of throat irritation and inflammation. Veterinarians often prescribe cough suppressants, bronchodilators, and even steroids to get the flare-up under control. But there are things you can do help your dog breathe better right at home.

Use a harness

Don’t use a collar. Find a harness that fits your dog right. There’s no single harness that suits every dog, person, or situation. That’s why we carry so many different styles in a variety of sizes, materials, and colors. There’s one that will be perfect for you and your dog. If you need some Use harnesses to minimize Collapsing Trachea symptomshelp, you can use our Do It Yourself Online Harness Selector, or ask for personalized help from our expert staff. We’d love it if everyone could bring their dogs into the shop for a custom fitting – but we’ll make sure you and your dog are happy before we consider any order complete.

Watch their weight!

Next is to make sure your dog is the proper weight. According to Veterinarian Dr. Jean Dodds, “Additional pounds or ounces cause respiratory distress because hauling weight around requires a higher level of exertion.” This may be even harder, says Dr. Dodds, if the dog is on medication for the condition, “Many pet parents may struggle with this point if their companion dogs require exercise restriction or are taking corticosteroids prescribed to dampen the inflammation as they often cause weight gain. It’s a vicious cycle.”

Other ways to help

You can also help your dog by minimizing anxiety as much as possible. If your dog tends to be “high strung” and easily excitable, you might consider supplementing with CBD treats or oil. CBD is the non-psychoactive, healing compound derived from hemp.

Other ways to ease the symptoms of Collapsing Trachea include: adding some moisture to dry food to minimize irritation, and using some natural supplementation of glucosamine and chondroitin to reduce deterioration of the cartilage. In fact, Beef Trachea chew treats are a good source of these nutrients.

Who’s at risk?

There are specific breeds that are most prone to problems with Collapsing Trachea, including: Chihuahua, Lhasa Apso, Maltese, Pomeranian, Pug, Shih Tzu, Toy Poodle and Yorkshire Terriers. Those vulnerable would also include any mixed-breeds that include these.

While Collapsing Trachea is a serious concern, there are many ways to help your dog breathe easier.