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I have a friend who owned a husky and a Portuguese Water Dog. She walked them together in the mornings because the rest of her family slept late. One morning her family found her standing in the kitchen and she had cuts and bruises. It turned out that while walking her dogs, they saw a small animal and lunged for it, pulling her into a tree. She managed to get them and herself home, but didn't remember the trip back to the house.
After her bigger dogs passed away, she ended up getting a smaller dog that could not pull her down during a walk.
I also have gotten a smaller dog -- a miniature poodle -- even though we still have a Portuguese Water Dog, which my husband walks more than I do.
It is something to think about as you age. Getting a smaller dog is limiting the risks of being pulled off balance and falling down.
A DISCIPLINED small dog! many get these nervous round and round your legs dogs that are quite dangerous to the elderly or to balance impaired persons. A Minipin or Chihuahua can take down a Paul Bunyan type in nothing flat.
I agree. My Grandmother walks a German Shepherd very well trained doesn't chase anything, my brother and I work with her (the dog) every week or two make sure she is up on her training. This dog could be a seeing eye dog she is so well trained. She stops at curbs looks and listens before preceding, we don't worry about grandmother being out with her, she is protected and having an extra pair of eyes watching out is a good thing. Poodles are very intelligent and easily trained. Not all breeds are created equal I have seen small dogs trip up agile young adults.
Any dog, large or small, can cause a person to trip, or fall IF said dog isn't trained. Far to many people get that cute puppy and think all they need to do is feed it, walk it, or take it to an off-leash dog park, let it out to do it's business, and love it. They may teach it to sit on command, or even roll over but that's about it. Those extendable leashes people use just drive me nuts, I consider them dangerous to the dog as well as the owner....there's the dog 3 feet - 5 feet in front of the owner and if something happened the owner has no control at all.
Yes, I made sure my dog was well trained. I spent time with a very good trainer who taught me and my dog at the same time. The classes were really fun actually. Result was that my dog stayed at my side on leash, and if the 5 yr old had the leash, dog stayed by his side. Dog would not eat random things off the ground or take food/water from a stranger. I could actually put meat on the floor in front of him, tell him to leave it, leave the room and he wouldn't touch it until I came back and gave permission.
Dogs are like children, they need to be taught not only for their well being but the well being of people around them
I agree with everyone who has commented about this subject. Extendable leashes can certainly be a problem. Years ago I was walking a Portuguese Water Dog and a loose Mastiff came at us. I keep rotating myself and putting my dog behind me to protect him. I literally wound the leash around my legs and I fell down. My dog panicked, got loose from his halter and started walking home. The Mastiff's owner came and rescued me. My only injury was a rope burn on my hand and skinned knees. I was able to call my dog back to me to put his halter back on and walk him home.
I was the stupid owner who had a good tempered medium sized dog, but I panicked. It turned out that the Mastiff was friendly but I had assumed the worse.
Yes, even a small dog can trip an older person. But I can pick up my minipoodle if he is hurt or in danger. I have no hope at all of picking up my Portuguese Water Dog, who easily pulls me into walls if she panics. I let my husband take the Portuguese to the vets now because she is too strong of a dog for me, and I am not that good of a trainer. I take the poodle for vet appointments.
So size is an important consideration, but training also matters. Nothing is black and white. Although at 67 years of age, I do not plan to get a dog bigger than a minipoodle again.
* * *
Neeka, Portuguese Water Dog, and Dakota, minipoodle
I have a friend who was not elderly but had a "puppy" that was too big, strong and wild for her. She weighed 110 lbs soaking wet and the puppy weighed 115.
The puppy saw a squirrel or something and went after it with all his puppy strength. She was forced to drop the leash to save her life, they were crossing a suburban street.
Puppy's breed was interesting mix: Chow, Rottweiler, Doberman and wolf.
He had to be surrendered. She sustained injuries to her right arm, face and shoulder requiring surgery and a metal plate beneath her eye and replacement shoulder. She had months of physical therapy.
She remained a dog lover but now she gets pure bred Labs and she spends oodles of time on their training. They learn Canine Good Citizen and Public Access training even though they are not service dogs. She now has a black lab and a chocolate lab that she can trust in any situation. The comment made above by a reader who mentioned training can not be more well illustrated than by this lady and her situation. Many people wonder if she was in a car accident because the accident changed her life so much.
She has begun saying "my dog accident" to clarify matters.
I think the size of our dogs is not something we think about when we are younger, but as your story of your friend shows, Krathyn, we probably should.
We have tried to get CGC's for all of our dogs to make sure they had the minimum amount of training. We often take them to other training as well. Training, again, is not a high priority on a lot of people's list of things to get when having a dog. It sometimes takes an accident caused by a poorly trained dog to make us realize how important dog training is.
oh yes. i should have mentioned she was in her 30's when this happened.
But yes, i am totally in agreement, in the best of all worlds ALL dogs would be canine good citizens. The interaction between owner and dog in the training class could only help with the socialization of the dog as well.
I think my friend now really invests in her dogs' training and it is something everyone should think about.
Training should be as important as food and exercise. All dog owners should think about a minimum of what they consider the dog needs to be a part of a human group-family and friends.
Often, dogs in "specific" breeds that are often thought to be hard to manage would be much better if people gave them the training they need.
good to be here again...