Generally, most people agree that idea that large and small dogs cannot play well together is untrue. Big dogs and small dogs can play together on a regular basis, and big dogs are not destined to become predatory to little dogs. Although there are some large dogs that do not appreciate certain behaviours from smaller dogs, the theory of ‘predatory drift’ has been challenged in recent years.
The main problem when small and large dogs play together is that a small dog is much more likely to be seriously hurt if a large dog plays too roughly with the small dog, or acts aggressively towards it and bites/attacks it than a large dog would.
Our best defense is the ability of dog owners to recognize inappropriate or rude interactions between dogs, and ability of the humans to call their dogs away immediately (not after 5 calls). Too often at dog parks we see people completely ignoring their dogs, either on their phones otherwise pre-occupied. They often miss important signals being given off by their dog or other dogs in the environment, which can easily lead to a fight and potential injury.
Tips for Knowing When There is Trouble: Even if your dog’s come when called is quick and 100% you may still have trouble knowing when you should use it. Here are some tips:
- Understand that just because both dogs are playing rough and seem to enjoy it DOES NOT MEAN that the play is safe. Overexcitement can lead to aggression. If it gets too rowdy and one nips, pushes the other just right, it can escalate into a fight.
- Avoid letting your dog crowd other dogs who are trying to enter the park. Instead call him to you and keep him occupied playing with you until the dog is well-inside the enclosure.
- Avoid letting your dog follow another dog around for an extended period of time. If your dog has his nose glued to another dog’s behind as the dog jogs a jagged path around the park, don’t just stand there and ponder if the other dog minds. If you wait long enough and no-one comes to this uncomfortable dog’s rescue, the other dog may finally take matters into his own hands and snap to tell Fido to go away.
If you are worried about brining your small or larger dog to public areas like dog parks or beaches where they will encounter other off leash dogs, please visit our website for more information on our K9 Guard Protective Dog jackets. These jackets are bite proof and can mitigate the risk of your dog being injured when out and about with you!