Do Small Dogs Like Being Carried? What to Expect

Small dogs, with their adorable size and charming personalities, often find themselves in the loving arms of their owners. But have you ever wondered if these pint-sized pups truly enjoy being carried around? 

In this article, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of small dog behavior and preferences to answer the age-old question: do small dogs like being carried? 

Additionally, we’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of carrying your furry friend, along with essential tips for safe and comfortable handling.

The Instincts of Small Dogs

To understand whether small dogs enjoy being carried, we must first consider their natural instincts. Small dog breeds, like Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, and Yorkshire Terriers, often share similar characteristics despite their varying temperaments.

Pack Mentality: Dogs are pack animals by nature, and even small breeds retain this instinct. In a pack, dogs are carried by their mothers when they are puppies. This early experience may influence their feelings about being carried later in life.

Territorial Instincts: Dogs have territorial instincts, and being carried can make them feel vulnerable. Small dogs may not appreciate being removed from their familiar environment and carried around, especially in unfamiliar places.

The Personality Factor

Small dogs, like humans, have unique personalities. Some are outgoing and sociable, while others are more reserved. These personality traits can significantly influence their feelings about being carried.

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Social Butterflies: Small breeds like the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel or the Shih Tzu are known for their affectionate and social nature. They may enjoy being carried because it allows them to be close to their owners and interact with the world.

Independent Spirits: On the other hand, some small dogs, such as the Dachshund or the Basenji, are more independent and may prefer to explore on their own. They might resist being carried, wanting to roam freely instead.

Benefits of Carrying Your Small Dog

While individual preferences vary, there are several benefits to carrying your small dog:

Safety: In crowded or potentially dangerous areas, carrying your small dog can keep them out of harm’s way.

Bonding: Carrying your furry friend can strengthen the bond between you and provide them with a sense of security and comfort.

Socialization: Carried dogs often receive more attention from passersby, which can aid in socialization and help your pup become more well-adjusted.

Drawbacks of Carrying Your Small Dog

Despite the advantages, there are some drawbacks to consider:

Physical Strain: Carrying a small dog for extended periods can be physically taxing, especially if your dog is not accustomed to it.

Fear and Anxiety: Some dogs may become anxious or fearful when lifted off the ground, particularly if they haven’t been properly introduced to being carried.

How to Determine if Your Small Dog Likes Being Carried

Observe Body Language: Pay attention to your dog’s body language. If they seem relaxed, with a wagging tail and a calm demeanor, they likely enjoy being carried. If they appear tense or try to squirm away, it’s best to let them down.

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Gradual Introduction: If your dog is not used to being carried, introduce it slowly and reward them with treats and praise for calm behavior.

Listen to Vocal Cues: Dogs often communicate through vocalizations. If your small dog whimpers, whines, or growls when being carried, they may be expressing discomfort or displeasure.

Safe and Comfortable Handling

If your small dog enjoys being carried, it’s essential to do it safely and comfortably:

Proper Support: Always support your dog’s bottom and chest when carrying them. Avoid carrying them by their legs or neck, as this can be uncomfortable and even harmful.

Choose the Right Carrier: If you plan to carry your dog regularly, invest in a suitable dog carrier or sling that provides proper support and ventilation.

Frequent Breaks: Don’t carry your dog for extended periods. Give them breaks to stretch their legs and relieve themselves.


In the end, whether your small dog enjoys being carried depends on their unique personality and past experiences. It’s crucial to pay attention to their cues and provide them with the choice to be on the ground when they prefer it. 

When done safely and with sensitivity to your furry friend’s preferences, carrying your small dog can be a delightful way to bond and explore the world together. 

Remember that every dog is an individual, so take the time to understand and respect their feelings about being carried.