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Sandra August 14, 2023

Protecting Your Small Dog on Walks

Dogs love walks, and we need to take them out every day, but you never know what other dogs you might encounter on your walks. Encounters with larger dogs can sometimes raise safety concerns when you have a small dog like a toy or miniature.  

Protecting your small dog from bigger dogs during walks requires a combination of preparation, training, and responsible behaviour. 

Tips to help you keep your small dog safe:

  1. Choose the Right Walking Locations:
    Select walking routes or areas where you know larger dogs might be less frequent. This could mean avoiding busy dog parks or areas where unleashed dogs are common.
  2. Use a Proper Leash and Harness:
    Opt for a sturdy leash and a well-fitting harness that gives you more control and safety. 
  3. Practice Obedience Commands:
    Train your dog to follow basic obedience commands such as "sit," "stay," and "come." This can help you manage your dog's behaviour in potentially risky situations.
  4. Teach Socialization Skills:
    Expose your small dog to various dogs and situations from a young age. Proper socialization can help your dog feel more comfortable and confident around other dogs.
  5. Body Language:
    Learn to read canine body language to identify signs of aggression or discomfort in other dogs. If you see a larger dog displaying signs of aggression (stiff posture, growling, etc.), create distance between them and you with your small dog.
  6. Be Aware:
    Pay attention to your surroundings and other dogs in the area while walking. If you see a big dog approaching and are unsure about its behaviour, calmly change your direction or cross the street to create distance. You want to ensure you feel comfortable, and your dog does too. 
  7. Carry Treats and Toys:
    Keep treats or toys with you to redirect your small dog's attention if needed. Distraction can help prevent potentially negative interactions.
  8. Utilize Verbal Cues:
    If you notice a larger dog approaching, use a firm, calm voice to give your dog commands such as "sit" or "stay." This can help maintain control over the situation.
  9. Be Assertive:
    If a larger dog gets too close and the owner isn't taking control, firmly but calmly let them know that your dog is uncomfortable with the interaction and ask them to leash their dog or give you both some space. If your small dog is on a leash or within reach, gently pick it up or keep it close to you to better block the approach. 
  10. Carry a Walking Stick or Umbrella:
    Carrying a walking stick or umbrella can provide a visual barrier between your small dog and a potentially aggressive dog. You can open the umbrella to create a temporary barrier if needed.
Remember that preventing negative interactions with larger dogs is the key. Be proactive, stay calm, and prioritize the safety and well-being of your small dog during walks. If you're unsure about a situation, it's always better to err on the side of caution.