Little dog syndrome

by Andrea Elizabeth

Being small is the only clue that Merry may not be a pure bread Corgi. Otherwise she has the correct portions and features. So yesterday I did some research on Corgi sizes to try to convince myself. Turns out they can range from 15 to 30 pounds. Since her tail has been docked and she was previously spayed, I think maybe she is just a runt that was abandoned. I also came across an article on small dog syndrome that was very enlightening regarding both how we treat her, and the kennel incident yesterday when Pippin penned her to the ground when she tried to exit the door first. The article is about how we accept alpha dog behaviors in little dogs, such as jumping on your lap, growling, going through doors first, pulling at the leash, and even excessive eye contact, that we wouldn’t in a big dog. We are finding this to be true with cute little Merry’s behaviors vs. the stronger, pushier Pippin’s. But these are all ownership behaviors. The little dogs aren’t saying I love you when they demand attention, they are claiming territory.

Therefore, it is necessary to establish yourself and all the members of your family as alpha. This article explains how to claim the alpha position with your dogs. Dogs are very tuned into body language and tone of voice and will immediately understand alpha behaviors. Today we tried the make them sit first technique, as well as the make them be invited before they are pet or sit in a lap, and it is amazing how their posture has changed. They don’t necessarily want to be alpha as a lot of responsibility and decision making goes into it. It can make them insecure to be in that position. It is our job to be that for them just as it is for our children or others we are responsible for.

This brings up submission in general. Now that I’m aware what these behaviors mean for dogs, I think they can also be applied to humans. Attention seeking behavior, especially of the affectionate sort, can be a sign of claiming dominance?! I thought people who do this are seeking validation of their personhood and lovability, not ownership and control. Maybe that’s true. hmm.

One of the above articles also said that the alpha dog is petted and licked by the under dogs. Previously I considered that type of symbolic behavior in humans to be boot licking, and an abuse of power to accept it. Yet if we aren’t to accept it unless we invite our dogs to do it, neither should a boss or parent. I think this can be applied to excessive crying in infants, to an appropriate degree of course, or other attention starved behaviors in older people. We need to draw our strength from within, where Christ and the heavenly hosts dwell, and not constantly expect alpha people to give it to us. This is not to say we shouldn’t be submissive to them though. I think the healthy under dog stays calm, focused, and obediently minds his own business.

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