Most of you know that while I love all dogs, my personal dogs have always tended to the larger breeds. In fact that smallest dog that I’ve ever regarded as “mine” was a 65 pound Labrador Retriever – all the other dogs have been in the 120 pound range. Needless to say these are not dogs that you scoop up in your arms whenever you feel the desire or need. In fact, I’ve always regarded this “scooping” technique as an excuse for humans with small dogs to avoid having to train their dogs. Really, why take the time to train your dog when you can simply pick them up whenever there is an issue?
You know the scenario: a little “yappy” dog keeps barking at your big dog and when your big dog turns around, the little guy’s human swoops in to save their petite canine. I’ve always wondered what my dog is thinking when this little dog goes flying over her head. Inevitably the big dog then looks up or jumps up to see what the heck is happening. So, is picking up your small dog the right response?
The folks at Tufts’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in their recent Your Dog newsletter seem to think so – but frankly I’m not sure why, given all the hedging they do on the issue. Dr. Dodman from Tufts first says, “it’s perfectly reasonable to scoop up your pet” if you’re worried about another dog attacking it – but then he goes on to say “[i]t may not work very well.” So why encourage a technique that may not work very well and may put you at risk? Dr. Dodman also acknowledges that scooping up small dogs allows them to become or remain reactive to larger dogs as well as to become nasty and confrontational because they never have to deal with the repercussions of barking at larger dogs. As an aside, Pet Camp never teaches the “scoop” in our Camper Cadets “Good Manners for the Urban Dog” program.
So what do you think? Is it good, OK, or bad that smaller dogs are often swooped away by their humans?
Thanks for reading!