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My 8 month old, 16 lb. Bichpoo has been befriended by an 18 month old, 46lb. Labradoodle who is 4 or 5 times his size. He loves to take my puppy’s neck in his mouth and hold him down. My pup comes away from this “play” soaking wet and filthy and the Doodle’s owner thinks it’s cute. I do not. Today, after a particularly rough time last evening, my pup doesn’t want to eat or drink and is just laying at my feet. I didn’t see any skin breaks and he’s not acting painful, but I wonder if the two things are connected. The owner is my neighbor and we’re becoming friends, but I do not want my pup hurt. Should I get him a studded collar? Thoughts?
 

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If your pup is not having fun, don't let the play continue. It should be fairly obvious to tell whether your dog is enjoying himself (he probably isn't)...is his tail tucked? is he trying to get away from the bigger dog? Your small breed could get seriously injured, and it could make him scared of large dogs in the long run. The labradoodle is not playing politely, and you as the owner need to protect your dog by not letting scary things happen to him. My experience from working at multiple dog daycares, is that large doodle mixes tend play very rough, charging at other dogs necks and barking/biting, then running away. It's incredibly annoying and hard play to manage, as it makes most dogs mad. The dog very well may be "playing," but think about how scary that would be for a dog so much smaller. I would never allow my small breed dog (or any size for that matter) to be pinned by the neck. You don't have to put up with that to become friends with your neighbor...try suggesting a walk with both dogs leashed and under control instead.
 

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Don't beat yourself up, but vow to be your dog's advocate. A small dog is going to need protecting from certain situations all his life, so you need to work on ways to do that. You don't have to allow anything that you or your dog don't like or that you see as potentially harmful, and from what you describe, your small puppy was at least bruised and exhausted by the rough play. Just tell your neighbor there's too big a size difference and last time your puppy wouldn't eat or drink afterward, so sorry, no more.
 

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You need to stop this "play." It isn't play.. it is domineering your puppy. Advocate for your puppy. He needs you to prevent this. He does not need "dog friends." He needs YOU to be his primary bond.

Remember, your puppy is a little kid and he is also a little dog. Allowing this play, which is NOT play could physically and mentally hurt your puppy. It is like taking a 3 year old out and letting him play with rough 15 year old boys who will knock him down and pin him or even toss him back and forth. You would not allow that to happen with your child! Don't allow it to happen to your puppy.
 
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