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Dog behavior and size: It’s not about me, it’s about getting in my face!

April 26, 2009

Okay folks, enough of the “small dog syndrome” label, please. I know I’m short, but if I’m snarking at your dog, it’s not because I’m small, it’s because you’re pooch is getting up in my face! You don’t hear me asking Mastiff’s “Hey, how’s the weather up there?” Do you? 

Anthropomorphism: an ugly word when it comes to us pet dogs. Let me say it again, “pet dog”! I’m not a human. Yes, my mom the rockin’ dog trainer even knows that I am a dog, not a human. And yes, my dog trainer mom, is in fact a “dog mom” too. She coddles me like a baby, and gets all giggly with me, but she does know I’m a dog. 
Why do I bring all of this up? I’ll tell you. Mom and I were out loose leash walking with friends the other day. A new friend and her dog joined us. Well, this new dog, who shall remain nameless, got all up in my face…for a bit too long. I was nice, let it go for a few seconds, but he really pushed it. So, I did what any normal, well socialized dog would do, I snarked at him! “Dude! You’re hangin’ in my face wayyyy tooo long! Back off! Maybe where you come from this is okay, but in normal doggy greeting world, that’s totally inappropriate!” 
As soon as I sent him my “back off” signal, he did, which was totally cool. I communicated, he listened, all was right with the world. What irritates me was the humans response: “Gee, Poncho, what’s the big deal? Little dog syndrome, huh?” I think this is where mom rolled her eyes… 
Let me be clear: size doesn’t matter much when it comes to dogs communicating with one another. Whether it be a Great Dane or Teacup Chihuahua, if either gets in my face too long, I’m gonna snark. Just like dogs who snark at me if I myself don’t mind my good manners.
I understand that the whole “little man syndrome” is part of your silly, looking for an excuse, human world, reason for my dog behavior. But let me tell you, in dog world, it ain’t! I can almost bet my favorite bully stick that if some stranger got all up in your face you wouldn’t be real keen either. I wonder if you might even snark too! Hmm, something for this inquisitive canine to ponder. 

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