How to tell if a behavior is dangerous? Answer this question “Is it okay for a 90 pound Rottweiler to do this?”. If you said no, then do not let your dog do it. Is it safe for a Rottweiler to nip at your child while chasing him? Probably not. So you really should not allow your dog to that either. Can your Rottweiler bark at the door when someone is outside? Yes, as long as he stops when you ask. A lot of issues are not black or white, but this should help steer you in the right direction.
Puppies and small dogs are often allowed to get away with, what could potentially become dangerous behavior due to, their size and cuteness. It is important to keep in mind that these behaviors could escalate and that the puppy won’t “grow out” of it without intervention. This article talks about what behavior can be dangerous and what some causes could be. If the behavior has a sudden onset, speak to a veterinarian to make sure that there is no medical issue that is contributing to it.
Where do you draw the line in your dog’s unsafe behavior?
It can be hard to decide when you should not allow a dog to do a behavior. A rule of thumb is that if you do not want a large dog to do something, a small dog should not be allowed to do it either. I use Rottweiler as an example because most people can picture how big and massive they are. Rottweilers are the sweetest dogs, but it gives you a visual. You could also use American Bulldog or the Pitt Bull.
If cringe at the idea of seeing a child being chased and nipped at by a 100 lb. German Shepherd, your Shih Tzu should not be allowed to do that either.
If you think having an Akita growl at you while cuddling with their owner is a bad idea, your Chihuahua should not be allowed to do that either.
If you think a huge pit bull barking at the door will deter thieves, then go ahead and let your Lhasa Apso bark at the door. As long as both breeds stop when you ask them and they do not get aggressive.
Not all behaviors can fall into black or white situations, but you could use this as the start to help you make your dog a better canine citizen.