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“Small Dog Syndrome” is it really a thing?

“Small Dog Syndrome” is it really a thing?
Picture this...
you're the personal assistant to a furry little Hollywood celebrity, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You've got a 10-pound diva who whines and barks for attention, talks back when asked to do anything & expects to have waited on hand and paw. If a larger dog—let's say a German Shepherd—were to jump up on people, barking and snapping, insisting on being carried around, we would see this as highly undesirable behavior. People may interpret the behavior as that of an aggressive dog, and I'm pretty sure that letting this dog off-leash would be impossible. But somehow, when it comes from a dog that barely reaches our ankles, it's laughed off and seen as a minor nuisance. Two different sizes of dogs, the exact same behavior. Sounding familiar well that's because chances are you’ve witnessed “small dog syndrome” before. 
Small dog syndrome can be a learned behavior; it is not inherent to small breeds. And it isn’t actually a syndrome, but rather stereotypical behaviors that we see in small dogs. These behaviors are so common because owners don’t deal with them or owners use punishment to deal with them, which often backfires.




Signs/Symptoms Of SDS


  • Does your dog rule the roost? they bark, and you jump up to do their bidding. they know they're in charge of the house and you follow their rules. By giving in to their every demand and not correcting any bad habits, you've given them the idea that it's their way or the highway. 


  • Too good to walk? Why would they walk if they have you to carry them everywhere? But even small dogs need to walk. Daily walks are great exercise for them because they are at risk of becoming overweight. Even an extra pound or two can put pressure on joints, organs, and limbs, which leads to expensive medical bills, pain, and suffering.


  • Do they bark at every dog they pass? The size of the dog doesn't matter—your precious pooch turns into a snarling beast when another dog crosses their path. But the barking is a sign of an underlining issue—that they are unsure, anxious, and insecure.


  • Do they growl, snap or jump on people? They could just exhibit one of these nasty habits, or all three. It's a sign of insecurity and their compensating for size. Again, this is another way they are showing you that they are stressed, threatened, confused, upset, intimidated, or nervous.


  • Begging for food? Okay, a lot of dogs are guilty of this one, but your small dog takes it to the next level. They will sit, stare, whine, and cry until you give them what's on your plate. And on top of that, they may start ignoring their regular food in favor of your handouts.


  • Peeing all over the house? And this isn't just your house; it's any house they visit. The floor, the couch, the walls, the bed—nothing is safe. This isn't about housetraining; it's about control and dominance. And they'll do it everywhere except outside.




The good news is that “Small Dog Syndrome” can be managed and improved with consistent & positive reinforcement training. We recommend working with a reward-based, gentle trainer, practicing correction techniques several times a day in a controlled area &  ensuring that your pooch partakes in plenty of daily exercises. They may not like the new pack order but trust us! In the end, you'll have a much happier n’ healthier little dog on your hands.

Xx Miminko!

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