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Tips for Training Small Dogs

April 15, 2015
Is your canine friend on the smaller side? If so, you may think you don’t need to worry as much about training your four-legged pal, but that actually isn’t the case. All dogs, whether big or small, fluffy or sleek, playful or serious, should know at least the five basic commands. These key commands are Sit, Stay, Lay Down, Come, and Heel, and they are very important for your pooch’s safety. Many small dogs don’t get proper training, because people assume that bad doggy manners isn’t a big deal in little pooches. Unfortunately, this puts these pups at much greater risk of running into traffic or getting lost. When it comes to training little dogs, the basic tactics are the same as with larger canines. Consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are key. That said, there are some things you’ll want to approach differently with small breeds. In this article, your Des Moines vet offers some tips for training littler pooches.

Eye-to-Eye Approach

You most likely tower over your little buddy, and this can be intimidating for your canine friend. Get down on the ground, or put Fido up on a table, so that you are on the same level.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is always a better tactic than negative reinforcement when it comes to training animals. This is especially true with small dogs. If you are training your dog on a leash, you could easily hurt your pooch by jerking on the leash to correct his behavior. Use tiny treats instead.


For the most part, housetraining a little pooch is the same as housetraining a big dog. There is one thing to keep in mind with smaller dogs, however: they have much smaller bladders, and need to go more frequently.


One thing that sometimes happens with small dogs is that their owners don’t always stay consistent. They may reprimand Fido for his bad behavior one day, and ignore it the next. This can lead to bad doggy manners! Be consistent.

Ready To Launch

Small dogs are often picked up. Being lifted into the air unexpectedly can startle little furballs. Train your pooch to anticipate being picked up by using a key phrase. Do you have any questions about your dog’s health, care, or behavior? Please contact us, your Des Moines veterinary clinic, any time. Please visit our website here for more articles.

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