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Discussion Starter #1
I know this seems like a stupid question, but can any tiny dog owners tell me what it's like to own a 5lb dog?

I'm used to my 90lb GSD mix. 45lb Kabota seems really small to me.

The rescue I got Kabota from just rescued a tiny silky terrier used by a puppy mill. She had a tumor the size of a golf ball where her eye used to be. She was bred so much, her uterus was the size of a GSDs. The poor little thing breaks my heart, suffering so much, but still trying to lick and cuddle with the rescuer.

She's got issues. She's not housebroken or trained in any way. She's lived her life in a filthy cage being bred with every heat. But I look into her remaining eye and see a good dog, a dog who deserves love and walks and training and really, what's 5 more lbs of dog, right? (Only if Kabota approves, of course.)

Anyway, are there special issues involved with teeny little dogs? I know no collars, use a harness, but how long do you walk a tiny dog? How much do you feed? What on earth do you use as training treats? What kind of games can you play with a delicate little thing like that? Are they as breakable as I think?

Any help would be appreciated.
 

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Well my guys are ranging from 7 -10 lbs. Bernard (my sister's dog) is 5.5 lbs and not much different than owning my guys. Actually it's not any different at all.

I don't find much difference at all between my shelties and my papillons but a lot of that is probably not size but more personality traits being similar. Asking what a 5 lb dog is like is like asking what a 90 lb dog is like. A lot depends on the breed and the individual.

The pros: less mes, less cost for food, less room they take up on the bed. Every now and then I wish they were sturdier. The biggest pain to me is that I have to bend down so far when I train them.

I don't do dog parks with them (too small) but we go hiking off leash, we go walking, we do agility classes with Mia and she's very good. Mia takes more exercise than any dog I've had before but Rose is really calm. Comes down to individuals. Mia and I play everything except rough house because she doesn't like it. She will out fetch almost any dog and lives for it. She also loves chase games.

I do use collars on my dogs, not harnesses. Harnesses don't seem to be made for papillon shaped dogs. I use plain chicken for training treats, sometimes soak it with the kibble and try to make training a meal. That is one bad thing, it's easy to overfeed if you train a lot because there's not much wiggle room. Anything small though that you can cut up in tiny pieces and smelly that will make regular kibble into a 'treat' too.

5 lbs is very small but usually big enough that your worries about hypoglycemia are not so bad. They're really not as breakable as people make them out to be. I've never had a dog have a size related injury and my guys are up and running and jumping all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks! I know personality isn't dependent on size, but if you're used to big dogs, tiny dogs seem like a good wind might do them in. It's good to know they're not as breakable as I feared. I figured the feeding might be a problem. Muggsy could absorb the calories from an entire hamburger without a problem, but obviously you don't have the wiggle room with a much smaller dog.

Nothing is set in stone, but this dog just calls to me. I feel for her, used and thrown away. All those people buying puppies, never stopping to consider what sort of life their mother lived. It's so sad.
 

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Owning a small dog is pretty much the same as owning a large one!

Except you can keep it on your lap, feeding and grooming (if needed) cost a lot less. If the dog is small enough, they are usually welcome in a variety of stores that will not allow a large dog. For treats, I use small pieces of whatever Pepper loves. We play catch a lot. Pepper won't actually catch the ball, but he loves chasing it and bringing it back. He also loves squeaky toys and will rip them to shreds in minutes. But his favorite thing is to curl up next to me and snooze.

He is certainly more breakable than a larger dog - I don't allow him on the bed, only because jumping from that height is dangerous to more delicate bones. However, he would walk forever if I gave him the chance, and if and when he gets tired, is easy enough to pick up and put into a backpack.

It sounds as though this little one would be the luckiest dog ever to have you take it home. Please, do it. You will be so rewarded by the love you get back.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
He is certainly more breakable than a larger dog - I don't allow him on the bed, only because jumping from that height is dangerous to more delicate bones. However, he would walk forever if I gave him the chance, and if and when he gets tired, is easy enough to pick up and put into a backpack.
Well, I could buy stairs for the bed. I'd hate to kick Kabota off the bed, and it wouldn't seem fair to allow one on the bed and not the other. And I didn't consider that I could carry her if we walked too far. You so rarely see people walking little dogs, at least by me, that I can't figure out if they just can't do much walking, or if I just live in an area that doesn't have a lot of small dogs (or has a lot of lazy owners).

It sounds as though this little one would be the luckiest dog ever to have you take it home. Please, do it. You will be so rewarded by the love you get back.
I'm sure I'd be lucky to have her. How anyone could come through all that and still love humans is beyond me. Dogs are awesome.
 

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My mom has two dogs, yorkshire - chihuahua mixes is my guess, but my mom calls them yorkipoo :/ One is 5.5 lbs, the other is under 4 lbs.

They are pretty fragile. They've never broken a bone or anything, but especially the smaller one is really sensitive. Both are super social with other dogs, not an ounce of aggression in them :p They make good watchdogs, but they love every human. They're pretty biddable, listen well off leash. They play best with other small dogs though, big dogs have the tendency to walk all over them. My previous dog Charlie oftentimes didn't even notice them walking around until he stepped on them... Current dog Mike is a lot more sensitive to their presence and he is ever the careful one.

My mom was used to a shepherd-wetterhoun mix and a Saint Bernard. Compared to those, the cocker spaniel is small, and the two little ones? They're miniature... Not what my mom expected to end up with :p But some dogs just come on your path.

Special issues with teeny tiny little dogs... I guess the biggest concerns would be accidentally stepping on them, or other dogs being not considerate of their size, being too rough with them/stepping on them, but that's mainly a managing issue. My mom uses cat collars on her dogs, because nothing else will fit. You don't wanna know what she used when they were pups :p As for the rest, they are sensitive to rain and snow, because they're so low to the ground. They have a very thin skin and their hair (really hair-like, not fur) doesn't offer them any protection. So that's something you maybe have to keep in mind, small dogs are more sensitive to rough weather conditions. (also including harsh gusts of wind! They can literally be blown away)
 

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Butters is 10 pounds now but she was 1 pound when she was 8 weeks old - there's not too much difference other than you have to be careful not to take them to dog parks (unless there's a strictly small dog area), and when you walk around you may find yourself stepping on them so you have to be careful where you step. My dog loved to weave between my legs so it was a challenge!!

Training is also harder because you have to bend down so much further to give them a treat, so make sure you don't injure your back! Some people said I should train when they're on a higher surface, but it's easier said than done,

Give them TINY pieces of treats, like seriously, I find small dogs get upset stomachs from almost nothing. once you know they're okay with that treat, it's fine, but again, you can easily overfeed a small dog, so for training purposes just give a pin head amount!

It's completely untrue that small dogs are 'yappy'. My Bichon never barks except when I'm preparing her dinner, and can you blame her? Don't accept it if your dog barks because she's small. Train her right away!

Other than that, enjoy them and make sure not to baby them too much even though you want to, because they need to be confident and self-assured just like an big dog needs to be :)
 

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I've never owned a big dog so it's hard for me to know what all the differences might be. Obviously little dogs, as others have said, are more fragile than a much larger dog, but it's not too bad. The dogs my family grew up with ranged from 6-13 lbs and I never felt like I was in danger of them "breaking" or anything. Although I do admittedly feel like that with very tiny dogs (under 5 lbs). Maybe because I'm just not used to handling dogs quite that small.
I felt my dogs were pretty sturdy despite their size. We could wrestle (hand-wrestling like you might do with a cat), play fetch, play tug-o-war (you just let the little dog do all the pulling in that scenario), etc. I'm fairly small myself (5 feet tall) so in a way, little dogs don't really feel that little to me. They're perfect size. Whereas I feel somewhat overwhelmed by larger dogs because they're often bigger than/weigh more than me.

Accidentally stepping on them is sometimes an issue. And certain little breeds (like Pomeranians) don't really know their own size so you have to keep a special eye on them around larger dogs. I would always pick Sambu up if we encountered a larger dog while walking, just to be safe. And I never took him to the dog park, but of course being a little dog, it was easy for him to get exercise without needing a big park to run in. Also, depending on where you live, you never want to leave them outside alone. Little dogs are easy prey for owls, coyotes, bobcats, or even hawks with a small enough dog. Or whatever predators might be in your area. We'd always watch our dogs outside during the day, and at night we'd stay right next to them because of all the owls around our property. You also have to be careful of small children rushing at them/grabbing them, since kids are generally less intimidated by little dogs, whereas a little dog not used to kids would find that rather intimidating since even a child is typically larger than them.

Bonuses of little dogs would be easily picking them up, lower feeding costs, they can't reach as many things in the house so food on tables and counters is safe.

For treats there are lots of options. Pieces of kibble, pieces of plain meat, safe jerky treats (Kona's Chips makes pieces in different sizes, and they're easily breakable/tear-able for little dogs, I even feed them to my cats!).
 

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When our Abby was young, she was two pounds. It was hard to walk her, I felt like we were getting tangled up in the leash, and she was underfoot alot! But, I learned to be more careful about that.

We use a lot of the small, moist treats, like Zuke's Mini Naturals, they come in 3 flavors, I think. They are about the size of a pencil eraser, and even then, we break them in half, which they do easily. We also like to use those moist treats that come in flat squares that you can tear to whatever size you want.

As for training, our trainer had a great tip for not bending down so much to give treats quickly: she used wooded spoons with peanut butter on the tips, that you could quickly give the dog a lick of without having to stoop down all the time! :) I personally don't have an issue with day to day bending down with training, but when we were in training class, and did a lot of rewarding it was kind of cool.

When we got our new bed, it was WAY higher than our old one. We had a hard time getting steps that would work for our dogs, as dachshunds, they are not only small, they are long! So, with our tiny bedroom, and a high bed, it was hard to get steps the right depth and angle to work. So, we have a small bench at the end of the bed, and a small foot stool, and together, the bench and the foot stool work great for the dogs to get up to the bed! :)
 

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Also they make little doggy staircases that you can use to help them get up on the bed! We got one of those for Sambu when his age began to make jumping on and off the bed too difficult.
 

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I so hope you are able to rescue the poor girl. :) Eddee is only 12 pounds ... and I have no advice ... reading your thread for advice! Lol! :)
 

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Potsie's nearly 13 pounds, but my daughter's yorki-poo is only around 7 pounds. Yes, he's tiny! Food is cheaper, (no problem being able to afford a premium brand of kibble), as are the monthly meds (around 1/2 the price I paid for my lab - RIP Chipper). Depending on the dog, some can jump off furniture and be fine; others can't. My daughter's dog is fine jumping down (maybe the poodle in him makes him sturdier, I don't know). They tend to be clingier than larged dogs and want to be in your lap a lot (unlike my lab who was just happy to be in the house!). Be careful not to over feed - they don't need to eat much! Potsie's on Acana, and he only eats a level 1/4 c. twice a day, sometimes a little less if he starts getting pudgy.

Are you going to get her? I hope so!!
 

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Ellis is 5.8lbs (my other two are 9lbs and my biggest is 58lbs)I think the hardest part of having a dog her size, is that she doesn't have a clue that she's so small. We try sooo hard to prevent her from jumping on and off things (we tossed the stairs out the window, she just ignored them no matter how much training we did with her). If I'm not careful she will just fly off the furniture. I can't tell you how many times I've been scared to death because she's launched herself off something.

Over feeding is super easy. To stay at a good weight, Ellie eats 1/4 cup of food a day, plus a teaspoon of wet food. Any more than that or too many treats and I swear she looks like she's just about to pop.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks, guys!

I'm pretty used to avoiding dogs right on my feet, but 1/4C of food? A 50lb bag would last all year!

Is it wrong that I want to dress her in cute tweed winter coats and pink raincoats? That's probably mean. Really cute, though.

I have to see if the rescue feels she'd be a good fit with Kabota. And if kabota feels they'd be a good fit. I can't blame him for wanting to be only dog or if he just doesn't like her. It happens.
 

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Thanks, guys!

I'm pretty used to avoiding dogs right on my feet, but 1/4C of food? A 50lb bag would last all year!

Is it wrong that I want to dress her in cute tweed winter coats and pink raincoats? That's probably mean. Really cute, though.
That made me LOL because Molly has a very cute pink raincoat & hubs just laughed and rolled his eyes the first time I put it on her. It IS adorable and it keeps her dry, too. Function and fashion, LOL.
 

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One thing to watch out for- If the introductions go well, see how Kabota reacts to her running around playing and making little dog noises. I once did a meet and greet with a 10 month old German Shepherd who was a perfect gentlemen at the breeders home with my 7 lb Lola. Didn't show an ounce of aggression, and the breeder had thought he was a low prey drive boy. Sweet as could be with her for several hours at the breeders home. When I got him home and Lo ran over a toy though, his whole body went rigid, eyes went hard, and he started lunging at her. It was definitely prey drive- he looked exactly like some dogs do when they see a bunny or a squirrel.

If Kabota's cool with her and doesn't mind her running and jumping around, (Or think that she is a bunny!), then I think you'll find little dogs are pretty easy to live with. Mine is a very study little thing and I have no worries with her jumping on/off things. But some are quite fragile.
 

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Is it wrong that I want to dress her in cute tweed winter coats and pink raincoats? That's probably mean. Really cute, though.
Pepper has a bunch of tshirts (Harley Davidson, The Who, Woodstock - the concert), and about 5 different coats and polar fleece vests. I never thought I'd be a dress-the-dog kind of person, but hell - its fun and they look so adorable. Go for it!
 

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I do use a harness. I walk my munchkin about 45 minutes a day, but she doesn't really NEED that. She'd be perfectly happy just playing hallway ball for 20 minutes. I also feed a 1/4 cup a day. Little bits of chicken for training treats- Whenever we have agility class and she's getting a lot of training, I don't feed her dinner that night.

As for games. Mine plays hallway ball. Tug. Fetch. (More like keepaway actually, she doesn't like to bring it back). I roll around on the ground and "wrestle" with her.
 

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You can really do a lot of the same things with a little dog as you do with a big dog. Just to a smaller scale. Some little dogs are quite fragile, but it's more the individual dog and less about his/her size.

They hike:


They play fetch with sticks:


Roll around in the mud:


Go swimming


They fetch


Play frisbee:
 
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