In defence of the small dog

In defence of the small dog

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

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Dear Editor,
Small dogs sometimes get a negative rap, including digs at their owners that they pamper and spoil them or use them as substitutes for not having a real partner. However, as we have become more urban, and our living accommodations more compact, smaller dogs can be a bonus because they are adaptable to these lifestyles.
While not everyone is comfortable with pets in the house, they can be trained to follow the rules. I acquired a Yorkie Pomeranian mix two years ago and she has been a comforting companion for members of the household, as well as offering a degree of protection as an alarm system — true, sometimes the barking is a nuisance. There are many good reasons why any person — be they female or male — may want to bring a small dog into the home.
1. Health and well-being: Small dogs can play a comforting role, lowering stress, and assisting people through a depressive episode or illness. If you take your dog for exercise, which you should, it also gives you the opportunity to exercise too.
2. It could improve your social life: You may meet your neighbours as you walk your dog and stop for a chat. However, carry a pooper scooper or newspaper to clean up your dog's poop, as this is often a source of contention.
3. Owning a dog can teach empathy and positive attitudes for animals to children. However not all dogs, particularly small dogs, are recommended for children. However, my dog is excellent around children and she is very loving and patient.
4. Smaller dogs are easier to bathe, they eat smaller portions, and require less money at the vet (for example, for surgeries). They are also easier to travel with — mine goes into a crate and then into my car with ease.
5. Small dogs can act as a deterrent to intruders even though they can't do that much. They make a lot of noise barking, so they can act as a warning system when someone approaches. They can also nip, dart around, and bite at the ankle, making it challenging to walk. Determined small dogs can also use furniture as launching pads when on the attack. I have seen this, no joke!
Some small dogs do look scruffy, dirty and miserable and would thrive with more “TLC”. It's always good to groom the dog regularly, check them for ticks or fleas, keep their dishes clean, and take them for walks. When my dog is groomed, people always comment on how cute and adorable she is. But cuteness and adorability does not mean they have to be spoilt. Small dogs can be trained just like bigger ones to be obedient — they are intelligent and perfectly capable of adjusting to house boundaries.
Every owner is different. My rules are that dogs are not allowed on the sofa, chairs, or the bed. I find it useful to use a toddler's barrier in my house, to keep her in place when needed. However, my dog can be mischievous, especially when she is seeking attention. She also has her quirks; for example, she is very timid around strangers. And then there are the annoying things, like teaching your puppy not to chew away at your furniture or your shoes. Most of the time, though, we have derived much joy from having her in the home; her loyal, playful and affectionate personality is a blessing.

Doreen Gordon

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