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  • Writer's pictureFido's Place

How to Adjust Your Technique When Training a Small Dog

Training small dogs can be a bit different from training larger breeds, but the principles of obedience training remain the same.

Here are some valuable tips for training a small dog:

Start Early

Begin training as early as possible. Puppies are like sponges when it comes to learning and starting early sets the foundation for good behaviour, so an early start is absolutely crucial.

Short and Frequent Sessions

Small dogs may have shorter attention spans, so keep training sessions short but frequent. Aim for several short sessions throughout the day rather than one long session, and commit to working on it every day.

Use Appropriate Treat Sizes and Equipment

Use small, soft treats that are easy for your little dog to chew and swallow quickly. You can break larger treats into smaller pieces. Choose a lightweight, appropriately sized collar or harness and leash for your small dog. Make sure it's comfortable and doesn't put too much pressure on their neck or throat.

Positive Reinforcement

Small dogs respond well to positive reinforcement. Use treats, praise, and affection to reward good behaviour. Reward your small dog for calm and polite behaviour.

Patience and Consistency

Be patient and consistent in your training. Little dogs can be stubborn, so it may take time for them to grasp commands. Keep in mind that small dogs may not be able to perform certain physical tasks as easily as larger breeds. Adjust your expectations and focus on behaviors and tricks that suit their size and abilities.

Train in a Safe Space

Train your small dog in a safe, enclosed area, especially when you're working on off-leash training. Small dogs can easily slip through small gaps or get into tight spots. Always prioritize your dog's safety. Be cautious when handling them and make sure they are safe in different environments. Watch for hazards like gaps in fences or potential prey animals for tiny breeds.


Socialize your small dog with other dogs and people. This helps them become well-adjusted and comfortable in various situations. Teach them to sit, stay, or lie down to avoid jumping up on people or excessive barking. Small dogs can tend to get away with this behaviour due to their size but these are still important things to train your dog, big or small.

Customize Commands

If your small dog struggles with certain commands due to their size (e.g., jumping up), customize your training approach to accommodate their unique needs. Smaller dogs may respond better to higher-pitched, happy, and enthusiastic commands. When training a small dog, use a tone that gets their attention and keeps them engaged.

Consult a Professional

If you encounter difficulties or feel overwhelmed with training a small dog, consider seeking the help of a professional dog trainer who has experience with small breeds.

Remember that training should be a positive and enjoyable experience for both you and your small dog. With patience, consistency, and the right approach, your little companion can become well-behaved and obedient.


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