boy hugging dog

How To Properly Pick Up A Small Dog In 5 Easy Steps!

Many people say that picking up a dog is easy. It seems like it should be, right? Just put one hand under the stomach and one hand on top of the back, lift them up off the ground and cradle them close to your chest as they wiggle around.

However, it turns out that this is actually an incorrect way to pick up a dog! According to professionals in the field of animal science, there are five steps that you need to follow when picking up a dog:

1)  Let them know when you are picking them

If you’ve ever picked up a small dog and been met with resistance, fear, or just plain confusion, it may be because they weren’t expecting to be lifted off the ground.

Picking up a small dog is an action that needs to be done with care and consideration for the feelings of your pup.

Whenever you pick up a small dog, always let them know that they’re about to be lifted off the ground by using a command such as “up” or “let me pick you up”.

2) Get low with your back straight.

In order to pick up a dog properly, make sure that you get low and keep your back as straight as possible. Bend your knees and get ready for some wiggling! 

This makes sure that there is no strain on either of you. Your shoulder should be level with the dog’s stomach and ideally no higher than its chest or neck.

Once in this position, give the dog a little hug, and it should tuck its head into your shoulder.

Once you have the dog in this position, stand up slowly while continuing to support the weight of the dog with one arm.

The other hand is used to pet or gently rub the dog’s chest and neck area.

3) Support the dog

Picking up a dog can be tricky. The first thing you should do is wrap one arm around the front of the dog from behind, with your hand just below their rib cage.

This will support most of their weight and make it easier for you to pick them up.

Then, place your other hand on top of the backside so that you have two hands supporting as much weight as possible and use this leverage to lift them off the ground.

woman holding dog
Photo by Bicanski on Pixnio

4) Get a good grip on them.

When picking up a dog, always pick them up with both hands. Get a good grip on them with both hands by cupping under their armpits and picking them up.

This will avoid any accidents where the person holding the dog might drop it and cause injury to either themselves or the animal being held.

5) Carefully cradle them in your arms.

It is important to hold the dog close to your body and cradle them in your arms, so they cannot wiggle free.

This way, you are able to control their movement and keep them from getting hurt or injuring someone else in the process. ​​​​​​​

Frequently Asked Questions

Do small dogs like to be picked up?

Many people think that picking up their dog is a great way to show them affection. However, many dogs do not like being picked up or held and this is because it makes them feel trapped and out of control.

Some small dogs are also very scared of heights so being lifted off the ground can make them panic which may lead to biting. If you want your pup to enjoy cuddles with you then try gently rubbing his belly or ear instead!​​​​​​​

Why does my puppy back away when I try to pick her up?

If you’ve noticed that your puppy has been backing away when you try to pet it, there are a few possible reasons why. One of the most common is that your dog may be fearful or unsure of what you’re doing.

This can happen if they have had a bad experience with being picked up in the past. Another reason could be that they are simply not used to being touched and don’t know how to react when someone tries to pick them up.​​​​​​​

Can I pick up my dog by the scruff?

The animal world is full of misconceptions. One common misconception is that it’s ok to pick up a dog by the scruff of their neck. This can be very dangerous for your pet, as well as you.

Lifting your dog from their scruff could lead to spinal injury or neck trauma. Not only does this pose a risk to the health and safety of your furry friend, but also poses risks for yourself in terms of pain and physical damage while picking them up incorrectly.

Can you pick up a small dog by the collar?

Do you often pick your dog up by their collar? Well, stop. It’s not only cruel and inhumane, but it can also do permanent damage to their trachea. Picking up a dog by their collar is one of the most common mistakes that pet owners make.

It may seem like an easy way to pick up your pup, but it’s actually quite dangerous.  The act of picking a dog up from their collar creates pressure on the windpipe that can temporarily cut off his air supply.

This is called asphyxiation or choking, and it’s easy for this type of injury to happen if they’re picked up incorrectly while walking them on a leash.

Can you pick up a dog from its tail?

Your dog’s tail is an important part of their anatomy, but it can also be a source of pain and discomfort. There are many reasons why you should never pick your dog up by their tail.

The muscles and nerves in the area of the tail are very delicate, so picking them up or pulling on them can cause serious damage. This is also true for small dogs, as they may not be able to support their own weight when picked up this way.

If you must move a dog that has become stuck somewhere or is injured, use two hands to scoop under the chest and back legs.

Can you pick up a dog from its legs?

Many people pick up their dog by its legs, but this can be very painful for the animal. This also puts unnecessary strain to the dogs joints,muscles and ligaments.

There are better safer ways to pick up your pup that won’t hurt them: –

Instead of picking up your dog in this way, you should lift them from under their stomachs.

If you have two hands free, cradle the bottom half of your dog’s body in one arm while supporting his chest with the other hand. 


  • Karin S

    Welcome to All About My Small Dog, where my love for small dogs and years of hands-on experience meet your need for trusted information. As a dedicated small dog enthusiast and pet parent, I'm deeply committed to sharing expert insights, reliable advice, and a community of support. Every blog you read here is crafted with the utmost care, guided by my passion and expertise. You can trust that you're in the right place for valuable insights and a warm community that understands the unique joys and challenges of small dog ownership. Together, we'll make sure your small dog's world is filled with love, care, and knowledge.