Does Your Dog Have Small Dog Syndrome?


Have you ever noticed how some small dogs tend to become slightly aggressive when they see bigger dogs around? Maybe aggressive isn’t the correct word, some might argue they are ‘yappy’ or annoying and, surprisingly, there is a term that defines this attitude – the small dog syndrome. This term refers to the way in which some small dogs react when they encounter larger dogs.

Small dogs have earned a rather diva-like reputation over the years due to this syndrome, which makes them both feel and act in a different temperament than they normally would. Unfortunately, there is a widely-accepted misconception of these lap dogs claiming they are spoiled and/or excessively pampered, leading to their behavior. However, small dogs actually develop this over time through unknowing owners who, instead of correcting them, disregard it as innocent due to the smaller size. People often ignore this behavior instead of attempting to correct it because they think it’s actually cute, which in return encourages it.

Common Signs of SDS:

1) Aggression: Smaller lap dogs who tend to bark incessantly at larger breeds often experience SDS. This is a typical sign of insecurity and nervousness, which helps develop the syndrome to further extent.

2) Growling or Jumping: This type of behavior can also be directed towards other people, not just dogs. If your lap dog tends to do this a lot, it is a possible sign he/she has SDS and requires further training.

3) Whining: While this is a rather difficult one to pin-point because most dogs occasionally whine over their food or play time, dogs who whine and cry until they get what they want display signs of  SDS.

4) Refusing to walk/exercise: As many lap dogs are wrongly accustomed to being carried around all day, some of them begin to refuse daily exercise routines. Despite of the dog’s size, it is vital for their health to maintain some exercise routines.

This syndrome can be reverted through time and effort, as continuously practicing a more disciplined training regimen with your small pet can lead to a better attitude. If you are trying to change your small dog’s whining and aggressiveness towards larger dogs, then it is advised to base your training on a reward-base system so that your dog can understand what you expect from him/her. Ensuring that your dog gets enough rest and exercise is also vital as it decreases his nervousness and may limit negative behavior.