Very small dogs are often known as “purse dogs” since they are small enough to be ferried around in purses. Purses for dogs are also known as “dog carriers” and are specifically designed to accommodate small canines. There are a wide variety of styles ranging from small tote bags to designs which resemble a normal, fashionable purse, to slings which are similar to those you would use to carry a baby. While you are looking into travel items, you also may want to check out pet pockets and other types of doggie beds which are cozy while you are at home or on vacation. Summer is coming up fast, and that means you’ll probably doing a lot of running around with your dog, and maybe even bringing your dog with you on a fun trip!
First things first: are carriers actually good for dogs? There are people who think that carriers and crates and other small, confined areas are cruel, by dint of the fact that they would not want to be in them. Your dog is not a human, however, and has different sensibilities than you. Dogs want to be comfortable, just like human beings do, but often define comfort differently. Dogs are “den” animals, and will often mark a carrier or a crate as an enclosed, safe, comfortable space if you conduct the training properly and choose a carrier which fits your dog. That is the first step—you will need to choose a carrier which is the right size for your pooch. He should have some wiggle room so that he is comfortable, but the carrier should not allow him to escape and potentially injure himself.
To start with the carrier training, you should give you dog a chance to see the carrier and spend time around it without any pressure. Let your dog get used to its presence and acknowledge it as a familiar item before you start trying to get him inside. Show your dog the carrier both open and closed, and use positive reinforcement when your dog shows comfort being around or inside the carrier. Come up with a verbal command to accompany the act of going into the carrier. Something simple like “carrier in,” or “purse in,” suffices just fine.
Place your puppy inside the purse and then give him a treat or a toy so that he associates the experience of being inside the purse with something pleasant. Leave him in for just a few seconds the first time and then pull him back out. If he tries to jump out, don’t let him. This is why it is essential to start with just a few seconds. If your dog gets in the habit of jumping out of the bag, this can quickly become a problem. Your dog is less likely to jump out if you have chosen the right size dog pouch in the first place.
Gradually leave your puppy inside the bag for longer and longer periods of time, while rewarding him with treats, toys, or praise. After about a week of this, you will probably be able to get your dog to stay in the bag for about five minutes without him jumping out. At this point, you can start working on picking up the bag. Start gradually with this as well, working your way up to longer and longer time periods. Try walking after your dog is used to you standing with the bag.
You may want to start with a dog carrier which closes up completely (they come with mesh screens so your dog can see out and breathe comfortably and easily). This is safest if you have a dog that is liable to try to jump out of the carrier. A well-trained dog can progress to a dog purse which is open at the top. Dog purse training takes some time and effort, like any type of training, but it can be well worth it. Dog purses offer a stylish and convenient method for carrying your small dog around with you on errands, day trips or on vacation. There is a huge selection to choose from, and you’ll find something perfect for any dog!