Big & Little Dog friendships? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-27-2019, 11:14 PM Thread Starter
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Big & Little Dog friendships?

So my daughter's good friend who lives nearby, just got a female chihuahua puppy! They live in an apartment. We thought about letting Rumo meet the new pup (after it has had all its shots) or going for walks together. Or we could even invite the pup over to play in our fenced yard, which would be a treat for her since they don't have any yard. BUT the size difference is a bit scary!!

What if Rumo has a "prey drive" moment and grabs her by the neck and shakes her?

Is a friendship between a chihuahua and a 75 lb dog possible...?

My dog has pretty strong prey drive..chasing stuffed animals on a string is his favorite game and he is amazingly quick, snatching them out of the air with a snap of his jaws...I guess I am really nervous about him confusing their chihuahua with one of his toys!

Rumo ~ rescue shepherd/husky mix
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-28-2019, 08:46 AM
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I know plenty of people who have GSDs and then a small breed. However, even innocent play can really hurt a toy breed pup. If it is a friend you spend a lot of time with, super careful supervision is in order, and also not letting your guards down too quickly. It could take months and moths before you REALLY know what can happen. You also have to consider the little lady hitting maturity. That could game change for both of them. Little dogs hit maturity faster though. Is you friend going to spay her dog? Her 1st season is another thing to watch out for if not.

I am not a fan of dogs having "friends" outside of another household dog. Even then within the household I have learned to not let them get too "doggy". That said I do socialize with a good friend on a nearly daily basis. She has an intact super strong male, and a 9 moth old intact male. We walk together, train in the park together. They are neutral to each other and can walk side by side without trying to engage with each other. Valor wanted to play with the pup when he was smaller (so cute, shoving his tug toy at him) ..but now that pup is getting older it's coexisting peacefully at get togethers without frolicking.

That is a personal choice, plenty of people like to have their dogs socialize with friend's stable dogs. Stable being the key word lol. My perspective comes from not wanting my dog to even think about breaking his long down or focus because a playmate is on the field or in the vicinity. If we didn't have sport/work goals I'd have no issue with friendly romps outdoors with friend's stable dogs.

Good luck, and...pictures!
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-28-2019, 09:09 AM
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It really depends on the dog and how well the handler knows his dog. Some dogs can have very good prey drive and are serious dogs, yet can be very dog friendly. Such dogs tend to be animal friendly in general with good nerves. Other dogs are not so dog friendly and might be neutral to other dogs, but will kill any smaller wild animal or cats. So it is less about big vs. little than the temperament of the individual dog and his handler's ability to read his dog.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-28-2019, 09:10 AM
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One of Katsu's best buddies is a Dachshund mix (18lbs to Katsu's 56lbs), but she was also like 4 months/ 25lbs when she met the little dog. I gotta find some pictures to post - they play pretty well together. We definitely supervise as Katsu has high prey drive and sometimes just doesn't know how big she is in comparison.


Has Rumo met a small dog before? I'd ask small animal, but Katsu is kinda crazy for squirrels, birds, and outdoor cats. She's good with my cats and my friend's cats, but outdoor ones are fair game to chase according to her.

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-28-2019, 09:27 AM
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I would say it depended on the dog. How is your dog with other dogs?. Walks on a routine basis will help to show him you are accepting of the little dog and is now part of the circle. All play/interactions needs to be supervised and boundaries set. If you are not sure how the dog would be you can use a muzzle.


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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-28-2019, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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Hmm, I am NOT experienced at reading "dog play" because Rumo is an Only Dog, and we don't go to the dog park...

He has met little dogs on leash and he is very polite and careful with them.
However, a little dog running away from him...that behavior, I have not checked!

I think I will play it safe and he can meet the little chihuahua on leash and maybe we can take walks around the neighorhood together sometimes.
I'm not gonna do offleash play...I would be constantly worried about that random "prey drive" moment too much, where Rumo thinks, "gee, wouldn't it be fun to catch her and grab her?!"
And as I said - he is so fast with it, he'd have her in his mouth before I could get there.
You are right, it is different if it's a dog he lives with, or has known from puppyhood.

So, we'll let him sniff with her calmly onleash, and maybe take short walks with them once in a while -
that's what I think! :-)

Thanks for helping me think it through!
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-28-2019, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSDchoice View Post
So my daughter's good friend who lives nearby, just got a female chihuahua puppy! They live in an apartment. We thought about letting Rumo meet the new pup (after it has had all its shots) or going for walks together. Or we could even invite the pup over to play in our fenced yard, which would be a treat for her since they don't have any yard. BUT the size difference is a bit scary!!

What if Rumo has a "prey drive" moment and grabs her by the neck and shakes her?

Is a friendship between a chihuahua and a 75 lb dog possible...?

My dog has pretty strong prey drive..chasing stuffed animals on a string is his favorite game and he is amazingly quick, snatching them out of the air with a snap of his jaws...I guess I am really nervous about him confusing their chihuahua with one of his toys!
It doesn't have to be anything intentional or deliberate at all. A friendly smack with a paw or a stumble at the right/wrong moment is all it takes. Think of the way your dog moves and runs versus a Chi's movement.
My childhood Newf played with my Yorkie, but he was taught to lay down to do so. I later taught my Dane the same way. When dealing with small animals she had to lay down.
I just recently watched a vid of a Golden playing with a small dog. They were playing tug and the Goldie flipped it's head. Catastrophic damage with no intent at all.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-28-2019, 02:18 PM
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They can be friends but as others have said it's very easy for accidents to happen. My dad's dog Conan is amazing with dogs smaller than him (220lb mastiff so all dogs really) he lays down to play with them, but when my dog was a pup even laying down she could get hurt. For example she was trying to play and he moved his head because he heard something and sent her flying.

Right now I have my dog and my roommate has a sturdy small breed dog. Codi lays down to play with her but for another example Codi rolled over when the small dog was trying to play and sent her flying. It's very possible to be friends and so good with one another but accidents do happen and a purebred chihauhau especially a puppy is very fragile.

So it's really going to depend on your dog and the other dog's temperament and how you let them interact.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-28-2019, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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Yea...I think my dog just has too much "Chase and Hunt" in him to be totally safe with a little dog...
UNLESS possibly it was a dog that lived with him, and was our own pack member.

I am not going to take a chance with somebody else's little dog!
Especially since they will be first-time dog owners!

So we will let them politely meet on leash maybe,
or take walks with them sometimes (with me keeping a close eye).

Well, we will be excited to meet their new pup.
She is probably about the size of a...guinea pig now. :-)
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-28-2019, 10:37 PM
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It doesn't have to be anything intentional or deliberate at all. A friendly smack with a paw or a stumble at the right/wrong moment is all it takes.
I completely agree with this. I have a 13 year old Yorkie and my 10 month old German Shepherd puppy. When we got him our GSD was smaller than our Yorkie, now he is about 80 pounds compared to my Yorkie that is 10 pounds. I wanted it this way so our Yorkie started out bigger than him and felt more assured, but as our GSD grew it would be normal to our Yorkie, he saw him slowly get bigger and so was always comfortable. Obi is extremely gentle with little dogs, but we have raised him since he was 8 weeks old to be this way. He knows he is not allowed to play physically with our Yorkie in any way. We were very strict about this, if he tried to play with our Yorkie we would correct him and then play with him instead since it was only natural and he deserved the fun he was looking for in a way that I approved. Now he creates his own little games instead, like barking at our Yorkie and trying to get him to chase him and things like that. Obi loves chase. In his puppy classes they taught us how to read little things in dogs body languages for when they are playing with other dogs, etc. We have put in a lot of time to make sure we feel safe with him and our little dog. They still are not left alone unsupervised. Even by 12 weeks Obi was big enough to paw at our Yorkie and potentially hurt him by just being a playful puppy. I think it is a great idea to just do the walks for now. Maybe it'll help their dog also be comfortable with large breeds. But either way, enjoy the time
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