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Why is my big dog scared of small dogs?

Why is my big dog scared of small dogs?

Your big dog may or may not be afraid of small dogs. It could be that the big dog just does not want to deal with the small dog and walks away. The big dog will win the fight, but if the big dog does not feel threatened, and they are not fighting over food or territory, the big dog will not think it’s worth the effort.

There are lots of reasons a big dog will back down to a smaller dog. Some dogs are more aggressive than others. If your dog is not of that temperament, he may prefer to get away from small aggressive dogs.

Why is my big dog scared of small dogs?

The big dog will not likely see the small dog as a real threat, so he won’t feel the need to defend himself. If the big dog isn’t the aggressive type, he could be scared of a small dog acting aggressive. He will not know what to expect of the small dog that is acting aggressively, so he may just want to get away from the strange little creature that is acting crazy,

This can result in the small dog actually bullying the big dog. Some small dogs have small dog syndrome and feel they have something to prove. A small dog could also be asking for some space and the big dog might be given space and that could appear to be fear.

Usually, if a dog is really scared, he will assume a defensive position and even get aggressive himself if he feels threatened enough. A big dog walking away, or even running away, from a small dog is not likely to be done out of fear. The small dog is just an irritation, not a threat, and the big dog just wants to get away from the irritating small dog.

Smaller dogs may be acting out of fear of the big dog. The little dog may also be acting normally. People let small dogs get away with more. An owner would apologize and correct an 80-pound dog if he tried to jump on another person. When a 10-pound toy breed does the same, we laugh it off. The small dog may then feel just as free to jump on a big dog. This could scare a big dog that is not naturally aggressive.

Why is my big dog scared of my puppy?

The older, bigger dog, may consider the puppy an intruder into his space. A lot depends on the breed and gender of the dogs. The big dog may see the puppy getting a lot of attention and could feel some jealousy.

Puppies are also full of energy and curiosity. This is likely to be irritating to the older dog. The older dog may snap at the younger one to establish some boundaries, and that is basically a good healthy thing. The older dog may tolerate a lot because he knows the puppy is young, but eventually, the older dog will have had enough and will react.

Here are some signs that a bigger dog may be fearful of a puppy.

  • Hiding, or trying to stay out of the puppy’s sight
  • Backing away if the pup moves toward him.
  • The bigger dog appears agitated
  • The bigger dog won’t’ relax or sleep
  • Not eating
  • More vocal than normal
  • The dog shows no interest in the puppy

The big dog could also be fearful because he isn’t familiar with the new creature and is not sure how to act. He may not know what you, his owner, want him to do.  The easiest course of action in this situation is to back away. 

A puppy is very different than a small adult dog to a larger dog. To some extent, the larger dog understands a puppy has not learned his manners yet, so it may be more tolerant of their behavior.

The answer is to let them get to know each other gradually and learn more about each other. The larger dog will be more accepting of the puppy once he feels secure and feels the small dog is not a threat in any way. 

Can big dogs get along with small dogs?

Yes, they can get along fine, but they may need some help. A lot depends on the temperament of the individual dogs, their breed, and their gender. 

You can introduce them to the smaller dog gradually. Just for a few minutes at first, and gradually make the time they have together longer. Let the older, more established dog get used to the new one being around. This also allows the small dog to get acclimated.

Some breeds are naturally more friendly than others. A Labrador retriever will get along with almost any other breed of dog, for example.

If your big dog is the friendly type, it will not take long for them to get along well. There may be some boundary-setting at first, and the older dog may snip at the younger one from time to time for this reason. It can be hard to tell the difference at times, between just healthy boundaries and aggressive behavior. The more you know your dogs, the better you will be able to make that determination.

The important thing is to get the big dog to see the new one, or the little one is not a threat to his position in the house. They may or may not become really good friends, but with some training, they can learn to tolerate each other and live in peace.

Often, when two or more dogs live together, one will emerge as the dominant dog or the leader of the dogs inside the overall pack that is your home. This is something that may happen naturally and it is not much you can do about it. It is not always the biggest dog that becomes the leader of the small pack of dogs. A lot of that is based on the breed and personality of the dogs involved.

Dogs also have relationships just like people do. There are some people you like better than other people, and that is normal. The same is likely true for your dog. The size of the dog may not really have that much to do with it after they get to know each other.

As the owner, you can let them get to know each other gradually. You can also help both dogs feel secure and appreciated. 

The size of the dogs is not as important as them having compatible personalities.  If your dog is quiet and enjoys a more relaxed lifestyle, get another dog with that same personality. Dogs have to learn to get along with each other. It is easier if they have the same temperament. The level of socialization can also play a big role.  A dog that is used to being around dogs will more easily adapt to a new dog, than one who is not used to being around dogs.

How do I get my big dog to like my small dog?

The biggest thing is to get the big dog to see that the small dog, or puppy, is not a threat. You can do this by letting them be together for a few minutes at a time at first. Gradually expand the time

You can play with both dogs at the same time, and that may help the big dog become a little more accepting of the new dog. Let them play together, but avoid anything that could become a rivalry or competition. Having them both chew on the same rope could foster a more competitive atmosphere than is healthy.

If the older dog is aggressive and an alpha-type dog, you will need to supervise them more closely. Especially at first, don’t let them be alone together. Don’t have them eating from the same bowl, so you won’t have any fights over food.

Dogs like routine, and when you introduce a new dog, that disrupts the routine of the first dog in a dramatic way. There is so much for them to adjust to. Try to make the adjustment gradual and comfortable for both dogs. Don’t just throw them together and hope for the best. You may have to do some training.

Positive reinforcement also works well on dogs, and it can work in getting them to get along better. Walk both dogs, preferably with two people. Let them walk along together and sniff each other as they like. Praise them a lot for getting along. You should have both dogs on a leash just in case things get out of control. If one dog starts being aggressive, correct the dog and separate them.

If you see one of the dogs getting defensive, watch his body posture for signals, you will need to separate the dogs. Start over with positive reinforcement and try to bring the dogs together peacefully. Let the dog see that aggressive behavior gets them separated and does not get them praise. Let them see then that acting friendly results in positive things happening.

If possible, try introducing them at a neutral location, so neither dog feels he has to protect his territory. That may help them develop the beginning of a relationship before they start living in the same house.

Why are small dogs often more aggressive than big dogs?

Most of the time, small dogs act out of fear when they are aggressive. They are small, and the world of humans and big dogs may be terrifying to them. Everything is so much bigger, and it could squash them, so they are afraid. Dogs react to fear by being aggressive, by fighting, or by showing they will fight.

The big dog knows he has nothing to fear and is calm in his environment until there is an actual threat. The big dog is secure in his position as the established dog in the house. There really is no reason for the big dog to act out.

The small dog has none of those luxuries. He may be asking for space, feeling the big dog is violating personal space. The big dog will probably concede space and that could look like fear.

The small dog may feel he has to be aggressive to get attention, or not be run over by all those big people and big dogs.

Some small dogs are just yappers. They bark because they are barking, or for no reason at all. This can sound aggressive but they are just being vocal, as is their nature.

Dogs are normally aggressive out of fear or the perception of a threat. A dog that is content and relaxed will not be aggressive. There is something that is pushing the dog to act in an aggressive manner.