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Does my dog have 'small dog syndrome'?!?!

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Ruby

1204587
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 4, '11 2:25am PST 
My 6 year old JR gets on so well with other dogs ... her own size! She loves to meet and play with them.

Any dog that is slightly larger than her tho turns her into a completely different dog!! Slightly bigger and she's abit more wary - sometimes showing her teetch or snapping at (but not making contact with) their noses.

Dogs that are quite abit bigger she charges up to them barking her loudest (but never getting less than two metres away) then hot tails it back to me. She might even go back for another go. This is regardless of whether or not they're on the leash. If they are on it she's even braver and gives them the run around.

How do we get her to realise that size doesnt matter?!
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Member Since
07/14/2011
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 4, '11 4:59am PST 
According to your other thread, she gets much closer than 2 meters to other dogs, and since at least one of those other dogs has lost his temper a bit and bitten her, you really need to keep Ruby on a leash, and separated from all large dogs right now. Even if she never actually got close to another large dog (and in your other thread you said she bit a large dog) since she is small and they are large, it could be fatal for her if they get annoyed, and you wouldn't be able to blame them that much if they bit her after being bit themselves.

With that said, you can start working with her using BAT, or Look At That. Hopefully somebody can post links explaining those training methods.

Good luck!
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Ruby

1204587
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 4, '11 7:28am PST 
Its so frustrating, out in the fields or down country lanes she is much more relaxed and gives them much more space. The problem we had at the BBQ was such a shock because she really intruded the other dogs personal space. Out in the open where she has the space to run around and give them space she seems much more relaxed and although she runs at them barking she doesnt get very close - probably to give heself a head start if she has to run for cover!

I will look up your training advice though thank you. Im assuming it's normal for her to be much less at ease around other dogs when she's on her leash?? She's definately more defensive and uneasy around larger dogs when she's on it
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Addy, CGC

Let's go for a- walk!
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 4, '11 7:41am PST 
Your dog does not have a strange pathology called "small dog syndrome." She has a lack of socialization with bigger dogs, and--whoever told you size doesn't matter?--she's afraid of them because she doesn't know what to do or what they will do. She's making a big noise and showing aggressive behavior to make herself seem to dangerous to attack.

Yes, it's normal for her to be more nervous of Scary Big Dogs when she's on leash, and bolder when the other dog is on leash.

For her own safety and for yours, as well as just plain courtesy to other people and dogs, you need to keep her on leash around bigger dogs. You also need someone who can work with you on getting her socialized with bigger dogs.

Remember that the goal isn't to get her friendly with big dogs; at five or six years old, she might or might not have that much adjustment in her. What you need is for her to be calm and non-aggressive around them. One thing you should do is figure out how close she can get to a bigger dog before she starts getting agitated. Then,when you're just outside that limit and she's still calm, give her really yummy treats--whatever her favorite thing is, and she only gets it when big dogs are within sight.

When she's convinced that the sight of a big dog in the distance is a Good Thing signaling Wonderful Treats, move a little bit closer. Go slowly, don't try to rush it, and go back a stage if you find you've moved closer than she can handle. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

This won't work quickly, but it will work. It will take months to get her really calm, really close to big dogs. But every bit of progress you make will make your life and hers that much easier and more pleasant.

Good luck, and hang in there!
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Ruby

1204587
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 4, '11 7:52am PST 
Thank you for this ... it definately sounds like something we can do.

As daft as it sounds ... when a big dog is off the lead and comes racing up to us, two things flash through my mind "Shall I pick her up" and "shall I let her off her leash so she can run if she feels she needs to" Im guessing that neither of these will be very productive and thankfully I havn't done either yet!! I do feel that Im getting more and more anxious - could this be adding to the problem??
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Addy, CGC

Let's go for a- walk!
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 4, '11 10:27am PST 
YES, if you are getting more anxious, that WILL affect her. What you feel travels down the leash. You need to work on that, as hard as it is.

I know, it's easy for someone to tell you to "be calm, be confident," and much harder to do when you have a reason to worry about your dog's behavior. I had to work through this with Addy, when she first came home with me. But it's important to do. This is one of the reasons it's good to work with a good, positive-reinforcement trainer. I will add that, before you commit to classes or sessions with any trainer, you should watch them teach one or two classes, so that you really know how they work and can be sure you're comfortable with it.

More important than any other considerations of training style, you have to be comfortable with how your trainer works, and the tools they want you to use. If something feels "not right" for you or for your dog, don't do it.

Picking her up is a bad idea UNLESS either she or the other dog is truly about to attack--then you have a management issue, not a training issue.

If you are in a safe space to do so, dropping the leash can actually be a good idea, if you are confident that she will move away if stressed rather than attack. Obviously, you have to be in a contained area, where she can't get lost or go into the street and get hit by a car. Dogs know when they're on leash, and when the other dog is on leash; they know who has freedom of action and who doesn't. It can make a real difference in how comfortable they are.
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Ruby

1204587
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 4, '11 12:06pm PST 
Finally heard back from her previous owner ... apparently she was attacked by a big black dog and although she managed to escape it still chased her for quite some time. The poor little mite.

It's obviously going to take some time - thank you so much for your advice, at least we now know where to start
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Torie

If you can roll- in the dirt, do- it!
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 4, '11 12:43pm PST 
I think "small dog syndrome" refers to a dog who is over pampered (carried around, not treated like a dog) and so becomes aggressive to people. Esp. who aren't loving them.

I think in your case its just your dog isn't properly socialized to other dogs. Though I think that so-called "small dog syndrome" is nothing except about socialization.

--des
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Foxxy

Pocket Wolf
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 4, '11 8:14pm PST 
"small dog syndrome" is not just about pampering. Think about the behaviors you permit a small dog to do that would be dangerous, gross or scary in a big dog:

jumping up on guests
getting on the couch
eliminating in the house
pulling on the lead
barking at things on lead
hunting on lead
yapping
nipping
biting ankles
snapping at food
food aggression
toy aggression and hoarding
dog-dog aggression
dog-cat aggression
dog-child aggression
inappropriate mounting behavior
alarm barking

Sadly, people let small dogs get away with these behaviors because many think they are "cute" Unfortunately, these things lead to bad names for dogs, like Chihuahuas, who are known as yappy ankle biters, when really both of those are traits that can be mitigated through training. The way to avoid small dog syndrome is to be conscious of the things you let your small dog do. If you wouldn't let a great dane do it, you shouldn't let your chihuahua do it
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Torie

If you can roll- in the dirt, do- it!
 
 
Barked: Sun Sep 4, '11 8:33pm PST 
Yeah Foxy, I thought about this later. Almost 100% of them are training and socialization though. If you probably shouldn't allow something and do-- it's a problem of socialization or training.


And sometimes its the owner just being able to get away with these things. Think of the "pretend this dog is a service dog" thing. NO bigger dog gets away with going to the grocery store or whatever with the owner pretending (or sometimes not) that the dog is a service dog. (Big problem for SD owners btw.)


--des
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