How to Carry a Dog

Generally speaking, us dogs don’t like to be picked up too much, especially larger ones like me. If you must pick us up, it is absolutely vital to ensure that you do it carefully to avoid injuring us.

It’s a good idea to give us a verbal warning before you pick us up. Imagine if someone just came and grabbed you without warning, you wouldn’t like it either.

We like consistency, so it’s wise to use the same simple and short cue to indicate what is about to happen. My favorite is “up”. My human says this every time she picks me up, and I really appreciate it.

young man holding dog

How do you carry a big dog?

If your dog is bigger than me, you might need to get a second human to help you lift them. If you overestimate your strength then you can hurt both yourself, and us.

One human needs to stand by your dog’s head. They should slide one arm across the front of the chest under the neck, while the other is slid underneath the chest area of the belly.

The second human should stand near your dog’s butt. They need to scoop one arm around the dog’s butt under the tail, while the other hand gets slid underneath the back side of the belly.

Count down and lift simultaneously. The human at the head end of the dog is in charge of the movement.

How do you carry a medium sized dog?

I’m a Husky, so I sort of fall towards the upper end of the medium sized dogs. We can be really heavy, so take care when lifting us.

My human puts her dominant arm across the front of my chest, underneath my neck. With her other hand she hugs my butt underneath my tail.

Push through your legs and lift up carefully in a controlled manner.

How do you carry a small dog?

For really tiny dogs, such as Chihuahuas and Toy Poodles, lifting them is super simple. Stand in front of them and say your command.

Take your dominant hand and slide it gently but calmly underneath their chest, between the front legs.

Use your other hand to support reach around them. Support underneath their chest and lift carefully. Tuck their butt into your body and hug them like you would a baby.

How do you carry a pregnant dog?

You should take great care not to lift across the stomach area of a pregnant dog. Not only can this be really painful, but it can cause problems with the pregnancy and the puppies.

Place one hand underneath the neck of your dog, across the front of their chest. Place the other hand underneath their butt.

How do you carry a dog with a suspected back injury?

If you suspect your pupper has a back injury, you should be really careful when you are lifting them.

The best way to deal with this is by getting a second human to help you. One should go by the head, and the other by the butt, as if you were lifting a large dog.

It is vital that you keep their back straight when lifting them to avoid further injury. Support them underneath the neck and rump.

Is it bad to carry your dog?

When necessary, it is not a bad thing to carry your dog. We are creatures of habit though, and if you regularly pick us up we will beg for it all of the time.

As cute as we are, please don’t spoil us. It’s not good for us in the long run.

We need a good amount of exercise and walking is the best way for us to get this. We become lazy and inactive, completely the opposite of what a good dog should be. If you spoil us too much, eventually we will expect you to do everything for us.

You should not try and lift us if we are reluctant to go somewhere. Instead, draw us in with treats and encouragement. This will allow us to do it for ourselves, giving everyone a sense of satisfaction.

What should you never do when picking up a dog?

You should never attempt to pick us up by the scruff of our neck. Lots of humans think that this is good for us because our mothers do it, but that’s not the case.

They only do this when we’re really little and don’t weigh much. When we get older and heavier, it puts far too much strain on our bodies and can cause us serious injuries.

In a similar vein, you may think that our collars are a convenient and efficient way to lift us up. Please, please, please don’t do this. It’s not like the reins of a horse, if you lift us by our collars we will be in danger. At best, you will just lightly choke your dog.

At worst, you can suffocate and kill us. Either way, this action is likely to cause permanent and potentially irreparable damage to our trachea.

Do not grab us by our tails and lift. These are not ropes and are instead made of a series of small bones and muscles, similar to your human spinal column. Imagine someone trying to lift you like that – well that’s what it’s like for us.

It can badly injure our muscles and nerves, which could potentially cause us to lose control of the movement in it. Serious tail injuries can even cause us to become incontinent, which can lead to a lot of unwanted accidents.

Finally, please don’t lift us by our legs or by grabbing us under our arms. This can be really painful, just as it would be for humans. It puts an undue amount of strain on our ligaments, joints, and muscles.

This lifting stance is also not very secure and there is a large chance that you will drop us. We’re not like cats, there’s no guarantee we will land on our feet.