Have you ever noticed that your small dog starts to shake or get aggressive whenever a larger dog walks by? This is known as small dog syndrome. On the surface it may seem comical for your small dog to try and take on another dog that is twice their size, but in reality, your dog is scared and intimidated. Thankfully, there are a few ways to calm your small dog down and teach them that those big dogs aren’t as scary as they think.
Small dog syndrome is pretty easy to spot. A dog with small dog syndrome will typically exhibit any of the following behaviors when a large dog enters the room:
- Growling, snapping, or lunging at other people or dogs
- Hiding behind owner or underneath furniture
- Reluctance to move off of higher furniture such as sofas, chairs, or beds
- Disobeying commands
- Jumping up on owner, other people, or dogs
How to fix it
Naturally, we don’t want our canine friends to be scared of other people or other dogs. We also don’t want them, or others, to get hurt because of their aggressiveness. If your dog is showing signs of small dog syndrome, then follow these steps to improve their behavior:
- Redirect their nervous energy towards a game rather than the dog. Teach them the game when there are no other dogs around, and start playing when you see other dogs in the distance.
- Introduce your dog to larger dogs that you know are gentle and kind at a neutral location while both are on a leash. Keep them at a distance and then slowly get them closer, rewarding your dog with treats and praise when they remain calm.
- Attend obedience classes to teach your dog simple commands such as “sit” or “stay.” This will help you control your dog if and when a larger dog appears.
At Family Puppies, we want to make sure that all of our small dogs live happy, stress-free lives. To learn more about small dog syndrome, contact us today!