Article © Darlene Arden.
How To Raise A Healthy, Well-Adjusted Dog:
10 Tips For Small Dogs 20 lbs and Under
Cassie (Pug - aged 4 yrs) and Jasmin (Lhasa Apso also 4 yrs)My
courtesy Susann Hills
You can have a happy, healthy, well-adjusted little dog.
Keep in mind that he's a real dog but he does have special
- Your little dog views the world differently. Everything
looks gigantic to him. Stop and think about things from
his perspective then try to see things from his point of
- Housetraining is a big issue for little dogs. You must
be gentle, patient and consistent, rewarding him when he
does the right thing in the right place. Little dogs feel
vulnerable outdoors. Be sure he has a safe place to relieve
- Your small dog has feet. Be sure he uses them! Exercise
is important to keep your little dog healthy.
Greyhound puppy is Lovesong Rainero di la Scala, call
the Maine Coon is 13-year-old Wesley. Photo courtesy
of Judith Jerome
- Little dogs, like big dogs, have to be socialized. Take
your little dog to all sort of places and let him meet new
people as well as experience new sights and smells.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Little dogs can be injured
by big dogs that are running loose.
- Small dogs and small children are not a good mix. Toy
dogs can be accidentally injured or killed by small children.
Never leave them alone unsupervised and never let a child
pick up a small dog. The dog can be accidentally dropped
causing injury or even death.
Cocooning: a Chihuahua puppy
the good life.
Photo by Una Valanski
- Use a harness instead of a collar when walking your dog.
Toy dogs often have a collapsing trachea and you don't want
to put pressure on that area.
- Enroll your little dog in an obedience class. Just be
sure that the instructor uses positive reinforcement only
- no choke collar! - and that all puppies are sorted by
size for play period. You don't want your little puppy inadvertently
injured or traumatized by a larger breed puppy during play.
- Play gentle games with your small dog. Don't play tug
of war - not only is it the beginning of aggression training
but a small dog can be swung around on a tug toy and injured.
- Ask your veterinarian to teach you to brush your small
dog's teeth. Little dogs have crowded mouths and terrible
dental problems. Dirty teeth can cause other health problems.
Only use the flavored toothpaste that's made especially
for dogs. Human toothpaste can cause digestive upsets
if it's swallowed.
| Darlene & Pilot, Texas book signing.
Photo courtesy of Pam Martin