Introducing Small Dogs To Larger Dogs

Doesn’t it often seem like small dogs suffer from a Napoleonic complex? Small dogs may act aggressively toward other people, children, and dogs which can be a significant annoyance.  Especially at the dog park, small dogs may not socialize well with larger dogs.  Indeed, whether small dogs are behaving out of fear or aggression, they can make it very difficult to have a relaxing day at the park.  They may bark incessantly or cower in fear when approached by larger dogs; fortunately, there are some steps you can take to help you introduce small dogs to larger dogs.

Take Things Slowly

The most important advice dog owners will receive is to take their time.  You want to work your way up to socializing your small dog with big dogs, so you should start by introducing your dog to another dog of a similar size.  If you have a friend with a small dog or even if you meet somebody at the dog park, you can arrange a play date for two small dogs.  As your dog becomes more confident, he will also be more comfortable with the other dog.  Next, you can introduce your dog to a medium dog and eventually a large dog.

 Maintain Control

Ideally, you want to maintain total control over your dog, but this means you have to have control over your dog’s environment and interactions.  For example, if you arrange a play date for your dog and another dog, you want to find a neutral, stress-free atmosphere for the date.  Any pet friendly location or dog park that you frequent is a great choice as your dog will already be familiar with his surroundings.  Also, meeting at home may actually exacerbate problems as small dogs tend to be quite territorial; in efforts to protect his home, your dog may become more aggressive during the play date.  In addition, when you meet in a public place, you want to keep your dog on a leash when introducing him to another dog.  This will allow you to maintain control over your dog even if he begins to act out.

 Keep a Safe Distance

Finally, in the early stages of introduction to large dogs, you want to keep a safe and comfortable distance for your dog.  One really great idea is to introduce the dogs through a chain link fence.  The dogs will still be able to see and sniff each other, but the fence will provide a protective barrier that prevents more dangerous aggressive behaviour.  Some dog parks even have segregated areas for small and large dogs which is the ideal opportunity for you to familiarize your small pup with larger ones.  You’ll also be able to safely observe your dog’s behaviour to see his progress