Small Dog Syndrome

Understanding Your Small Dog's Unique Behaviours



Does your small dog’s behaviour leave you scratching your head? Let’s explore the clues that will help you solve the mystery that is your pint-sized pooch. 

Small Dog Syndrome

Small stature makes for perfectly portable pups. No wonder these breeds have a tendency to be spoiled by their pet parents! Unfortunately, all of that pampering can lead to the development of some less than adorable habits.

Some small dogs like to see themselves as “The Boss.” They may develop a bossy attitude that makes for difficult interactions with other dogs. They may chase, growl, or bark at other dogs until they get their way. Some deliberately have bathroom accidents in the house as a way to assert their dominance. These poor social skills and bad habits could be the result of spoiling or over-coddling your pup.


Double Standard

Just because they’re cute, that doesn’t mean you should excuse their bad behaviour! Small dogs are often treated differently than larger breeds. For example, a Boxer jumping on a guest is seen as a nuisance, but a small dog that does the exact same thing may be ignored because they appear less threatening. However, a bad habit is a bad habit no matter the size of the furry perpetrator.

If you let too many of these bad behaviours slide, your dog will learn that they can get away with rule breaking. Pint-sized pooches shouldn’t be held to a different standard just because they’re smaller.


Follow the Leader

Dogs love to be part of the pack and look to you as their leader. They actually want to be led by an authority figure (especially ones that know that they’re small and need extra protection). So when you resign from your leadership role, they may become fearful. If you take on the submissive role in your relationship, your pet will assume the role of pack leader. They may feel that they have no choice but to become more aggressive in order to protect themselves. That’s when all those bad habits that you let slide start to become a problem. 

What You Can Do

Now that you have a better understanding of why little Fido does what he does, it’s time for you to regain some control!

It’s important to set boundaries early on to prevent bad habits from forming. However, that doesn’t mean that older dogs are a lost cause! Obedience training is valuable at any age. It’s a great way to get your pup back on the right track and try to undo some of that diva behaviour.

If nipping is a problem, a professional dog trainer can help you identify the cause of the biting (for example: anxiety or fear) and teach you strategies for correcting the behaviour.

What little dogs lack in size, they make up for in big voices. In serious cases, a noisy dog could be suffering from separation anxiety. Have a positive attitude when you leave the house so that your departure is less traumatic. Ensuring your dog has plenty of exercise is another good way to lessen the symptoms of separation anxiety. Their legs may be small, but physical activity is still important for miniature dogs!

Your dog won’t resent you for taking back control. They’ll actually be relieved to have a strong and assertive leader in charge of their pack!

We hope this article gave you insight into the mind of your small dog and some strategies for better understanding their behaviour. Still have questions about your pet’s quirks? Ask your veterinarian for advice. When it comes to unique behaviours, they’ve seen it all! 


Did You Know?

In addition to great coverage for traditional veterinary treatment, Pets Plus Us can also cover you for alternative and behavioural therapy? Veterinary consultations to diagnose and treat your pet’s abnormal behaviour, or behavioural problems due to an underlying medical condition, are all eligible expenses. When referred by your veterinarian, we’ll also pay the cost of treatment by a certified animal behavioural therapist. Get a Quote for your pet Today >>