Scary stuff walking a small dog

(38 Posts)
sarah8484 Mon 10-Feb-20 20:47:16

Took my Chihuahua for a walk to the park today, i have never been so scared. I picked him up every time we saw a dog or id change direction to avoid them. At one point i was a bit more chilled seeing 2 little shit zsu's with an elderly lady so felt ok but boy was i wrong, as soon as the dogs (both off leads) were a few feet away their teeth came out. My poor little dog just looked like bait to all the other dogs. Any tips or suggestions from people with smaller dogs? Do you avoid parks?

OP’s posts: |
BillHadersNewWife Mon 10-Feb-20 20:53:14

I have a small dog and have never once felt what you felt. I think you're over anxious? Other little dogs are more likely to have a bark or show off when they see yours.

Is it a new dog? Can you join an obedience/training class so you both gain more confidence?

CherryPavlova Mon 10-Feb-20 20:56:55

My 38kg big dog is terrified of nasty little yapping things. It’s always assumed the bigger dogs are the aggressor but that’s really not the case. People let their terriers and Yorkies come sniffing and snapping at my dog (who just wants to be left alone to sniff the trees). They ignore me telling them to call their dog off and get all huffy when after any amount of provocation he finally gives chase and squashes them.

All dogs should be under control and not allowed to approach others uninvited. They shouldn’t be off lead without recall. Nothing whatsoever to do with size.

sarah8484 Mon 10-Feb-20 21:00:00

He's 6 months old, ive had him just under 3 months but he's small (size of a small cat). He is such a confident little thing. You may be right about the anxious thing. He will more than likely be fine but it's putting him/us in that situation (walking past bigger dogs) that scare me 😬 will try again on our walk tomorrow and be a little braver (hopefully)

OP’s posts: |
adaline Mon 10-Feb-20 21:00:40

Why are you picking him up all the time? All you're going to do is create a really nervous dog!

Toy breeds are still dogs and should be treated as such. You wouldn't pick up a husky or a Rottweiler every time you saw another dog, so you shouldn't pick up a Chihuahua or a dachshund either.

AvocadosBeforeMortgages Mon 10-Feb-20 21:20:17

I also have a little dog (mini dachshund cross). The first thing I'd say is not to wrap them in cotton wool. You are very much running the risk of creating a nervous, snappy dog who cannot deal with the world in which it lives. The world isn't made for dogs as little as chihuahuas, so the best thing their humans can do is to teach them to live in the world as it is.

Let your dog go and say hello to other dogs, chase squirrels, sniff everything and dig up molehills. Dogs learn social skills from each other, and it really is vital that they are allowed to do so. My own little dog has played many an excellent game of chase / playfighting with rottweilers etc., and no harm has ever actually come to him.

Dogs, no matter their size, should be treated as dogs. Other dogs will recognise them as such - they are entirely capable of differentiating between squirrels, chihuahuas and cats!

frostedviolets Mon 10-Feb-20 21:38:24

My dog is fairly large (border collie), this won't be what you want to hear, but I started off a massive dog lover and pretty confident around dogs, I grew up in a 'rough' area where it was all pit bulls and status dogs, I had family members who fostered GSDs.

I am however now seriously wary of other dogs, due to their owners.

I have had many, many scary incidents with other dogs and my dog.

Dogs running over to attack her when she hasn't even seen them, owners demanding to say hello then their leashed dogs going for her, overly boisterous dogs jumping on her and hurting and scaring her.

I have had quite a few dogs go for me when I have been on my own too, DH has been bitten twice by the same leashed dog when walking alone.

I try to avoid other dogs, both when I am walking my dog and when I am out and about without a dog.

If I see another dog with my dog we walk at heel past, no stopping to say hello.
If both are off lead I watch carefully, if my dog wants to approach and the other dog seems to have good body language I allow a meeting.
Usually, off lead I recall my dog if the other dog looks like it's going to approach her.

Unfortunately, you can't pick up a 15kg collie and stuff her in a handbag.

If she was a chihuahua and I saw a larger dog off leash I totally would.

I wouldn't let it socialise with other dogs apart from my own or other chihuahuas/similarly sized dogs that I had met prior.


frostedviolets Mon 10-Feb-20 21:40:12

Dogs, no matter their size, should be treated as dogs. Other dogs will recognise them as such - they are entirely capable of differentiating between squirrels, chihuahuas and cats!

Highly prey driven dog can and do predate on small dogs sometimes.
Particularly if at a distance or in play, predatory drift I think it's called.

Espoleta Mon 10-Feb-20 21:45:33

Chihuahua mommy here. Here are my rules.
First rule- don’t pick up your dog.
Second rule- make him wear a harness so if you do need to make a swift exit you can do it safely.
Third rule- they might be small, but they are the most emotionally intelligent dogs I have ever known. My dog picks up on my emotions. If I’m worried, he’s worried.

If you’re really worried put the dog in a little coat over his harness for a little protection and keep on a lead.

DogInATent Mon 10-Feb-20 22:37:15

Staffy walker here, and the breed that gives our dog the most grief is Chihuahuas! She'll ignore them which is good as they're yappy little ----s always running at her yapping and snapping. So please don't mollycoddle them too much, they need to learn how to be dogs amongst dogs.

MartyrGuacamole Tue 11-Feb-20 09:10:58

I don't know... my 56kg dog has been attacked several times, all by tiny dogs. The last one drew blood while the owner laughed. Hilarious.

Train your dog to walk by your side, heel, recall etc. Teach leave it. Don't let your dog yip, jump and lunge at other dogs.

Other than that, pay attention to other dogs. Be prepared to calmly change direction, cross roads etc. If I see a dog pulling, not listening, lunging etc I avoid like the plague. Calm dogs walking at heel? Walk past. My dog pays zero attention to others unless he is told he can.

Ughmaybenot Tue 11-Feb-20 09:15:37

You are going to fuck him up keep panicking and scooping him up away from other dogs. He needs to, as a pp says, learn to be a dog amongst other dogs, just stay aware of your surroundings as any dog owner would, from chihuahua to Rottweiler.

Sleepycat91 Tue 11-Feb-20 09:20:20

Small dogs are worse. People cross over when i walk my mums dogs who are large but so dense they dont even notice anyone else. Yes not all large dogs are aggressive same as all small dogs. Its moron owners unfortunately which are the main problem

MrsMozartMkII Tue 11-Feb-20 09:21:10

My two 40kg Rotties are often barked at by small dogs. They've never responded, not even when a small ball of hair with teeth came out of nowhere and bit one of their tails.

I'd suggest that you have some sessions with a trainer. Learn to understand and manage your dog properly. It'll be best for both of you.

BarkandCheese Tue 11-Feb-20 09:41:37

My dog weighs 3kg, not chi but a pom.

Please don’t keep picking your dog up, I only pick mine up when I think there’s a genuine risk to her from other dogs. Most dogs are friendly or disinterested in your dog, picking your dog up is teaching it to fear other dogs.

You need to learn to recognise breeds and dog body language, dogs with high prey drive and sight hounds who might mistake your dog for a rabbit are the ones you need to watch out for. I had an incident with a vizler recently when it mistook my dog for a cat (according to its owner) and went for my dog. Fortunately both dogs were on the lead so I quickly scooped mine up with no harm done.

My dog has almost zero interest in other dogs, but if yours is inclined to want to interact with them you need to do some training appropriate to your dog’s behaviour.

You do have my sympathy’s though. As this thread shows a lot of people want to tell you how small dogs have upset their bigger dogs, and obviously it’s horrible when your dog gets distressed. However a chi or chi sized dog is never good to kill a big dog, but a big dog simply picking up and shaking your dog could kill it.

RoombaSavedMySanity Tue 11-Feb-20 11:51:28

Most 'good' trainers I know will happily take a booking for an hours walk with you and your chi just to talk you through the other dogs you meet, their body language and what to look out for etc.

It might then help you feel better about reading other dogs when you meet them?

pigsDOfly Tue 11-Feb-20 12:06:22

Yes, as pps have said, you absolutely have to stop picking your dog up.

I understand it's difficult when you feel your small dog is at the mercy of other bigger dogs - my dog weighs 6.5kilo fully grown - however, you are going to create problems for your dog if every time you see another dog you pick him up and cuddle him; you run a real risk of making him nervous and yappy.

I've never avoided parks but I did learn to read situations and plan ahead in case of problems.

Agree with pp who said have dog wearing a harness, all small dogs should anyway, but it does allow you to lift a dog up more easily in a hurry.

Chihuahuas are feisty little dogs, don't turn him into a bag of nerves, and yes, he will pick up on your fearfulness.

Make sure he's trained in the same way any bigger dog should be trained, that's vital if he's going to learn not to behave badly around people and other dogs.

Take him to training classes, it's a safe place, hopefully, for you to see him interacting with other dogs and allow him to interact with other dogs.

I've know a number of people with Chihuahuas, all of them have been allowed to run off lead in the park or on the beach and all of them were happy non yappy little dogs.

Lunafortheloveogod Tue 11-Feb-20 12:14:17

Stop picking him up!
My smallest is 3lb’s so even cats look big compared to him. He’s about the size our kitten was at 10/12weeks and 8years old so he’s not stretching soon. Keep him close on the lead, harness never collar and keep headphones out.

We’ve had bother with sight hounds who think he’s a rabbit until they get closer. Most dogs are either fine or at a great enough distance to be able to react and move out the way or if you really have to lift him up. I also used to walk in more woody places with a stick, wouldn’t hit another dog but it gave a barrier incase the lazy fuckwit owner was too far off round a corner to grab their lovely big bouncy thing.

Tiny is also not afraid to give a nip if something’s fucking him off.

incywincyspiders Tue 11-Feb-20 12:14:42

I pick my chihuahua up any time any bigger dog comes towards her. I don't care what other people think, if even a medium sized dog was rough with her, it could kill her. I'd rather be safe than lose my baby. People will say you're being over precious but honestly,.. would you regret it if something happened to him??

Also so predictable as soon as you mention he's a chihuahua that the small dog haters come out 🙄

adaline Tue 11-Feb-20 12:24:38

I pick my chihuahua up any time any bigger dog comes towards her.

All you're doing is telling her big dogs are something to be scared of.

BiteyShark Tue 11-Feb-20 13:00:14

I think there is a middle ground here.

Enlist a trainer to walk with you to guide you in reading body language and managing interactions etc.

However, no one here knows if a situation is getting out of hand and your dog is at risk of being attacked so you do need to trust your instinct and protect your dog and if that means picking them up to protect them then so be it. I have had to do that when mine was a small puppy and I wouldn't hesitate to do it again if I thought the approaching dog was aggressive.

frostedviolets Tue 11-Feb-20 13:00:59

I pick my chihuahua up any time any bigger dog comes towards her. I don't care what other people think, if even a medium sized dog was rough with her, it could kill her. I'd rather be safe than lose my baby. People will say you're being over precious

I couldn't agree more.

People seem to forget that a small dog is easily killed with one good shake and other dogs are fast.
Too fast for you to react really.
It's all very well letting them meet bigger dogs thinking you'll just pull their harness up if necessary.
Until it isn't.

Just a few days ago I was walking mine on lead, a GSD was up ahead, I saw it tense slightly when it saw us and immediately turned to go the other way, within a split second of that tensing it was going crazy snarling and lunging at the end of the leash.
They are so so fast.

I wouldn't let a very small dog near a bigger dog either and I also wouldn't care of other people's opinions.

If having my dog has taught me anything, it's that other dogs cannot to be trusted and their owners have zero care and zero control.

RubySunset Tue 11-Feb-20 13:10:52

You know how dogs learn most effectively to not be scared of something? A gradual and understanding practise of slowly introducing them as a distance they feel happy with, allowing them to build confidence as they go.

The same with humans. No one is ever going to stop doing what they are doing - especially if they are acting out of fear - because they were told by someone over the internet they will fuck their dogs up more doing it. If you care for the welfare of the dog and think the owner could be doing something better, there are far more effective ways of making suggestions.

You know how you decide if operant or classical training is likely to be most effective for a dog? You ask yourself if their actions are born out of a 'negative' emotion, such as fear? If they are, you will get further by focussing on the emotion than the behaviour.

Same with humans. If someone is picking their dog up because they are scared, then focussing on the fear is a better way to address it. Not just focussing on the behaviour.

Humans and dogs learn the same way and to make dog's lives better (if that truly is the goal) then you have to be understanding and work WITH the humans.

Smaller dogs are more vulnerable than bigger dogs just by the nature of their size. It'll take a lot less force to do significant damage to a chi than a lab. I can easily imagine it might be scary the first few times you see your tiny and well loved dog stand next to something that weighs 10 x it's weight and has teeth at one end. It might be even worse to do so if you've read an online forum describing small dogs in a negative way, because you'll also worry about what the other owner is thinking.

Trainers can help because you have someone alongside you who knows dog language well.

Social dog walks are another - because you can get to know most of the regular dogs and it becomes easier to trust a dog you know.

Obedience classes and sports classes can also be a way to do it.

The end goal being that you no longer feel so anxious when you see another dog out and about - thus making the walk much more pleasant for you and your dog smile

Knowivedonewrong Tue 11-Feb-20 13:48:12

I grew up with Chihuahuas, my mum's had 4 of them.
They were all feisty, yappy little buggers, who'd happily have taken on any bigger dogs.

However as others have said, don't pick up your dog.
I would just put your dog on a lead when it meets other dogs and stay close so that you are in control.

AndThenThereWereSeven Tue 11-Feb-20 13:50:40

The only dogs to have a go at my big dog are tiny ones. hmm

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