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Dog Training Mistakes Small Dog Owners Often Make

Small dog breeds have been popular companions for hundreds of years—Marie Antoinette was a fashion of small dogs and pugs, which she doted on in her palace. While some smaller breeds of dogs are considered to be work dogs, most small dogs are bred in order to be family pets and home companions. The term “lap dog” comes from the fact that many of these smaller breeds enjoy snuggling into their owner’s lap.

SDog_Training_Mistakes_Small_Dog_Owners_Often_Makemall dog breeds are very popular. However, they are also considered to be at a higher risk for behavioral problems, largely due in part to mistakes made by their owners. Among all of the dog breeds, small dogs are usually those who are the least trained or poorly trained, which can result in injuries, undesirable behavior and “attitude” problems in the dog. The following are the most common dog training mistakes that owners of small dogs often make.

Mistake #1: Letting Their Size Create Indulgence

Would you let a massive German shepherd jump up on a houseguest when they walk through the door? No. Likewise, you should not like your small Chihuahua or other small dog breed jump up on your houseguest, even though they likely won’t reach your houseguests knees on their hind legs.

Unfortunately, far too many small dog owners indulge their small dogs because of their size. Behavior which would be absolutely unacceptable in a medium or large sized dog is suddenly cute or adorable in a small dog. This mistake can result in a number of behavioral problems, including aggression, over-protection, and even safety hazards to the dog or people who interact with the dog.

To avoid this mistake, small dog owners should ensure that they train their small dog just as well as they would larger sized dogs. Basic commands and dog etiquette should be taught regardless of size.

Mistake #2: Long Training Sessions

For dog owners who do train their small dogs, there are still mistakes to avoid. The most common mistake made by small dog owners who do strive to train their small dogs is having training sessions which are too long and arduous. Most dog breeds are not patient enough for very long training sessions. Small dogs are especially prone to quick boredom or inattention due to their generally lower attention span. Dog owners may mistakenly believe they should train their small dog until they get it perfectly—this method, however, may cause the dog to become frustrated, bored and annoyed with the process.

To avoid this mistake, plan micro training sessions instead of longer ones. This will allow the dog enough time to learn and practice new tricks without making them bored or listless.

Mistake #3: Being Aggressive or Domineering

An all too common mistake made by small dog owners is being too aggressive or domineering with the dog. Small dogs are easy to frighten, and a human looming over them or yelling loudly may cause them to become nervous, skittish or even aggressively defensive. If you do need to take control of a situation, get down on the dog’s level and use a dominant stare until the dog looks submissively to the ground—then reward the dog for its behavior. Never shout, hit or physically threaten your dog.

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