Many of us have heard of small dog syndrome, or the equivalent to the Napoleon complex in canines. Yet, for those of us with pets weighing in at over 60 pounds, there is a whole other reality: Large/Giant Dog Syndrome (GDS).
While many small dogs try to compensate for their size by “acting tough.” or posturing, some large dogs forget how big they are. This manifests itself in several ways:
The Lap Dog Effect
In my first post, I discussed how Arie, in all of her near triple digits glory, was trying to get into my lap during a particularly nasty storm. While I love this big girl and want to make her feel safe, having a dog her size in your lap is not just a little uncomfortable–It’s also an organ crushing, breath suppressing experience that you can’t endure for long. Big dogs can be a little challenging with other tasks as well. For instance, while training a puppy, you may have to deal with a little leash pulling. While training a large breed dog, that little tug on the leash can send you flying.
To make things more interesting, my lap is not the only place Arie tries to go that she is too big for. I lovingly call this interesting trait Arie’s Houdini Syndrome, as Houdini was always putting himself into places that he ought not to be and had to fight to get out of them. Arie regularly attempts to fit behind the sofa (where there isn’t enough space), under the bed (where there is b a r e l y enough space), and elsewhere, often times resulting in knocking over an object or several objects. This has earned her a particularly strong reputation for being clumsy, when the history behind her breed discusses how she is a generally graceful animal.
The Older Sibling Complex
In the final display of GDS in my GSD, I am reminded of my childhood. My sister is six years my senior, so, as you can imagine, I was the bane of her existence growing up, always one life stage behind, and a constant annoyance in her eyes. When we would get into one of our often tiffs, Kristen would occasionally end up hitting me or throwing something in my direction. Afterwards, I would always hear my mom telling her “Kristen, you don’t realize how strong you are. You can’t hit/throw stuff at/etc your sister; you could hurt her, and it’s not nice…” My big girl is a lot like my sister was in childhood, in that she doesn’t always realize her own strength. When playing with our other dog, or investigating our cats (she’s still not sure about these creatures, and smells them often, or just watches them inquisitively) she can sometimes go outside of the safety bounds, when, just like my mom, I swoop in and dissolve the situation.
How do you deal with GDS in your pet’s life? If you have a large breed dog, do you see these signs of GDS in them? Share your stories with me in a comment.