If you’re a Small Dog Owner or are thinking of adding one to the family, you’ve probably heard some of these Small Dog Myths:
I would never own a little dog.
Little dogs never stop yapping!
Small dogs are snappy and mean.
They’re not safe to have around kids.
They all suffer from Small Dog Syndrome!
Why is it that small dogs attract so much bad publicity? In this article, we’ll explore some of the small dog myths and truths that come with having a pint-sized pooch. Some will make you laugh. Some will make you cringe. All will make you happy to have that little pup in your life.
Small Dog Myths #1: they’re yappy
This is a really common thing that we hear about little dogs. But, the reality is it’s not all little dogs. There are some small breed dogs and some large breed dogs that bark more than others. In fact, some of the most vocal dogs are traditional large breed working dogs, like Huskies and Hounds. There are many breeds of small dogs that don’t make much noise at all, let alone yapping.
One of the reasons why we don’t see these large breed dogs as vocal is because there’s more pressure on Owners to correct the behaviour early on. You can imagine that if your neighbour’s German Shepherd was bellowing at you whenever you passed on the street, the Owner might be more inclined to stop that behaviour than they would with a little dog.
In other words, small dogs can be trained not to bark just like any other dog. With a few simple commands, you can have a polite little Chihuahua.
Small Dog Myths #2: they’re possessive
You probably have a mental image of the Jack Russell on the couch growling at anyone who dares to sit.
Alright, this is a myth that does have a shred of truth. However, it has nothing to do with the dog’s small size. Some small dogs develop what is called Small Dog Syndrome, or a tendency to rely on behaviours like aggression and possessiveness because they were never properly trained.
It’s helpful, here, to think about things from the perspective of a small dog. For them, it’s a big, scary world where all dogs are larger than you. What’s more, people are constantly lifting you off the ground. Even the cat is giving you an intimidating look like “I’m higher on the food chain than you, little buddy.”
It makes sense that small dogs would be a bit anxious about things like territory and ownership. That’s why it’s important to work on confidence-building exercise for small dogs while correcting any possessive behaviour.
One helpful way to train small dogs would be to start out with similarly sized dogs in a neutral space. This will allow you to pick out and praise the behaviours that you want to see (friendly playing) and correct the behaviours that stem from Small Dog Syndrome – lunging, biting, growling, not sharing toys, etc. Once they’ve passed the test in this setting, you can gradually introduce them to situations with larger (friendly!) dogs. This will let them slowly build their confidence.
You can learn more about Small Dog Syndrome here.
Small Dog Myths #3: They need to be treated like babies
There’s a tendency to believe that small dogs are weak and need to be carried and coddled like babies.
This one is purely fiction. The reality is that small dogs are just like every other dog. They want to put their nose to the ground, they want to frolic with their pack, they want to learn new tricks, they want to snuggle up at the end of a long doggie day.
The way that we humans see small dogs is a whole different thing. We want to pick them up, put them in cute little clothes, and get our faces right up in theirs so we can give them baby-talk.
The way that we treat small dogs doesn’t allow them to live out their best doggo dreams. In fact, we create quite a bit of insecurity and fear by constantly picking them up, and we’re not doing their physical health any favours by putting them in strollers.
It’s tempting to coddle a small dog, but it’s just not good for them. Treat them like any other member of the pack, and they’ll feel comfortable and confident in their space. Not only will this help with Small Dog Syndrome, but it will free them up for the kind of romping and rolling that they need to stay healthy. And, when they’re tired at the end of the day, then you can invite them to cuddle up and be the lap dog you love.
Definitely Not A Myth: Small dogs are awesome
We love our small dogs, and sometimes it can be exhausting to fight the stigma. But, the more Small Dog Owners put in the work to combat these myths, the more everyone will see that small dogs are just like any other: loyal, playful, funny little bundles of love.
Would you like a Pet Sitter who knows how brilliant small dogs are? Whether you live in Sydney, Melbourne, or anywhere in Australia, you’ll find countless local small dog lovers through Mad Paws. Book now!