You might be thinking of getting a dog for a pet. What breed, what gender, purebred or mutt, all of that only really matters after you decide what size to get. Small, medium, or big? Obviously, every dog is different, from breeds to personalities, but there are general facts that overall describe a group of dogs defined by their size.
Meet Lucy, a 3-year-old terrier mutt my wife and I found at an animal shelter in Atlanta. She was about 10 weeks old. From the onset, she was a bit of a handful, peeing everywhere like all dogs do, biting and tearing into things that weren’t toys, and barking whenever she was put into a crate, away from us. Granted, these are things that all dogs tend to do but can be trained to grow out of. What’s specific to a little dog?
Small dogs can actually be smaller than you anticipate, and are more prone to injury because of it. For example, I used to have a labrador/retriever mix and I’d occasionally rough house with. The same sorta thing won’t fly with a dog that’s 13 pounds. Not only that, but little things, such as accidentally stepping on her paw when she’s jumping around your feet, can elicit a sharp screech. Lucy’s usually okay when this kind of stuff happens, but it’s a good reminder to always make sure where she is when you’re moving around her.
Speaking of, smaller dogs tend to find smaller places to hide. Under a desk, the coffee table, and especially the bed. Every so often the dog vanishes until we call for her. Later on, I’d find all manner of miscellaneous things hidden under the bed that have been chewed through, not to mention the destruction caused to the box spring. Worse still, is the inability to get her out, as Lucy was much better suited to crawling around then we were.If you get a small dog, make sure to limit access to the bedroom or the dog may take it as its own personal space under the bed.
Small dogs are sneakier too. Leaving food on your plate at the coffee table and then walking away is a bad idea, as that dog can quickly hop up, grab something, and jump away before you see anything. Bigger dogs tend to take up space and are more easily seen. Try to make sure that your small dog has some kind of noisy collar, this way it helps keeping track of her period.
Traveling comes with pros and cons. Renting out apartments or staying at hotels with a dog becomes a tricky situation. However, smaller dogs are generally accepted more easily than those that are far bigger. However, during car rides, sudden stops will toss the dog around if she’s small. A bigger dog might lose its perch on a seat, but ultimately be okay. Smaller dogs have no way of securing themselves, unless you specifically get a device for that.
Lastly, and this kind of ties in with the rough play, keep in mind who you’re dog is playing with. Bigger dogs can typically take care of themselves, but smaller dogs can be easily overwhelmed by bigger species. This can be especially vital at a dog park. Thankfully, smaller dogs don’t require as much exercise as bigger dogs, so they don’t need to be let out as much as usually a walk around the neighborhood is enough to tire them out.
But a dog is a social animal, and one that’s ever faithful. Lucy has her problems, sure, but she’s a fantastic, if sometimes needy, companion that I couldn’t do without. Small dogs have their benefits too, requiring less to eat, less to clean up after, and being the perfect size and weight for being a lap warmer. Also, if you’re the kind to let a dog sleep in your bed, smaller dogs obviously take up less space. Either way, when considering getting a dog, check out your environment and make sure you’re ready to deal with whatever may come with a big or small canine. They may take a little bit of work and a little bit of tolerance, but they’re worth it, trust me.