Shared Family Time With Your Small Dog

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Shared Family Time With Your Small Dog
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Small dogs may get a bad rap for their (sometimes) incessant yapping and problems in regard to potty training, but in reality they're no different than the big dogs on campus. Not to mention, small dogs are far easier to transport, can sit on your lap without causing discomfort and can easily become your family's best friend. Not only that, but your small dog's big personality can provide many opportunities for family bonding and lasting memories for years to come.

Plan a Picnic
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Plan a Picnic

Pack a lunch and your dog for a family picnic. "A lot of small dogs don't shed or take up a lot of room, so you won't have to worry about any pesky dog hair in your tuna fish sandwich," said Dave Cugno, a dog behavior specialist and trainer who's worked with canines for more than 20 years.

Related: Dave Cugno's Canine Center

Walk Around the Block
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Walk Around the Block

You don't have to go through the motions of prepping everyone and your canine, hopping in the car and driving to a destination. Instead, put on your shoes, tie a leash on Spot and walk around the block together.

Teach Your Pup Some Tricks
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Teach Your Pup Some Tricks

"Small dogs love to learn tricks," said Cugno, who suggests taking a class with a qualified trick trainer. "It gives your furry friend a job to do that's enjoyable and gives you a neat way to show off your dog's intelligence."

Related: Dave Cugno's Canine Center

Throw a Canine Party
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Throw a Canine Party

Nikki Moustaki, dog trainer, pet lifestyle expert and author of nine canine-related books, suggests throwing a doggy party. "Invite other families who also have small dogs and have a 'dog-themed' party," she said. Make a dog-friendly cake, dog party games such as "bobbing for hot dogs," encourage costumes and decorate paw-shaped cookies.

Related: Nikki Moustaki: Author, Dog Trainer, Pet Expert

Visit a Dog-Friendly Restaurant
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Visit a Dog-Friendly Restaurant

Call around to area restaurants to see if they have outdoor seating and a pet policy. Many cafes, coffee shops and restaurants offer al fresco dining for your family and puppy. Some even have a mini doggy menu.

Take a Hike
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Take a Hike

While some large dogs tend to struggle on difficult terrain, a smaller dog is typically more agile. Cugno said they enjoy climbing and swimming in creeks or shallow rivers, so a family hike to a nearby area can be great fun for all involved.

Related: Dave Cugno's Canine Center

Backyard Barbecue
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Backyard Barbecue

Soak up the sunshine, grill some tasty food and exert some physical energy with the entire family in your very own backyard. Toss around a Frisbee, play fetch, hop in the pool or simply run around until you're ready to call it a day.

Play Dress Up
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Play Dress Up

Depending on your dog's personality this may or may not work, but it's always worth a shot. Let the whole family participate in selecting a cute outfit for Fido and then have a photo shoot together to document the end result. If your canine isn't into fashion, keep things easy with a funny hat.

Go to the Beach
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Go to the Beach

Dogs love splashing around in the water on a hot day just as much as humans. Lather on the sunscreen, bring some water toys and dig your toes in the sand with the whole family. Just make sure you're at a dog-friendly beach--you wouldn't want your furry friend to get kicked out!

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