Small dogs are notorious for barking excessively, often at the slightest of things. It is one of the most common complaints that small dog owners have. In this article, we will explore the various reasons why small dogs bark so much and what you can do to control and manage it.
Why are small dogs so yappy?
Small dogs, typically being shorter than 18 inches and weighing less than 22 pounds, tend to bark more than larger breeds. One of the most obvious reasons is that barking makes them feel bigger and more imposing than they actually are.
However, it’s not that simple. Many small dogs continue to bark excessively even when they get all the attention they crave. Some of the reasons for this behavior are as follows:
Small dog syndrome
Small dogs are often pampered and have everything taken care of for them. This behavior has been termed “small dog syndrome.” They may act aggressively towards bigger dogs or innocent passersby, and their owners may not do much about it, shrugging it off as a cute quirk of small dogs.
Aggressive behavior stemming from fear and insecurity
Small dogs can suffer from fear and insecurity, which can make them behave aggressively. This behavior can be due to a host of reasons, including lack of socialization, traumatic past experiences, or insufficient training.
Lack of proper training
Most people don’t feel like they should train smaller dogs. However, small dogs need to be trained just as much as their larger counterparts. Proper training can help them understand what’s expected of them and control their excessive barking.
Poor handling and discipline
Small dogs require the same level of discipline and handling as larger dogs. But, many owners treat them almost like theyâ€™re cats or cuddly babies. When they ignore rules, discipline, and reinforce bad behavior, it can lead to excessive barking in small dogs.
What can you do to control excessive barking?
1. Train your dog
The first step in controlling excessive barking is proper training. Make sure the training is positive and supportive, and it should work equally well on dogs of all sizes. Encourage your dog to be more attentive and follow your commands by being consistent and firm with him.
2. Reinforce rules and discipline
It’s essential to reinforce rules and discipline in your small dog. Don’t let him get away with anything that would be unacceptable for a larger dog. This means no jumping on the couch, getting on your bed, or barking incessantly for attention. Consistency is the key to train your dog to stop barking excessively.
3. Provide mental stimulation
Some small dogs bark out of boredom or anxiety. Provide toys that can keep them mentally stimulated and busy when you are away. Puzzle-like snack dispensers or toys that challenge them can help reduce excessive barking.
4. Exercise and playtime
Regular exercise and outdoor playtime can help reduce your small dog’s stress and anxiety, which can, in turn, reduce excessive barking. Take them for daily walks, and play fetch with them to get them running around and getting rid of pent-up energy.
5. Reinstate yourself as the leader
Be gentle but assertive in re-establishing yourself as the leader of your household. Don’t let your small dog think that he’s in charge. When you come home, don’t rush to pet him, get dinner ready, or pick him up. Make sure your dog knows who’s boss so that he can feel secure and be well-behaved.
In conclusion, small dogs tend to bark more than their larger counterparts, but excessive barking can stem from various reasons. As a responsible dog owner, it’s up to you to train and manage your dog’s excessive barking and other issues. With proper training, reinforcement of rules, and discipline, you can help your small dog become well-behaved, calm, and happy.
Q: Is it possible to stop a small dog from barking?
A: Yes, with patience and consistency, it is possible to train a small dog to control their barking.
Q: How much time does it take to train a small dog to stop barking?
A: The time it takes to train a small dog to stop barking varies with each dog. Patience and consistency are key, and it may take weeks to months to see significant changes.
Q: What training techniques are recommended for small dogs?
A: Positive reinforcement techniques such as reward-based training, clicker training, and desensitization and counterconditioning are recommended for small dogs.
Q: Will bark collars help control small dog barking?
A: Bark collars may stop small dog barking temporarily, but they do not address the underlying cause of the barking and can have negative effects on the dog’s behavior and mental health.
Q: Can I hire a professional dog trainer to train my small dog?
A: Yes, hiring a professional dog trainer who specializes in small dogs can be helpful in training your dog to control their barking.
Q: What should I do if my small dog’s barking is caused by anxiety or fear?
A: Consult with a veterinarian or certified animal behaviorist to address the underlying cause of the anxiety or fear and create an individualized training plan for your dog.
Q: Can I train an older small dog to stop barking?
A: Yes, older dogs can be trained to control their barking. The training process may take longer than with a younger dog, but patience and consistency can still be effective.
Q: What should I do if my small dog’s barking is still not controlled even after training?
A: Consult with a veterinarian or certified animal behaviorist to address any underlying medical or behavioral issues that may be causing the excessive barking.