Should I let my toy poodle play with the pit bull?
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Thread: Should I let my toy poodle play with the pit bull?

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    Senior Member Thracian's Avatar
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    Should I let my toy poodle play with the pit bull?

    My neighbor just got a gorgeous pit bull. I've been working with the boys to get them used to having a dog next door since there is just a chainlink fence dividing them. Cupid especially is pretty reactive. Anyway, that is coming along. We just started yesterday.

    This girl is clearly desirous of doggy company. She had opportunities to go inside the neighbor's house but stayed outside as long as my dogs were out. Clay was out by the fence and she went to him and did a perfectly executed play bow. It was too adorable.

    Clayton loves other dogs, and it seems like he would like to play with her as well. I'm wondering if pit bull owners would recommend allowing them to play. And if so, how to set up the situation for success. I will continue to watch the interaction over the next couple of weeks to see how they do through the fence.

    Abby is about two and appears to be maybe 40 pounds. Clayton is one and about 10 pounds. Thoughts? My neighbor says she grew up with other dogs and does good with them. I'm not sure if she's really been around small dogs, though.

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    Re: Should I let my toy poodle play with the pit bull?

    I'm about to talk out of both sides of my mouth!!!

    I would guess it would most likely be okay if her dog is very social. However, I myself would never allow my pit bulls to play with a dog when there is such a huge size difference. I DO allow my dogs to play with nice large dogs that are owned by close friends. However, your situation would be a NO in my world.

    The reason: Pit bulls play really rough. They body-slam, drag each other by their faces, roll around, charge... It's pandemonium. If your poodle got freaked out and defended himself (which would be reasonable!!!) my pit bulls would be mad. I have one that will play all day, but an angry bite makes him mad.

    Because of the size difference, this would be a risk I wouldn't take.

    I won't let my beloved dogs play with my best friend's Boston, which is almost criminal because most likely they would have a blast. However, I couldn't forgive myself if she got busted up or killed. It's just not worth it.

    I'm sure I'll get blasted for my opinion. I own 4 pit bulls.

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    Senior Member zimandtakandgrrandmimi's Avatar
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    Re: Should I let my toy poodle play with the pit bull?

    Depends on the pit bull, the owner and you.

    Generally id say no for the reasons above but if this is a docile dog and you and the owner keep a close eye and intervene if nessecary..should be ok.

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    Re: Should I let my toy poodle play with the pit bull?

    Yes, it would definitely depend on the dogs nature and obedience. If it can easily be called off or was a very calm, easy going dog, I wouldn't see a problem. Likewise, if your dogs were very excited and jumped all over her and ran, her pray drive could kick in, and that would all depend on her and her obedience. My pitbull played with my GSD puppy from 12 weeks just fine, but he's calm and will listen, with pretty much NO drive.

    I would ask your neighbor if she's every played with a dog their size before and how it went, what her general nature is, and go from there.

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    Re: Should I let my toy poodle play with the pit bull?

    I do not have a pit bull, but I have a large (80lbs) lab/mastiff mix who we allow to play with our neighbor's westie (19lbs) and out other neighbor's pomeranian (10lbs). My dog is VERY docile and tolerant. She has actually been attacked twice by little dogs (not the ones she plays with), and she has never reacted negatively. When she "plays" with the neighbor dogs, it mostly involves them running after her as she runs in circles and figure eights with her butt tucked.

    Before we allowed the dogs to play, they met with Hoku on leash and the little dogs off, and we allowed them to play like that for a few minutes to make sure Hoku played gently. When we transitioned to off leash play, there was a lot of close supervision (still is) and intervening if we thought Hoku was getting too rough.

    I don't know about your exact circumstances, but for us, Hoku and the little dogs seem to enjoy each other and the play has always been safe. No wrestling or anything though...

    I want to add that Hoku seems to have pretty much NO prey drive, I do not know if that makes a difference...
    Last edited by Dreadog; 04-20-2010 at 01:05 PM. Reason: add infor

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    Senior Member Thracian's Avatar
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    Re: Should I let my toy poodle play with the pit bull?

    I appreciate the opinions you've given so far. I have to say that my first thought is no--not because Abby is a pit bull, but because of the size difference. Which is why I thought I would ask here. Plus I know there are a lot of pit bull owners here who would give me good advice.

    The neighbor describes Abby as very, very mellow, but they've had her less than a week. She is very well behaved. My dogs ran up to the fence when they saw her and barked like mad, while she just stood there and looked at them curiously.

    My neighbor hasn't mentioned letting them play together, but I decided to give it some thought before it comes up (if it ever comes up). I'm going to keep observing their behavior through the fence. I also like the idea of having Abby leashed at first if play is allowed to see how it goes.

    People who have seen Clayton play often comment that he plays hard. He loves rough-and-tumble play, but rough-and-tumble for a ten pound dog is different than it is for a forty pound dog. He has a little shih tzu friend that he plays with, and they chase each other around and wrestle. Here's a pic.



    They are only able to get together about once a month, though, and Clay is such a social dog. He would love to be friends with all the dogs in the neighborhood. LOL.

    Anyway, I will keep watching and pondering. Any additional advice would also be appreciated.

    I'll try to get a picture of Abby. She's beautiful.

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    Re: Should I let my toy poodle play with the pit bull?

    I think the leash idea is iffy. Even if she isn't aggressive and you're just worried about play styles, the leash could add extra tension and frustration for her which could make her potentionally aggressive. I think if you're worried about removing her from the situation if things get too rough a longer lead that she could drag would be less stressful, but at the same time, you'd have to worry about dogs getting tangled/stuck in the rope/lead then. They're all risks you'd have to weigh logically.

    Couldn't you post an ad online or in a vets office to see if there are any small dogs in your area that would be interested in smaller group play dates for Clayton and Cupid?

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    Senior Member MegaMuttMom's Avatar
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    Re: Should I let my toy poodle play with the pit bull?

    Cherokee often plays with small dogs. Though Cherokee can box with boxers and is very mouthy with herding breeds, he has never tried to play like that with small dogs. He instigates chase with the little ones and he handicaps his speed so they can keep up. His mini poodle cousin is very clever about cutting off the circle to keep up with him. It really depends on the dog and wether he plays with all dogs like they are his size or if he alters his behavior so that he is safe with little ones.
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    Re: Should I let my toy poodle play with the pit bull?

    If your neighbor has only had her dog for a week, I would wait a little while! My sweet and mellow angel became a TON of dog as soon as the shelter blues faded! He is still the greatest dog in the whole world, but it takes a little time for some dogs to reveal themselves.

    You are there. You love your dog. You will be the person with the most accurate picture. I am confident in your judgement.

    Me? I am paranoid. Always. So I wouldn't do it, but that maybe makes me more nuts than right!

    The input about the relevance of prey drive and energy levels is really important. The dog I don't trust has arousal issues and prey drive ALL DAY LONG. He's crazy. Good think I like em like that!

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    Senior Member Taz Monkey's Avatar
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    Re: Should I let my toy poodle play with the pit bull?

    2 of my dogs are 60 lbs and have no problem playing with much smaller dogs. I'm talking an 8 lb maltese. I foster small dogs and puppies and the largest foster I've ever had has only been 24 lbs. The rest have ranged from 2 lbs to 24. Mine have no problem, and when it gets rough, I put everyone in a time out. But most of the time my bigger dogs will get down on their stomachs to wrestle with the smaller ones.
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    Senior Member wvasko's Avatar
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    Re: Should I let my toy poodle play with the pit bull?

    Quote Originally Posted by trainingjunkie View Post
    If your neighbor has only had her dog for a week, I would wait a little while! My sweet and mellow angel became a TON of dog as soon as the shelter blues faded! He is still the greatest dog in the whole world, but it takes a little time for some dogs to reveal themselves.

    You are there. You love your dog. You will be the person with the most accurate picture. I am confident in your judgement.

    Me? I am paranoid. Always. So I wouldn't do it, but that maybe makes me more nuts than right!

    The input about the relevance of prey drive and energy levels is really important. The dog I don't trust has arousal issues and prey drive ALL DAY LONG. He's crazy. Good think I like em like that!
    Myself, I don't understand the need to have a small dog play with a larger very strong dog that can just smack a small dog with a paw and cause damage. I think TJ's advice is right on the button. I would not care what the neighbor said about her experience with dogs. 99% of our personal dogs have been large dogs(50 lbs and up) If I owned a small dog there would be no playing at all with larger dogs. Life is full of choices though.
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    Senior Member Mr Pooch's Avatar
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    Re: Should I let my toy poodle play with the pit bull?

    Quote Originally Posted by trainingjunkie View Post
    If your neighbor has only had her dog for a week, I would wait a little while
    Me? I am paranoid. Always. So I wouldn't do it, but that maybe makes me more nuts than right!
    ^^^^^
    I second the above im the exact same way and training junkie your not nuts just responsible

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    Senior Member ThoseWordsAtBest's Avatar
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    Re: Should I let my toy poodle play with the pit bull?

    I allow Jonas to play with our neighbors Pit, who has 60 lbs on him. But they never play alone, and thanks to Smalls I know exactly when a situation is going to turn sour before it does. Their Pit is a lovely girl =and in the last year we have never had even close to a bad situation between them. Smalls once but every thing was stopped before it even really started. I saw Smalls' hard eye and stiffen and we were out. So if you feel comfortable observing them closely and being prepared to intervene, and they have good doggy manners together, then I personally would.

    It's a big bonus for Jonas who is DA ESPECIALLY towards dogs larger than he is (so, you know, 99% of the dogs we meet) and I haven't the slightest idea what is different about her. When we first moved in she was outside and Jonas flew to the fence. I went to get him expecting his barrier aggression + dog aggression to blow up, but they're both in the corner muzzles to the fence and Jonas is just dancing and licking her face through the fence. Love at first sight.

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    Senior Member Laurelin's Avatar
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    Re: Should I let my toy poodle play with the pit bull?

    I agree with waiting some time too.

    Also, it depends on the dogs. I don't let my papillons play with my cousin's pit bull that I know really well (and love). It's just not a good match. He's very big and to be honest a kind of clumsy goofball. With the paps being so small, we separate them whenever everyone's together. We spent thanksgiving living in the same house with him and just did a kind of crate and rotate version. If he wasn't so young and boisterous I would have tried them together, I think.
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    Senior Member Shell's Avatar
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    Re: Should I let my toy poodle play with the pit bull?

    Wait some time yes, shelter dogs often change a lot after about 2 months in their new homes.

    Its not the pit bull part that makes me pause, its the size. That said, some big dogs a very cautious around little dogs. My big dog is very strange. With large dogs (say, 60 lbs+) he has no doggie manners and is overly rough and tumble, much like a boxer at play. With medium sized dogs, he is still kinda rough and tumble but knows when to back off; the problem comes when the medium sized dog (say, 20 lbs+) thinks its a big dog and tries to play full out. Then he usually ends up trampled... (not hurt, just tripped over and knocked down).

    But the smallest dogs? My dog is so gentle and almost won't even play with them but just trot along near them or roll over and wiggle. He rolled over and squirmed against my fence the other day for a tiny puppy to lick at him and a friend's 5 lbs toy poodle? He gave a few play bows and left her alone when she growled a bit.

    But learning my dog's play styles has taken time, and I still haven't gotten to expose him to lots of different dogs, so I wouldn't have just let him play with a 10 lbs dog a few weeks after I got him. Let your neighbor observe her dog for awhile and let her settle in and show her true colors first.

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    Re: Should I let my toy poodle play with the pit bull?

    Giving some time wouldn't be a bad idea not because the other dog is a pit but just because it's new. I still would let them play just be cautious about it.

    That being said nothing wrong with a pit playing with a smaller dog. It all depends on the two dogs. I have a 55lbs pit and a 12lbs minpin that get along just fine. They don't play well together because the play style does not match. The minpin gets pissed because the pit is just to rough with her. He has learned this over time and avoids getting overly excited with her. All in all though they get along just fine.

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    Senior Member ara28's Avatar
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    Re: Should I let my toy poodle play with the pit bull?

    In my opinion, It definately depends on the dogs and the owners. Right now my dog has 2 doggie friends that he plays with outside of daycare.

    one is a 60lb, 8 month old pit puppy and they play rough. body slamming, chasing, wrestling, etc... and madison is very bitey (I'm assuming because she's still a puppy?).

    His other doggie friend is Gypsy, she's a 10lb, 10 month old mutt and he's really gentle with her. His play style with gypsy and his play style with madison is like night and day. He spends a lot of time on his back when playing with gypsy and lets her chase him. He's on his back a lot for madison too, but not as much as when he's playing with gypsy.

    Whenever he plays with any dog, i am always watching him play to make sure there isn't too much excitement, etc...

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