Small Dog Syndrome: What You Need To Know!


Have you heard of small dog syndrome? If you have and your dog happens to have this, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article we’ll look at what small dog syndrome is, the signs of small dog syndrome, why small dogs have it, and if you can fix it or not. So, without more to say, let’s begin.

What Is Small Dog Syndrome?

A Chihuahua laying down on a couch

So, what is small dog syndrome anyway? Well, small dog syndrome is a common behavior issue typically seen in small dogs where the dog will act like the “leader of the pack.”

He will even act aggressively to intimidate people and other dogs. And what’s worse is that dogs who have this behavior issue typically won’t respond to commands, saying it thinks of itself as the pack leader.

Although it is funny to think of a tiny dog thinking of himself as the “leader of the pack,” this is a serious problem.

The Symptoms of Small Dog Syndrome

Although I did list a few earlier, there are more symptoms, and if your small dog happens to have many of them, he may have small dog syndrome. They include:

  • Growling at people or other dogs
  • Stubbornness
  • Lunging or snapping at people or other dogs as a threat
  • Avoidance and fear of larger dogs jumping and clawing on people.

If you’re not sure, consider contacting a professional on this matter and getting their opinion.

Why Does My Dog Have This Problem?

If you know your dog has this problem, you may be wondering why it has this problem. Well, there are a number of them, but they include improper training, and even simply carrying your dog too much.

You may think that a small dog doesn’t need a lot of training simply because he isn’t as large and intimidating as a German Shepherd, for example. You’d be sorely mistaken.

If your dog doesn’t know how to act properly, even if he is small, he can still develop serious behavior issues.

How To Prevent (And Fix) This Behavior.

Can you fix this behavior problem now? Fortunately, with persistence, you can.

There are a few things you can do, but first, you must admit that your dog was taught this way and that your actions influenced your dog the most.

Second, you will have to watch what you do. Here are a few tips that may help.

Establish Dominance

Now, I am not saying to ignore your dog’s needs. Instead, I am saying to simply ignore your dog whenever it is just trying to boss you around and get what it wants, like a treat, for instance.

When you do this, it will help your dog realize that it isn’t the leader of the pack, and it just can’t bark or growl at you to get something it wants.

Early Socialization and Puppy Training

To prevent such an issue, it is strongly recommended that you use early socialization and puppy training so that your dog is used to people so it has positive memories of you and other people when he gets older.

Try To Stop Carrying Your Dog As Much.

Simply try to stop carrying your dog as much. Unless it’s an emergency, whenever you feel the urge to carry your dog, resist it.

A Chihauahua being held by a woman

This should help your dog feel more brave and confident whenever he faces the unknown and, overall, should help with his behavior issues.

Give Your Dog A Lot Of Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a must. You need to let your dog know that he’s doing right and reward him for it. That way he will want to do it more.

This will most likely be the main thing that drives him to do better. Without positive reinforcement, he probably wouldn’t see why he would want to do better and would ultimately make fixing this behavior problem a lot harder.


So, you know what small dog syndrome is, if your dog has it, and what to do if he does. Now it’s time to fix the problem.

Remember that plenty of positive reinforcement will be very important and never give up! I wish you the best of luck!


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