Nate in the snowIt’s easy to consider dog behavior through the filter of how humans act. But small dogs are better understood by looking at them as they really are.

Think of these stories as you watch your couch potato chilling in front of the TV.

This came in from my friend Kiki.

“Yesterday there was a piece of news that made me think of you and I thought I would tell you.

In South Dakota a squirrel-chasing terrier (17 pounds) took off after a mountain lion and chased it up a tree. The owner says that the terrier chases cats up trees all the time and probably just didn’t notice the difference in size.

Figured you would appreciate this one.”

This made me think of a couple more similar stories. Many years I was sent the following newspaper item:

“An eight lb. Silky named Gizmo was the first dog in Australia to be given a Medal of Honor. Seems that he was hanging out one afternoon on the balcony watching his four human children play in the yard.

When he noticed a highly poisonous brown snake slither towards his kids, he climbed the railing, jumped from the first floor to the yard and killed the reptile. Miraculously, he survived!”

The Yorkshire Terrier, the close cousin to our Silkys, makes a wonderful city dog as he will do very well in an apartment, needing less exercise than many other breeds. But he can also make a great country dog, tapping into his inner hunter. Charlie Farra writes:

“For several years, I and my Yorkie gang lived in a country farm house. We had a barn but didn’t use it. We were constantly fighting rats as you do with most barns and I do mean rats not mice.

Three of my girls loved to hunt rats! All I had to do was say “Let’s go to the barn” and Ariel, Kate and Penny would be waiting at the back door. After I let them out, they would run across the yard and wait at the barn door which we kept locked. I’d open the door and in they would run.

They would look in every nook and cranny until they found their prey. Each could break a rat’s neck with a quick snap of their heads. They would trot back to me with their prizes and leave them at my feet and go back to looking for more. They never chewed on them or tried to eat them, just brought them to me for disposal. They were better than any barn cat we ever had.”

It’s so easy to think of our canine companions as small versions of ourselves. But small dogs remain DOGS, with dog behavior, not human.

It may not be politically correct to think of them as meat eating hunters but wishing them otherwise won’t make them so. Wouldn’t it be better to celebrate small dogs and to enjoy them as they really are?

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