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Small Dog Syndrome? I Don’t Think So

How many infuriating times do I have to hear someone knowingly say, “Aaah, small dog syndrome!” when they see a small dog barking?

No Such Thing!

The fact is, there’s no such thing as so-called 'small dog syndrome'.

Dogs don’t have ego-based neuroses like humans do. Certainly some people have a chip on their shoulder due to what they perceive as a physical defect, but dogs don’t. They simply aren't ego-driven beings like we are, and far exceed us in being at home in their own bodies.

Three-Legged Dogs

A case in point: the three-legged dog.

I've met several three-legged dogs in my time, and what I've notice is common to all of them is that they go about their lives as though they still have all four legs. They don’t develop an inferiority complex due to their missing leg. They just get on with life.

Same with small dogs. They’re small, and none of them are seeing a psychiatrist because of it. They just get on with life.

But Why?

"So then why," some people ask, "Do small dogs tend to bark at other dogs more than bigger dogs do - isn’t that proof of small dog syndrome?"

No, it’s not. Dogs of any size bark at other dogs for a variety of reasons. Often it's due to fear, and the dog is barking to try to protect something - either their home or themselves or even you.

"But why," the same people persist in asking, "Do some small dogs only bark at bigger dogs - surely that’s proof small dog syndrome…right?"

*sigh* Again, no, it’s not. The small dog in question may have been attacked by a bigger dog at some point, and is therefore scared of big dogs. Or the small dog might not be accustomed to larger dogs - maybe she didn’t get socialised with big dogs. Either way, it comes back to fear, and NOT to the fictitious 'small dog syndrome'.

Stop Thinking Like A Human

Humans tend to anthropomorphise dogs a great deal. In other words, because some of us feel insecure or even paranoid about various aspects our physicality, we assume dogs share our neuroses.

It's time we stop with this nonsensical thinking.

It's time we stop assuming that dog behaviour is a reflection of our own behaviour. Dogs are their own beings and have their own ways. Some of their ways are similar to ours and some aren’t, but it’s time to halt our egocentric way of looking at everything and try to understand dog behaviour from a dog’s point of view, not ours.

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Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance

It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.

Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.

Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.

Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.

Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.

If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.

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