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Small Dog Syndrome: Fact or Fiction

Small Dog Syndrome: Fact or Fiction

As most small dog owners and vets will attest, small dogs tend to have anger issues. So much so that it lead to the coining of the phrase “small dog syndrome”.

Is Small Dog Syndrome A Disease?

As we know at Happy Critter Pet Walking, aggression can occur in any breed. There’s no biological factor. Some toy breeds are very docile, while some large dogs are very aggressive. If any dog acts out, it is most likely out of fear.

That’s why all our pet care services are performed with love and empathy. Considering just how small lapdogs are, it’s not surprising that they would feel easily threatened.

Managing Your Lapdog’s Anger

While it’s not strictly scientific, being on the receiving end of small but sharp-toothed bites has been a shared experience. Small dog behavior has been noted to include:

  • Excitability
  • Fear
  • Selectively ignoring commands
  • Growling without provocation
  • Angry outbursts after which they isolate themselves
  • Resource guarding
  • Making noisy demands
  • Urinating indoors when displeased
  • Picking fights with other dogs

A common misconception is that due to size, these dogs are harmless. So what does it matter if they have the occasional tantrum? In truth, they can do plenty of damage. Their sharp teeth can break the skin, and once they’ve flown into a rage, anyone who gets too close is fair game.

So how can you avoid becoming collateral damage in one of these fits? Not by accommodating them, that’s for sure. Here are a few ideas to minimize, if not eliminate, risk.

Discard the Idea of Dominance

Like small dog syndrome, the phrase ‘alpha dog’ also has no scientific backing. Neither dogs nor wolves abide by an alpha system. If you’re trying to put your pooch in its place by establishing dominance, it’s likely exacerbating aggression issues.

Show your dog that they are a trusted companion.

Don’t Let Them Bully You

If you allow a dog, no matter how intimidating, to pressure you into doing something, then you’re rewarding bad behavior. If possible, ignore all negative behavior and reward good behavior. Never yell or hit your dog.

Make sure your pet sitting services do the same.

Invest In Protective Gloves

It’s never wise to approach a growling dog. However, as the owner, we must intervene when the situation calls for it. If you think your dog might be about to bite someone, you need to be able to pick them up and remove it. Gloves will enable you to do this without being bitten yourself.

Seeing you unaffected may calm your dog.

Regular Exercise

Since they’re excitable and brimming with energy, it’s best to drain as much as possible. Take your pad-footed friend for multiple walks during the day, so they’re all tuckered out by nighttime.

If your work schedule makes this difficult, hire a dog walker or a pet sitter who can handle an aggressive dog.

Small dog scaring a big dog in LakelandWhen managing canine behavioral issues, consistency is important. You don’t want to expend time and energy training and have it undone by an overnight pet stay. As pet owners, we all want to keep our furry friends close, but that’s not always possible.

Happy Critter Pet Walking pet care services in Lakeland boast a team of empathetic carers who know how to handle your dog. Toy breed or giant, we love all dogs. No matter how much a dog growls and lunges, we don’t panic. We know to stay calm and solve the problem. If you need a dog pickup, dog drop-off, a walking service, or pet housesitting, give us a call at 863 270 9366.