Can small dogs get away with anything?
But, being a big dog’s human, I’d have to agree with Joan Klucha, a British Columbia dog trainer: It’s not entirely right — emphasis on entirely — for big dogs, and their humans, to be held to a higher standard than small dogs.
Klucha, in a column for the North Shore News in Canada — one I’d guess she’s going to take some grief for, diplomatic though it is — points out that little dogs can get away with a lot more than big dogs can.
A case in point is poop, which is what she starts the discussion with, recalling a visit to a client who, once she saw the condition of her home, Klucha assumed wanted help with house training.
“Oh, we don’t care about that,” the client said. “They are little dogs. Their poop is so little we clean it up and it’s not a bother at all. It’s their barking; it’s driving us nuts.”
A little dog can jump up, drop a load, be yappy, be rambunctious, even attack, but it’s often not taken as seriously as when a big dog does those things. As Klucha notes:
“There is a general consensus among many people that the size of a dog determines its behaviour, meaning a small dog automatically means a good dog. Let me set the record straight: The size of a dog is never the issue that determines whether a dog is good or bad. It is always the owner.”
Klucha points to a recent case in Ontario in which a small dog bit a child and the dog’s owner argued her dog was too small to be vicious, and not a threat to anyone.
“If this was a large dog, the outrage over the incident would have demanded that the dog be euthanized,” Klucha says.
“When someone sees a small dog lunging, barking and snapping while pulling at the end of a leash, they chuckle to themselves or don’t give it much thought. If it was a large dog behaving like that, animal control would surely be called out to deal with the situation.
“Small dogs get away with many inappropriate behaviours simply because they are small … Large dogs live under a microscope and are scrutinized for every misdeed.”
When you have a big dog (and mine’s 130 pounds) you do have a heavy responsibility. But small dog owners have a responsibility, too, and while most live up to it, there are those — not you, of course — who think their precious little one can do no harm and let them get away with anything short of murder.
Where the double standard most offends me is when it’s in the form of rules – at motels, in apartment complexes or from other entities that set weight limits under the thinking that big dogs automatically cause bigger problems. That’s just wrong.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
I’m going to go pet a little dog now. His name is Bogey. That’s him in the picture. He lives a few doors down, and he’s very well behaved. I will try to make sure my dog Ace doesn’t pee on him again. Even though Bogey likes to walk under Ace — perhaps for the shade, perhaps for the view, perhaps for the sake of sniffing – he doesn’t deserve a surprise shower.
Being a big dog owner, making sure that doesn’t happen is my responsibility.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, behavior, big dogs, bogey, discipline, dogs, double standard, joan klucha, manners, obedience, pee, perceptions, pets, poop, rules, small dogs, standards, train, trainer, training