Do you have a toy, tiny or small breed dog? Do you think it’s ok to carry them everywhere or do you think they should walk? Let me give the quick and firm answer…….No, it’s not ok to carry them all the time. Why? 2 reasons; Physical health and mental health.
Physical health reasons for walking your dog instead of carrying your dog
Owning toy, mini or small breed dogs is a lot of fun. People get these breeds in part because they love to carry and cuddle them. I will never tell you to stop cuddling your dog but I will tell you to stop carrying them. Dogs need exercise……..all dogs. Walking is one of the best forms of exercise for dogs.
The simple act of walking has so many health benefits. It burns calories, builds muscles and circulates blood, to name a few. Dogs who lack daily walks tend to develop health concerns such as obesity and chronic pain issues. The simple act of walking can protect your small dog from all sorts of aches, pains and discomforts.
Walking your dog on asphalt or cement will also help file their nails. Their nails can grow very long, very fast. If left too long they can actually start to curl. And they can curl right back into their pads, causing extreme pain. Think about it. Can you imagine how it would feel if your nails grew so long they curled into the bottom of your feet? Or even if they grew so long they actually disrupted the way you walk? Ouch!
Mental health reasons for walking your dog instead of carrying your dog
As a dog trainer, I’ve had hundreds of small breed owners talk to me about how aggressive their little dog has become toward other dogs. Well, simply put, that will happen when the little dog is always physically above their new acquaintance. Dogs need to meet and greet each other with 4 on the floor. They need to sniff and circle, it’s how they greet. When they’re deprived of this social necessity they get frustrated and can become aggressive, antisocial, dominant etc, etc. Imagine if you went through your life seeing other people but never being able to communicate with them the way you know how to. Just think what kind of toll that would start to take on your personality and people skills.
The other thing to remember is as dogs walk they sniff and explore. They check their neighborhood with their noses. It’s interesting to them and it mentally stimulates their brains. They learn from this. They feel great satisfaction in problem solving what it is they’re smelling and learning about their environment.
Obviously if you’re on a long or strenuous walk and your little guy is getting tired you can pick them up and carry them for a while. If it’s too hot or is otherwise a potentially dangerous situation, by all means, pick them up. But in all other situations, let them walk. They need the exercise and stimulation. It would be selfish of you to deprive them of that. Your little dog will live a much happier, healthier life if you simply let them walk! For tips on how to teach your dog to walk nicely on a leash click here.
Written by Brenda McBurnie, Certified Dog Trainer and Natural Nutrition
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