Getting a dog during your middle years is an important decision. Often, we get a puppy when our kids are young- and we have the energy to potty train…and the rest that goes along with a new pup in the house. There may be even more to consider as we’re getting older.
So many people I talk to give me their opinion on the advantages of caring for a small dog. Here are some of the advantages: Easier to travel with; better for condos; don’t need to walk them as much; they can use a pipi pad; less expensive on food, grooming… you get the picture. All these reasons are undeniable. AND- before I get into the Big dog/ bad rap thing, I should tell you though, that I ADORE little dogs. It’s that carry around and cuddle thing that gets me (along with the other good reasons listed above- don’t get me wrong).
Our family has always had dogs, sizes ranging from 2 lbs to 65lbs. This year, we moved to a new house, two of my daughters got married- things finally settled and so we thought it was time to bring in a dog for this new time in our life. We got a Goldendoodle; despite everyone telling us we should get a small dog (again, for all the aforementioned reasons). Charlie is now eight months, 55 lbs so far, and a big goofy bundle of joy.
How’s life with a big dog? Let’s talk about the potty training. He was crate trained- and never peed once inside that crate. He’s now out of it and the accidents have been minor (at least I see where he’s going- not like my tiny pooches who left me surprises in the last place I’d think of! Not only when they were puppies…they did this for years!). Plus he can hold it forever.
Sure we have to walk him- but finally this gives me an excuse to get out there and get my own exercise! Something we really need as we get older. The walks can be so much longer, and less dangerous than for a smaller dog when it comes to them being closer to the ground and perhaps ingesting or sniffing something potentially dangerous. They also can get cold faster than big dogs (winter alert). It’s also a lot easier to run with a big dog. The list goes on and on when it comes to the exercising benefits.
When it comes to the chew thing, we’ve always given Charlie plenty of chew toys- so no disasters in my house. Is he excitable? When somebody shows up with their dog- Absolutely! But we are working on it. Has he ever darted out- yes- but he’s way easier to catch than my tiny ones were- and that doesn’t break my back! As for nipping, yeah he’s got a bigger mouth…but here again, you’ve got to train your pup! Mine used to do that and it was corrected- (except for my daughter’s boyfriend, who actually plays with him this way- He allows it). But that’s where it stops.
What about manners? Let’s be clear here: A bad mannered dog is a bad mannered dog- no matter its size. I can understand that the damage could be greater coming from a large dog. But does that mean that bad behaviour gets a pass when it comes from a cute tiny dog? The problem lies with the owner. Are you getting a smaller dog because you have no desire to train a dog properly, therefore you think by getting a small breed you are scot free? Think about that.
And the barking (for those of you considering the benefits in a condo)- big dogs are generally not yappers. As for the couch and lap situation- I could not get my small dogs from running back and forth off the couches; or wanting lap attention as soon as anyone sat down. My big dogs were told No, and that was it. How do I get my cuddle fix? Well, there’s so much more dog to love, cuddle and pet with a large breed! Then there’s the begging at the table. My dog doesn’t lick counters or put his face on the table for food. I’ve seen way too many little dogs actually picked up at the dinner table (letting them sniff off plates or even eat from them…whaaat?)
Big dogs get a bad rap. When they greet you they can come right up to your face (again, if you allow this). Little dogs are not necessarily more behaved- they can do the same! Except they only can stretch up to your knees! Big dogs look scarier because of their size- but that makes it easier for us to predict their behaviour. And there is an advantage to them looking scarier (even if they’re often scared of their own shadow- or tail between their legs around a bossy Yorkie!)- I actually feel safer walking him at night.
There are true benefits to owning a big dog. More exercise for us; that much more doggy to love; easier to contain; larger bladders so less pipi accidents; Easier to potty train (don’t want to gross you out but I have to say, even the poops are easier to find in the grass- says she who’s stepped on Yorkie treasure trails way too often!); There’s the added safety and protection around you; and so much more fluff to keep you warm.
Like I said before- I get those real good reasons for wanting a small dog. But as I get older, every day I notice the benefits my big goofy Charlie brings to me. Small or big- our pets need our love and care- that’s all they ask for. After all, they have no idea how big or small they are. So please, don’t judge a dog by its size!