Dog baskets, dog leashes, dog bowls, dog toys – but also dog coats, dog jewelry, dog shampoo and dog accessories are available in a large selection in relevant stores. Everything your dog needs and much more that he doesn’t actually need can be purchased – and is selling hotly! Especially for small breeds, also known as lap dogs, the market offers a variety of accessories whose usefulness can be considered questionable. Much more worrying, however, is a development that precedes this: the fact that small dogs are increasingly viewed as a fashion accessory and not as living beings with needs.
Dog as an economic factor
The days when the dog was “just there” on every farm without the owner paying much attention to him are fortunately over. In recent decades, the dog has further consolidated its position as the Germans’ favorite pet and has gone from working farm animal to pampered favorite. The willingness of dog owners to spend money on their four-legged friend is correspondingly greater: in Germany, dog ownership generates annual sales of around 5 billion euros. The love of dogs moves almost unimaginable amounts of money. So it’s no wonder that resourceful marketing strategists have long since discovered this field for themselves.
Because why only sell the urgently needed basic products when loving dog owners also willingly (and above all deeper!) dig into their pockets for the luxury editions? So it’s actually quite understandable that there’s now a whole industry around dogs: whether it’s carrier bags, glitter collars, coats, Halloween costumes, nail polish, princess beds or whatever – there’s nothing that doesn’t exist.< /p>
Now you can of course smile and think “So what? If it makes you happy…” – but unfortunately it’s not that simple. Because of the increasing supply of decorative consumer goods, the dog itself is increasingly being reduced to an accessory. More and more people keep a dog primarily because it is “IN” and forget that dogs also have species-typical needs.
From dog accessories to dog accessories
Admittedly: The phenomenon of certain pedigree dogs becoming fashion dogs for a certain period of time has existed before. With the increasing range of trendy dog accessories, this phenomenon is taking on completely new proportions. Because now it’s not just the dog that is selected to match the current trend: No, the lively accessory also gets a chic coat, cute hair clips, painted claws, a glittering collar and so on.
Most dogs could still live with that somehow. But unfortunately that’s not enough. Because once the dog is so “fancy” equipped, it is of course impossible for him to run around through the forest and meadows – not only would the dog accessories get in the way while playing, but some trend-conscious owners also don’t want to risk the fashionable pieces getting dirty or even broken and in the worst case even be lost. And so the lives of such “accessory dogs” are often limited to being carried through the shopping mall in a trendy carrier bag and traipsing around the apartment at home. This goes so far that some lap dogs are no longer taken out on the street to relieve themselves, but instead use a litter box in the apartment.
Even the smallest dog has a predator
In fact, it has to be said that, especially with the “mini breeds” such as the mini Chihuahua, the Russki Toy or the Prague Rattler, many dog-typical needs have now been pushed into the background due to extreme breeding. For example, long walks are difficult to accomplish with their short legs and social contacts between frail creatures and normal-sized dogs should sometimes be enjoyed with caution. But breeding ultimately doesn’t change the fact that even the smallest dogs are still predators.
Your needs don’t just include eating and drinking, as some lap dog owners obviously think, but much more. All dogs, whether large or small, have other needs in addition to purely physical needs such as food and the like that must be met if they are to lead a species-appropriate life. These include:
- Activity for body and mind
- A reliable environment with fixed rules and reference people
- Regular rest periods
- Affection and social contacts
These needs come from the development of dogs: activity was always the order of the day when prey had to be hunted, phases of rest prepared for the next hunt and living together in a pack required fixed rules and was rewarded with the necessary social contacts.
It is precisely these ancient needs that are often left out when the dog is viewed as an accessory. Dog owners simply “forget” that a lap dog can also have hunting or guarding instincts and that at some point even the smallest dog will no longer be cute if it growls and pinches visitors.
It often fails because of toilet training and basic obedience, so that many small handbag dogs never learn the dog basics that are so necessary for a fulfilling life. The unbalanced little dogs quickly become “uncomfortable” for their owners. After all, a dog that is not housetrained, disobeys, and instead barks at everyone or perhaps even pinches, cannot be used as a model object. As a result, such lap dogs that have become inconvenient are often pushed away again as quickly and profitably as possible: As a classified ad, they are thrown back onto the market at the “purchase price” if possible to decorate another handbag – and whether they are allowed to stay there for a long time often remains the same still to be seen.
Behavioral disorders are inevitable
If a dog is kept in such a way that is not typical of the species and, in the worst case scenario, is also passed from hand to hand, behavioral problems are almost inevitable. These can range from unwanted behavior, such as peeing and yapping, to self-mutilation or aggressive behavior.
In order to enable these dogs to lead a normal, happy life again, hard work is usually necessary: successful re-socialization often requires the help of a specialist. Because while originally it would have just been a matter of “some” training and an appropriate attitude for a dog, the entire worldview of an already adult, usually very insecure animal must now be changed for the better and its trust in humans must be given back.</ p>
Yes to species-appropriate husbandry, no to accessory dogs
That’s why we speak out clearly against the degradation of a dog into an accessory, but rather wish that even the smallest dogs are treated as what they are: dogs! Of course, there is nothing wrong with carrying small dogs on longer journeys. And of course there are certain dogs, such as some greyhounds, hairless hounds and similar breeds, that actually require protective clothing in extreme weather conditions. Nevertheless, a dog should always and in any case be allowed to remain a dog.
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