Small Dog Syndrome: The Why, What, and How - Wagr Petcare

    Small Dog Syndrome: The Why, What, and How

    Bringing home an adorably tiny dog as your pet is a dream many people have, and for good reasons. Smaller dogs breeds are more apartment-friendly and are known to be easier to handle and care for.

    As a pet parent to a small dog breed, have you noticed certain behavioral problems in your little furball that they can’t seem to outgrow? Perhaps these problems are an outcome of Small Dog Syndrome. Never heard of it before? Allow us to familiarize you with it in this post.

    small dog syndrome


    Small Dog Syndrome: is it a real thing?

    Many pet parents fail to take the symptoms of Small Dog Syndrome seriously, dismissing them as a mere attitude problem in their pet. This often leads your pet to develop severe behavioral problems for the rest of their lives.

    What is the Small Dog Syndrome? Simply put, it is a set of aggressive, unpleasant, and at times violent behavioral traits, more prevalent in the smaller breeds. Why do only small breeds display these traits?

    It is no secret that size plays a vital role in the game of dominance. And since dominance is the first law of the animal kingdom, it is easy for a smaller breed to feel threatened by other, larger breeds. As a result, while these little doggos cannot do anything about their size, they compensate for it by displaying aggressive or violent behavior.

    How are we, as pet parents, at fault here? By not taking serious note of such behaviors and implementing appropriate actions. Does your pet throw their weight around? Do they bark and be domineering around other animals? Are they prone to biting, barking incessantly, and other destructive behavior? Your dog could be suffering from this syndrome.

    Additionally, the lack of sufficient exercise and early socialization can also play a vital role in it.

    Does your dog have Small Dog Syndrome? Here’s how you can find out

    In order to prevent Small Dog Syndrome in your pet, you would need to understand if they really have it. But first, here’s a list of popular pet dog breeds prone to Small Dog Syndrome:


    Indian Spitz

    Bichon Frise



    Shih Tzu




    If your pet is not one of these, or any other similarly-sized breed, you’re safe from the threat of Small Dog Syndrome.

    If you have one of these breeds as your pet, here are some signs you can observe in them to confirm if they really have this syndrome:

    • Jumping up on you, other people, and/or animals

    • Growling and barking at other people

    • Occupying your place on couches, sofas, and beds (unwilling to move)

    • Reluctance or failure to obey your commands

    Dealing with Small Dog Syndrome: tips and tricks

    While Small Dog Syndrome can be a serious problem for both you and your pet, treating it is not as difficult as you’d think. In fact, if you can put in enough time and effort, it can be done right at home!

    Here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind while dealing with a pet suffering from Small Dog Syndrome:

    Does size play a role in your treatment of your pet? Stop that today!

    Treating others differently due to their size is a behavior that comes to us naturally. But if you want to help your pet, you’ll need to keep it in check. Don’t cut them slack just because they’re small and treat them as you would any other dog.

    Assert your authority over them

    Some pet parents treat their pets like their babies. And while it’s usually a good thing, in the case of Small Dog Syndrome, it only makes matters worse. You must understand that, unlike human babies, dogs respond to superiority more than they do to love.

    To do so, you’ll need to make rigid rules and set some boundaries at home, ensuring they’re followed by everyone in the family, including the dogs.

    Increase their playtime

    Inactivity can also make dogs irritable, causing them to act out and display signs of Small Dog Syndrome. If this seems like a possibility in the case of your pet, you can remedy that by taking them out for a longer time daily and engaging them in fun, stimulating activities at home.

    Get outside help when needed

    If you’re not able to help your dog get rid of these behavioral issues, getting outside help would be wise. You could enroll them in dog training classes or hire a certified trainer.

    Small Dog Syndrome, while it might sound like a huge crisis, is, in fact, very treatable when you arrive at the root of the problem. And it can be dealt with effectively at home too!

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