In case you’re new here, Matilda is my five-pound Chihuahua mix, and Cow is my 30-pound… well her DNA test says she’s a Chow-Chow, German Shepherd, Jack Russell, Cocker Spaniel.
There are many things that Matilda can get away with that Cow cannot.
Setting rules and boundaries for your dog is super personal. And the rules can change as you see fit.
Some people like their dogs to always walk on their left side, only sniff when given permission, and only eat when given the okay.
Some of us have looser rules, but we might be stricter in other areas, and some of us have different rules for multiple dogs in our home. So that’s me.
Here are some examples of Matilda’s “little dog privilege.”
1. Matilda gets to poop indoors.
We live in an apartment, so we go outside on leashed walks around 4-5 times per day. Cow always poops and pees outside, and she has never had an accident indoors except when she was sick. I don’t think I ever really formally potty-trained her.
Matilda, on the other hand, was difficult to housetrain and had numerous accidents as a puppy. By a year old, she was pretty good about going out, and with the help of potty bells, she learned to communicate with me.
But she was having occasional accidents during cold or stormy weather, or in the middle of the night.
If you’ve potty-trained large and small dogs, you might have noticed that they’re so different. Small dogs like Matilda seem to struggle with having control over their bladder and bowels.
These days, Matilda has an indoor potty setup in my bedroom next to the cat’s litterbox. She rarely uses it, and now that it’s summer it’s been clean for weeks. Her tiny poops are practically odorless. I clean it up as soon as I see it, then sanitize and deodorize the reusable potty.
It works for us, but I don’t blame anyone who might think it’s gross. Some people hate the idea of having their dog relieve themselves indoors after puppyhood. And that’s okay too.
For us, it means Matilda never has accidents, even if she can’t hold it.
Most dogs, like Matilda, prefer to go outside if you walk them regularly. They prefer to go out and sniff and mark over going inside, but it doesn’t hurt to have backup.
2. My small dog can jump on me.
It’s widely considered “bad doggy manners” for a dog to jump up on you with their front paws.
I don’t let Cow do this. It’s painful when her nails drag across my skin.
Instead, I encourage Cow to boop me with her nose if she needs to get my attention.
For Matilda, jumping up on me is one of the few ways she can get my attention, and it doesn’t hurt me. So it’s allowed.
Jumping up is one of the ways Matilda can let me know she needs to go outside if the potty bell is not available. She can also tell me when she’s hungry, when she wants to be picked up, or when Cow is annoying her.
3. Matilda gets to sleep in my bed.
Small dogs have a harder time maintaining their body heat because proportionally, they have more surface area than bigger dogs.
And many of them have more of a breed predisposition to being lap dogs. Instinctively, they feel as though they must be touching you at all times.
Cow has slept in my bed many times, but she’s an extremely active sleeper. She runs, kicks, and even barks in her sleep.
Plus, I feel safer with her in the living room, where she could bark if there’s an intruder. To some, she might be large enough to be a deterrent.
Cow doesn’t seem to mind sleeping in her crate in the living room. I put one of my old comforters inside of it, so it’s super comfy, and it probably smells like she’s sleeping next to me.
When it comes down to it…
Setting rules and boundaries is all about making your life with your dog as safe, comfortable, and enjoyable as possible. It doesn’t matter what anyone else does with their dog, or if your household rules don’t seem consistent. Dogs don’t keep score, they just love their family unconditionally.