Friday, April 13, 2012

Advantages of a Small Dog

When my husband insisted we needed to get a dog, we had the inevitable debate about what type of dog to get. He, of course, wanted a larger dog. I was not convinced that I--who would be doing the majority of the care during the week--could  handle a large dog in our tiny apartment, let alone walk and train a larger dog with my tiny stature (I'm still not convinced I want a dog at all, but alas).

We ended up settling on a Schnoodle. This was the breed of dog my husband had grown up with, so he was happy with that. They are known to be relatively shed-free, smart, friendly and patient with grabby children, so I was happy. We found a puppy for sale nearby by a Mennonite family, and they were asking less money than either the pound or the shelter. She is a cross between a mini Schnauzer and mini Poodle. We brought her into our family, and named her Calamity Jane. Today, at 10.5 lb, she fits squarely in the "small dog" category (between "toy" and "medium").

While I'm still not a huge fan of all the care that goes into owning a dog in addition to caring for our two small children, I stand by my claim that there are definite advantages to small dogs. Owning a small dog virtually removes the issue of teaching her not to take food from the table (unless she's a climber). A baby gate works just fine to keep her contained. When she 'thwaps' me with her tail, I barely notice. She is much less prone to knock people/children down if she jumps on them (though, even at just 10.5 lb, my dog has knocked my toddler over on occasion). My son wrestles with her quite a bit. She gets nearly all the exercise she needs just scampering about the apartment. Her bark--while high-pitched--doesn't carry throughout the neighborhood when she's on a barking spree after a wandering cat or deer. I don't have any trouble controlling her if she pulls on the leash with all her might. There's always room for her to snuggle on the sofa, even with three adults. She can easily ride on my lap in our compact car. Her coat takes less time to groom. She eats far less than a large dog, which saves money for sure. Cleaning up her "little messes" are less of chore. And, if all else fails, I can easily pick her up in my arms and put her where I want her.

That's not to say there aren't advantages to owning certain types of larger dogs--there definitely are--but I wouldn't trade. Not until my husband buys me an acreage!