6 Big Signs Of Small Dog Syndrome

Amy Tokic
by Amy Tokic
Big problems do come in small packages – how to tell if your pooch has small dog syndrome.

It’s so easy for a small dog to get her way. Just look at how cute and helpless she is. Who can resist her fuzzy charms? But behind those puppy dog eyes, you’re creating a monster… a furry beast who expects to get everything she wants. And it’s all your fault! It’s your job, as a pet parent and a dog owner, to remind her that she is a dog, not a pampered princess. You’re not doing her and anyone around her any good by manifesting this small dog syndrome.

At first, you laugh off these signals and signs, thinking that they are cute and precious. But as time goes on, they become annoying and create a dog that doesn’t know how to properly socialize with other dogs and people. This leads to anxiety and fear-based issues that aren’t easy to resolve. So do you have an issue on your hands? Here’s how to tell if you’ve got a case of small dog syndrome.

  1. Barking at every dog she passes. Big or small, it doesn’t matter – if another dog so much as glances her way, your dog takes offense and starts giving that pooch a piece of her mind. This consistent yapping can get her into a lot of trouble. Plus, all this barking leads to an unsure and insecure dog. It’s often a fine line for pet parents who like the ‘protection’ all the barking and attention makes. But if people don’t want to go near your house because she’s a hot mess who won’t shut up? That’s a problem and it’s not great for either of you. What it means is that when you’re out in public or at the dog park or wherever, Princess thinks she’s got to show the world how much of a bad bitch she really is. Seriously, don’t be fooled by how adorable she is. Even vets will tell you that they’ll take a bully all day long and twice on Sunday overcome yappy little Yorkie who believes she’s in charge. Oh, and thinks nipping or growling aggressively is okay. It’s never okay, and small dog bites hurt too.
  2. I’m too good to walk. My perfect paws never touch the ground, so my mum and dad carry me everywhere. It’s like carrying a baby and soon your dog expects it. Dogs need to walk – it’s great exercise for them. And small dogs need to walk too, as they are at risk of becoming overweight. When they put on the extra weight, it doesn’t take much. Even an extra pound or two can put pressure on joints, organs and limbs that just can’t handle it, and can lead to expensive medical bills, pain and suffering. Not to mention, dogs LIKE to walk. They like to explore. They like to be DOGS. So let them. If you love them, let them be who they were created to be–not whatever you want them to be.
  3. Who’s in charge here? If your pampered pooch has small dog syndrome, you’d better believe she thinks she’s in charge! She’s the pack leader and you are her follower. The house and everything that’s in it – you’d better believe that belongs to her. She’s not going to listen to a word you say, will sit where she wants and will bully the other members of the family to keep the status quo in check (with her on top). At first, this is the stuff you put on America’s Funniest Videos (sort of). But it’s also the stuff that gets her in trouble when someone who isn’t catering to her every whim comes in contact with her and she freaks out over the thought of anyone else being in charge. It’s serious, and needs an end put to it. Pronto.
  4. The house is her bathroom. She pees where she wants, whenever the urge strikes her. But she just won’t pee on the floor. She’ll do her business on the bed, sofa, chairs… in fact, on every piece of furniture in the house. She’ll do it everywhere – except outside. That’s a big, fat, heck-to-the-NO! Talk with a trainer. Now. Do not pass go. Do NOT collect $200!
  5. She’ll jump up, snap or growl at other people. Or she’ll do all three. As a way to compensate for her small size, she’s showing how tough and fearless she is when she is stressed, threatened, confused, upset, intimidated, or nervous. This is so dangerous and a reason why vets just have a lower tolerance for aggression in general. They see these amazing bigger dogs get branded as bad simply because of their breed and then the ‘cutesie’ dogs who snap or growl are given leniency–they hate it. They don’t like the nipping or growling and you shouldn’t either.
  6. Begs for food. Your food is my food. So give it to me. And if you don’t, I will sit, stare, whine and cry until you do. I don’t care if I know you or not – if it looks appetizing, I want to eat it. Sure, it’s rude and not nice doggy manners, but I don’t care. I make up the rules in this house and I demand the best of everything on your plate! Now, in fairness…most dogs do this, so it’s not totally Small Dog Syndrome BUT….they show it a lot!

Even if your dog has small dog syndrome, it’s not too late to correct this behavior. With the proper training and just by learning to say no to your princess, you can take your rightful place at the head of the household, and your small dog can take her rightful position – on your lap (but only when you say it’s okay, of course).

Amy Tokic
Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).

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