Please don’t think that just because your tiny dog has been putting up with it means he won’t bite you…or the kids. What recourse does a small dog have?
We have a seven-pound daycare dog that is just now, after more than six months, getting past his fear of being grabbed and held for hours. The Grabber moved out of the dog’s home last year so, at last, the dog is beginning to relax. The difference is noticeable to daycare workers who can call the dog and have him actually come to them. They can even pick him up if they need to. He still doesn’t love being handled but his attitude is much improved from what it was when he lived with the Grabber.
People think that dressing a dog in sweaters or hats is what we mean by not respecting the dog but it is much more serious than that. Many small dogs have no say in their lives because humans are swooping down like hawks.
At daycare, we can identify the worst cases because the dogs are skittish when approached. They keep just out of reach when offered a treat. Some want to go for a walk but won’t come up to get leashed.
Granted a dog needs training to come. In my classes, Come is taught first because it is the most important command. But it is taught so the dog wants to do it. Grabbing isn’t part of the curriculum.
Have you ever felt helpless? Then you know what the small dog must feel when he is walking through a room and two big hands lift him off his feet. Now he has no control over his small self. The human may have the best intentions: small dogs are, after all, extremely cuddly. But the dog needs to get to his destination without interference. That’s one way you can show respect.
Trainers advise to treat small dogs just like you would treat big dogs. You wouldn’t grab a big dog and hold him over your head or trap him on your lap for an hour. And, if you have any sense at all, you wouldn’t let your kids do it either.