How do little dogs on verge of socialisation behave?

Little dogs and socialisationA lot of owners with 'little dogs'  fear that their dog will get squashed or eaten on a dog walk, and seemingly use this as an excuse to save time and energy in not walking their dogs.

This might seem like a legitimate fear, but if you assume that dogs in a dog park are social and people are inherently responsible, this fear is unfounded.

How do you make a little dog non social?

Same as for a big dog.  Don't expose them to social dogs between 3 and six months of age.

Then dont do regular walks off lead for life.

Simple but abusive formula.

The dogs I see that have anxiety issues invariably have not had ONE big bad incident, they just were not socialised when young, and are still not socialised now.

 What happens to little dogs when they are not socialised and their bad pack leader behaviour is ignored or reinforced at home?

They become the equivalent of a spoilt brat, always getting their way and throwing tantrums when not allowed to behave badly.  Because they are small they will often decide to go on the attack in any potentially confronting situation.

The owner will then pick them up, to reinforce their lead status, and they will go further unstable trying to protect the owner, while getting patted and further reinforcing their anti social behavior.

this is all fear driven and the owner is making the dog go unstable as it thinks it has to protect the owner (the weaker dog of the pack).

Telltale signs in the park that your little dog is unstable and anti social

This is what no owner wants to hear,  but if you understand the signs, understand what caused it, you can correct it at almost any age.

1          Firstly a little dog will not act natural and relaxed around even your social pack. They will be a furtive ball of energy never leaving their back to any dog, and 'freaking out' when a dog tries to greet them with a sniff.  They will just assume they are being attacked because that is what they would do if they got close to another dog.

2          Your non social little dog will not accept a dog training treat.  To do so in front of others  it thinks will potentially get it attacked, because that is what it would do.  If you feed all the other dogs, and then try and feed a small non social dog they might go into food guarding mode and try and attack another dog, or they will just let the tasty treat fall from their mouth.  This is 100% unnatural for any dog. Its rarely as many owners assess ' because my dog doesn't like that kind of treat'.  I know this because almost all anti social little dogs begin eating treats, after they have become social, because of repeated off lead dog walks.

3          Another obvious sign of a little dog yet to be fully social is how it acts around new dogs visiting the pack.  It might have accepted your main pack begrudgingly and learned that they are not a threat, but it will still think that all new dogs are a threat. Particularly other dogs that aren't quite social either.

It doesn't have the size or confidence to get rid of most dogs that visit, but because it has the backup of the other dogs in the pack, it will often think its ok to run directly at another dog, confrontational and aggressively, then within a metre brake hard and run back to base before trouble begins.

Most social dogs will see this as a bluff, but the risk is around non social dogs that might see this as a threat.  That is why allowing this kind of behaviour without 'cautioning' a little dog after doing the run is dangerous for its own future health.

Invariably in safe parks nothing happens of this brash behaviour, but not correcting it will leave a potential major issue to turn into a fight.

There are many other little 'tells' that occur when a dog isn't social, but the whole 'small dog syndrome' is code for a dog that is not confident and acting out for its own projection the only way it knows - be aggressive first.  Ideally these dogs learn there is nothing to fear and can become relaxed and just sniff and socialised like the rest of the dogs.

It takes time and continued effort in an off lead dog park, but the results are well worth it for the little dogs health, at home and in the park.


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