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Always Ask Before Picking Up Small Dogs


This post may end up being a bit of a rant.  I'm know I'm preaching to the choir here, considering my readers are animal lovers, but this is something that's been bugging me this week.  I don't understand why some people feel it's okay to (or attempt to) pick up unfamiliar dogs without at least asking the dog's owner first!

eeeeeThe other day I was walking Kitsune.  We were walking up some stairs at our local park.  Kit was on his leash, of course, walking calmly at my side.  We got to a landing area at the top of the stairs when another dog owner allowed his dog to approach us.  Strike one against this guy, to invade our space like that without so much as asking if it was okay to let his dog greet mine.


Luckily both dogs were friendly, but in the process of attempting to play with each other in a confined space, their leashes kept getting tangled.  I was attempting to keep Kitsune from getting too tangled up, while closely watching him and the other dog, when all of a sudden the other dog's owner picks Kitsune up, hands him to me, then walks away.

dddddddddddddddKit was a bit out of sorts for a few seconds, but fine.  Luckily he generally tolerates being picked up without any fuss.  But I was upset.  Outside of an emergency, I would never pick up a stranger's dog, especially without asking first.  This was not an emergency, there was no reason for that guy to pick up my dog.  He should have been focusing on controlling his own dog rather than invading the space of me and mine!

You know if Kit had growled, or dog forbid bitten, that the blame would have been placed on us.  He knew nothing about Kit, about how he would react to being handled.  He could have dropped Kitsune, or hurt him in some way, especially if Kit had struggled to get away from him.  Even though nothing bad happened, I felt like I failed Kit for not reacting quick enough to prevent that guy from picking him up like that.

This is something I suspect large dogs and their owners don't have to deal with.  I always think about how I would feel if people were trying to pick me up all the time.  I think it would be annoying, awkward, uncomfortable.

Kitsune sometimes asks people he knows well, family members, to pick him up.  Then it's ok.  If I want to hold him when he hasn't asked to be held I get down on his level, pet him a bit, give him a change to reject my attention and walk away if he wants too.  I prefer to allow him to jump up on my lap himself.  I show him respect.  On rare occasions, when I have to pick him up, to put him in the bath tub or cut his nails, for example, I make sure to do so gently so he doesn't feel too uncomfortable.

Small dogs aren't toys!  If you wouldn't do something to a strange Boxer, or a German Shepard, or a Husky, you probably shouldn't do it to a Papillon, or a Yorkie, or a Chihuahua either.  In the very least, if you want to hold someone's dog, ask first!

What do you think?  If you own a small dog, have you ever dealt with this issue?

  • I am really put off by parents who ALLOW their small children to walk up to a small dog and start petting it, and putting their FACES right next to the little dogs mouth. (no less the adults that do this, and feel FREE to just pick up someone strangers dog!) I have a 9 year old 4.5 lb. Chihuahua who is NOT used to children. You can BET that if my tiny dog bites you or your child you would sue ME!

    • Ugh I totally understand. Parent's around here let their kids run towards Kit sometimes too and it always makes me nervous. So far he's been fine around kids, but I don't have children myself and haven't taken a lot of time to expose him to children. Growing up my parent's taught me to ALWAYS ask before going near a dog, no matter its size. Sad that so many parents these days don't seem to teach their children that...let alone not following that rule themselves. Your dog is adorable, by the way! Thanks so much for sharing a picture and taking the time to comment.

    • Pharisees Destroyed the Temple
    • Joseph Robert Kennedy

      Agreed. People that take the time to understand that putting your face in most any other animals face can be perceived by the animal as a threat or challenge to them or their perceived territory.

      KIDS you NEVER put your face too close to a strange dog or really any other animals face. It is a good way to get bitten.

  • Katty k

    so it's not just ppl in my town that do this....
    I mean Pumpkin is big so most ppl don't try to pick her up but I have had ppl run to pumpkin and give her a hug around her neck and I was thinking she was going to bite them normally I would not think she would bite anyone but this person ran up to her give her a hug around her neck then tried to pick her up she is 41lbs and is kid was like 10 maybe I told the kid to stop and she kept trying to pick her up and bared her teeth at the kid and her parents war watching the whole thing but her parents still did not see anything wrong what she did D: the kids parents kept saying it was my fault that Pumpkin bared her teeth at the kid

    I think Pumpkin did really well for the situation

    • So horrible, poor Pumpkin. We get that a lot around here too. Usually it will be people who pet Kitsune without asking, sometimes children who don't seem to know how to behave properly around dogs. Then once in awhile you get people like the guy I wrote about, who take it even further and actually pick up, or try to, other people's dogs without asking! I just don't get it, it's disrespectful. I understand when it's a child that they properly just haven't been taught how act appropriately in that situation, but I've had stuff like this happen with adults too!

      • Katty k

        I don't understand what people are thinking I have had so many people(adults and kids) open the crates at the dog shelters adoption events and just let the dogs out for no reason and they don't think there is a problem with them doing that

  • Oh no! I'm sure that's very frustrating! I have friends with small dogs and they complain about it all the time!

    • It really is. I always worry that someone is going to accidentally hurt him, or best case just that it's not a good feeling/experience for him. I know I would hate it if I were in his place. Especially since it's important to me to make sure I don't pick him up when he doesn't want to be, then to have a stranger do it without any concern for Kit or my feelings is very frustrating.

  • I have always had big dogs, so I have never had to deal with this. It seems like an extremely rude thing to do. I hope you gave this guy a piece of your mind!

  • Random Musings

    I think it's just rude to pick up someone's dog without permission (unless it's in the dog's best interests eg the dog got loose from you and was running into a road). I've seen parents let a child approach a stranger's dog and stroke it without checking the dog is ok with children that's bad enough but to let them try and pick it up is mad! If the child is young though, you can't blame them - if their parent's allow it you can understand why they think its ok
    Popping by on the A to Z Road Trip

  • Greg

    When my lab was only a couple months old, I was walking on the beach with him. A lady approached us, complimented my cute dog and then PICKED HIM UP. I was absolutely horrified. What if he had surgery or been injured? What if she startled him and he nipped her? What if he struggled and she dropped him?

    I was speechless at the time, but I really wish I had said something.


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