Dog training is just as necessary for small breeds as it is for their larger counterparts. Given their small size, some pet owners overlook a tiny dog’s foul behaviour and pay little attention to their training needs. The problem here is that failing to train your furry little friend can result in behavioural issues such as aggression or incessant barking. A well-trained dog is a far more pleasant companion than a bad-mannered pooch.
So, training for small dogs? Is it easy? Training small dogs is actually quite easy. They require less space and are easy to manage. With the help of the right training from you using the correct commands, treats, leash and collar, you can mould your pet’s behaviour in a way that will make it very pleasant to have a small dog around, whether it be sitting quietly by your side or playing fun tricks to amuse yourselves and any visiting guests.
In this post, we will look at the benefits of training a small dog and consider the various tricks you can teach your pet. We will also tell you about some of the best training collars, leashes, and treats that are suitable for your small dog.
Are Small Dogs Harder to Train?
No, they are not. When you consider training large dogs vs. small dogs, the differences in their abilities are minimal. Some larger dogs have to be better trained and more passive compared to smaller dogs so as to interact more safely with people. When it comes to the training mechanisms, the variations are subtle. We use similar cues and positive-reinforcement techniques in order to mould a dog’s behaviour. However, these small differences can sometimes influence the ease of the training. As a trainer, you will realize that it is often easier and more beneficial to train a small breed than it is a large one.
Food and Treats
Food and treats are a critical part of a dog’s training, used widely by many trainers as reinforcement for a reward-based training. The thing with small dogs is that they fill up quickly so they don’t need to eat too much. When using food as reinforcement, you want to feed them only the tiniest bits to reward them. A crumb of chicken or just a tiny piece of his favourite snack will be enough for the little guy. This means that it is cheaper for you as far as buying dog treats is concerned.
Small Dogs are Adaptable
Given their size, small dogs are easily adaptable to small places such as a home and often fare better in confined spaces than larger breeds. The same applies when it comes to training; it doesn’t take much space to do this. You can comfortably and effectively conduct the entire training inside your house possibly without even having to use the backyard, although clearly any dog should really be given the space to roam outside.
The additional benefit here though, is that the dog can learn in an environment in which he is going to permanently live in. Your dog will be familiar with the surroundings, allowing him to remain calm and attentive during the training with no distractions.
Smaller dogs for most people are easier to manage during training. Even in situations when they get agitated, the trainer will have an easier time trying to calm him down. A small dog barking at you can seem funny and at times almost cute, but a large dog barking at you can be intimidating even for the most accomplished of trainers.
You won’t need to struggle with large props for small breed training. They only need tiny props that are easy to carry and will comfortably fit in confined apartments. Space is never an issue when training small breeds.
Training collars for small dogs
Training collars are a useful tool when it comes to shaping your pet’s behaviour. Some are very simple to use and are meant just for training periods and others are meant for longer term training, possibly because you have a behavioural issue.
For training your dog ON the lead the Halti Optfit Headcollar is a really good tool to use with any size dog but in particular with small dogs, it means that you can quickly gain control without having to constantly jerk their collars and it stops that gnashing little devil that you can sometimes have at your heels – See our Training Collar Page Here
Training Off The Lead
For an OFF the lead option some collars emit a flashing light or a bleeping sound which for many small dogs is often enough to gain their attention, allowing you to enforce any command. These collars are to help you reinforce good behaviour, not for you to scold the dog. Incorrect use will not help you gain good behaviour, look at our Training Collar Page.
For those more difficult to control dogs some collars emit small electric shocks that serve to discourage any really bad behaviour that the dog may exhibit during training or simply at your home. Luckily, it is a small shock that will cause the dog very little pain with no significant harm. But once again this is not something that should be over used or abused by the dog’s owner. You will find a few examples of these collars and where to get them Here.
Training Leashes for Small Dogs
Training leashes come in many lengths and are suitable for any size dog, they can be used indoors just as well as outdoors and are perfect for dogs that are timid allowing them extra space while they gain confidence.
They are also excellent to use with treats and will help both of you gain confidence in each other.
The following are good examples of amazing leashes that are suitable for training small dogsand at the time of writing this are available at Amazon:
Hi Kiss 6ft Black Extra Long Line Training Dog Leash- This leash is only $6.99. The nylon leash’s length is suitable for teaching your pet recalls and has a thickened handle to give you a firm grip, click here to take you to Amazon.
Peteast Retractable Dog Leash- This nylon leash features reflective piping that makes your dog visible in lowly lit areas. It has a 5-7 millimetre retractable width and a swivel lock that doesn’t restrict your pet’s movement. This leash sells for $15 on Amazon.
Mycicy Rope Dog Leash- This reflective leash comes with an amazing design and bright colors. It stretches 4ft and has a safety lock that ensures your pet doesn’t slip off. This leash is quite durable and has a padded handle for your comfort. For $10, you can buy it on Amazon.
Training Treats for Small Dogs
When it comes to training miniature dogs, treats are an extremely useful reinforcement tool. Dogs will totally appreciate the food and respond correctly to the commands you give. However, before you decide to buy dog treats for your training session, consider the following best features:
Size- The treats need to be as small as possible to ensure your dog eats them super-fast without getting distracted from the training.
Convenience- They should easily fit in your pocket and solid enough to hold their shape well; not crumbly and greasy.
Healthy- They should be healthy with a low calorie-content so that in a way, they supplement your pet’s normal diet.
Delicious- The taste should be sweet so as to excite your dog and motivate him to get the commands right for more treats.
Simple Tricks for training small dogs
Training your pooch is usually an exciting time for any pet owner. Not only do you get to bond with each other, but you also learn just how intelligent your dog is and how far you can push the boundaries of his or her obedience. It is also fun when you get to experiment with different commands and quite fulfilling when your small dog finally gets the hang of it. The following are just some of the easy and cool tricks that you can teach any small breed:
1. Handshake- There is nothing more amusing than a small dog mimicking consummate human behavior. This is what has made the “shake hands” trick such a timeless classic. This trick is quite easy to teach; you want to start by commanding your pooch to sit. Gently reach for his paw and lift it as you say “shake”. Some dogs instinctively lift their paw as a response to your touch while others will require further coaxing and repetition to eventually get it right.
2. Speak- Small dogs are generally the chattiest in the canine world and this makes it easier to teach them the “speak” trick. You want to look for things around your house that are always causing your dog to bark. This could be the doorbell or the ring on your phone. Use this as a cue when it goes off so that when the little guy starts yapping, immediately shout “speak” after his bark. It won’t take long before he associates this command with his bark.
3. Dance- Dance tricks are some of the most exciting for pet lovers around the world, especially if it’s a small dog. There are numerous versions of dance moves you can teach your pup. One popular move is the “back it up”. Simply march towards your dog, which forces the little guy to move backwards or get trampled on. When he starts to backpedal, yell “back” and reward the dog with a treat. Incorporate some music as you repeat this and soon you could have your pooch pulling off an impressive “Moonwalk”.
4. Two Legged Beg- Possibly one of the cutest moves you could teach your little canine friend. Hold their favourite treat in front of them in the air just out of reach. Encourage them to take the treat and as they raise their head to get it raise your hand with the treat until they lift their front paws off the ground, then give them the treat. As they get better at balancing, they will get taller and many will wave their paws in an act of balancing which makes them look all the more cute.
What are the Benefits of Having a Well-trained Dog?
There are numerous benefits to owning a well-trained small dog. An obedient dog is less likely to cause trouble when they meet the neighbour’s pet dog; they socialize better with dogs they are meeting for the first time.
They also interact better with strangers, so you won’t have to worry about cases of aggression when guests pop by your house or when walking the dog outside.
Trained dogs are generally well-behaved, particularly when you have kids coming around. It will make for a fun playtime without any cases of bites or misbehaviour.
In most cases a well-trained dog is a happy dog, most dogs like to have a pack leader as it gives them security and as you train them YOU become the pack leader.
As the owner, you also get a good share of entertainment from the dog when he executes the different tricks that you have been teaching him. Finally, the time you spend in training your dog strengthens the bond between the two of you and ensures a lasting loyal friendship for the rest of your lives together.