5 Reasons Not to Carry Your Little Dog
The scene is set. You are taking your dog out for a late evening walk, everything is going well UNTIL you see a giant labrador running with his owner in your direction, he seems big and excited, could definitely be too much for your little pup. Your dog sees them approach and starts barking ferociously and trembling. You quickly scoop her up and comfort her softly. "It'll be OK!" you tell her. She begins to calm down in your arms as they pass by you, and you are her hero! Fade to black....
Now, let me tell the same story from the dog's perspective:
It was a dark and stormy night. ::Cue thunder cracking:: Danger lurked all around. You little dog has been here before, but there has always been uncertainty lurking in the shadows. She knows this because her person is there (you), comforting her, reassuring her that you won't let the monsters get to her, but, there ARE monsters out there. Luckily for her, you've been there EVERY TIME and swept her away from her near death experience when the boogie men (dogs/strangers/etc) have appeared, but next time.....who knows. It's a scary world out there, and she's not sure she could ever do it without you. The monster appears (cue crazy labrador running with his owner), full charge, breathing fire. She alerts her trusty human, sure that this time there will be no escape. Just death stares her in the face, but she narrowly escapes by you plucking her from the uncertainty of this foreign land known as the sidewalk.
1. Your little dog can be brave, but you have to prove it to them.
Of course being up high in your arms is safe, but you don't want them to live a life being afraid of what could happen with their feet on the ground. Starting from a young age, having them walk, letting them be startled a little by the world around them, and then seeing time after time that nothing will happen to them will build incredible confidence in your dog. Being brave means overcoming your fears, for all of us!
2. Free rides, courtesy of the fully trained owner.
Sometimes it's not always about fear, sometimes routine will get the best of us all. I mean, why walk when you can fly (or in this case be carried)? Don't let the habit of picking up your little dog because it's easier than getting the leash become an excuse for them to never have to walk on their own.
3. Exercise is good for the mind and body.
Not just for overweight dogs, but ANY dog. Exercise is important and often running around the house does not count the same way that running errands and running on the treadmill are not interchangeable! It's good for their little systems, brain and muscle function to get out there and do a little jogging at human pace!
4. Getting a complex
I've seen it happen time and time again. Some dogs, especially dominant dogs (even little ones), can let it get to their head when they are physically higher than other dogs, people or anything above ground level. It doesn't even mean holding them, sometimes it can happen from just letting a dominant dog come up on to the couch or bed. Beware that it can bring out the worst in a dog that already sees itself as higher and better than everyone and everything around it.
5. Reinforcing bad behavior
It is so rewarding to be held, pet, loved on and told everything is going to be alright by the people that mean the most to you! For people too! However, as a dog, if you are making bad decisions while being held, like continuing to bark, growl, scratch or worse, bite, you are literally reinforcing the bad behavior just by holding them. Now add petting them to 'calm them down' and you've added the icing on the cake for a reward. It does not matter if they are acting out because of fear or dominance or possession, reinforcing the behavior by comforting will never fix the problem.
Building confidence in your dog is SO important for a healthy mind and body. Most root causes of behavioral problems come from anxiety and lack of confidence. Getting the right training isn't just about fixing the problematic symptoms, it's about addressing the underlying issues.
Have a dog that needs a little confidence big or small? For more information, tips or questions please visit our website at www.dogtrainingredefined.com or email Andrea at Andrea@theanimaldept.com