Small Dog Syndrome

August 1, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Pet Dogs

Small Dog Syndrome

It sounds like a disease but it is a condition that pertains to dogs and the human perception of them. If you have a small or toy dog, keep reading to find out how detrimental this syndrome can be.

“Aren’t they cute?”

You hear this all the time when people are describing puppies and small dogs. We are used to seeing big dogs and other animals but the small ones just make us gush. In human language, this is adorable and endears us to our pets even more. In dog language, however, it means something totally different.

As dogs become older they grow larger, unless they are of the small or toy varieties. This can cause some problems in the dog’s behavior that many owners ignore. Here are some examples.

Small dogs allowed to jump on people
Small dogs allowed to nip at family and visitors
Small dogs allowed to sleep where they want to
Small dogs allowed to lead on the leash
Small dogs allowed to sit in owner’s lap when they want to

Be truthful – if a large dog did any of these things, you would not be pleased, would you? Well, in the animal world, size doesn’t matter. The same way that you discipline a large dog is the same way that a small dog needs to be treated. In fact, they demand it. And, when we don’t give it to them, they rebel and can become a problem.

Small Dog Mentality

Dogs are not humans. We often forget that. Dogs have a pack mentality much like their distant relative, the wolf. This means that someone in the group has to be the leader.

Having a leader brings order to the pack. They know who to follow so that the pressure is off of them to make all of the decisions. In the home, the dog is the follower and the human is the leader. Anything less is seen as weakness by your dog.

The reason that small dogs do some of the things mentioned above is that they have begun to act like the pack leader. They have taken charge.

One way to overcome this pattern of behavior is to regain the alpha position with your dog. Here are some suggestions:

1. Don’t allow your dog to walk in front of you on the leash
2. Use a negative command like “No” when the dog nips at someone or jumps up on your legs
3. Wait until the dog displays a submissive posture before allowing them to sit in your lap or jump on the bed

Remember that dogs respond better to firm but calm instruction. Avoid yelling at your dog or pushing them around. Poke them with your fingers until they decide to move off your lap or your bed. Displaying your alpha position can avoid such things as separation anxiety as well.

Small dogs or toy dogs may be cuter but they need the same things as larger dogs.


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