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Tips for Training the Small Dog

I found a wonderful site called PPE Pet Supplies that sells pet supplies for dogs & cats, as well as other small animals.  They also have menu item called "Knowledge and Fun" which has several categories including Pet Health and Information as well as Dog Poetry and Interesting Dog Stories. 
 
The following information came from their link on training.  Here's some great ideas for training your toy or tiny toy breed dog.  I know I'm going to be trying some of these ideas out on our little dog.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Don't let anyone tell you that training a small dog is easier than training a large one. Much of your training time will be spent bending over or kneeling. A large dog may run you over, a small dog will trip you. Small dogs can squirt through tiny openings and run at break neck speed down the block. Small dogs perch on furniture or their owner's laps and pretend to be big dogs. (Most little dogs have no idea that they aren't big dogs!).

Tips for Training the Small Dog

Tip # 1: Save your back. Introduce new exercises on a raised surface. A grooming table or picnic table will bring him up to big dog level and make your job so much easier. (Don't use the dining room table unless you want to find him there later!).

* Teach sit, down and stand at your level - with a bonus: fewer distractions! * Stays are easy to explain at the table's edge. * Leash work can be accomplished by walking around the picnic table. The dog's nose will be at your elbow, the food lure will be an easy target. He will learn to stay with you on L. turns, you can halt and sit and even change pace, normal, fast or slow as you move around the table. * Come when called can be easy, too. Have someone hold your dog at one end of the table while you center yourself at the other end. Target a spot close to your belly button and call! Once your dog has learned the words and hand signals on the table, it will be easy to transfer the lesson to ground level. Introduce heeling by backing away while the dog follows the food lure in target position (level with his nose and close to the seam of your pant leg. Again, you will appear more inviting and the dog's natural prey drive will cause him to "chase" you. Solid leads, touch sticks and target sticks are other ways to guide the small dog while maintaining a normal body posture. A solid lead might be a dowel with a clip on the end or you can run his leash through a length of PVC pipe. Ask your instructor about the proper use and training technique of teaching your dog with touch or target sticks. Choose an appropriate leash and collar. If the metal snap is too big, it will weigh on your dog's neck. Chain leashes will hit him in the side of the head. The collar choice depends on the temperament and touch sensitivity of the dog. Be aware that many miniature and toy poodles have a genetic tendency toward trachea problems and must not be allowed to pull on the leash. The problem with harnesses: harnesses were designed for pulling. They allow the dog to throw its weight against the chest piece for optimum pulling power. They also limit your ability to direct the dog - they swivel off the middle.

Tip # 2: Don't LOOM! When your little dog is on the ground looking up at you, imagine what he sees. Many little dogs stay out away from their handlers for two reasons: (1.) So they can see the handler's face, and (2.) to stay out from under their looming handler. Stand up straight, don't hover over your dog. Dogs express dominance by looming - your small dog may find you very intimidating when you bend over him or reach over his shoulders. Sit, squat or kneel, keeping your upper body straight or -especially important on recalls- leaning slightly backward. You will appear much more inviting and friendly!

Tip # 3: Avoid reinforcing "learned helplessness." Because of their size and permanent puppy expression, many small dogs are coddled and babied. This isn't healthy for the dog or the owner. Let's put it in perspective: if a Rottweiler fell down and feigned "I can't go another step" would his owner pick him up and carry him home? If treated like a big dog, even the tiniest dog can grow confident and calm, instead of shivering and whiny. Many small dogs are bratty and manipulative and will use "helplessness" to get you to do their bidding. If he can launch himself onto the couch, he can make it up those steps. If you choose to carry him up the steps, pick him up BEFORE he has refused to try it himself.

Tip # 4: Don't reinforce the "Little Napoleon." Your little dog has all the instincts and drives of a large dog. He will defend his territory with a vengeance if allowed. What the small dog lacks in size he makes up for in noise and bravado. Don't pick him up. If he spouts off and gets a hug, what are you rewarding? From his high perch in your arms or on your lap he can look down on his adversary from a very dominant position.

He's not really being "protective." The small dog who growls when another family pet comes near or your spouse wants a hug isn't being protective, he's being POSSESSIVE! To him, you are a pig's ear. Something to own, to keep away from the other pet -or worse- human. This "jealousy" shows lack of respect for you, the pack leader. DO NOT ALLOW IT. Put him swiftly onto the floor - privilege lost!.