An aggressive Jack Russell Terrier can make the ownership of this pet into a chore, so what can be done to redress the balance and stop this breed from being so aggressive at times?
The Causes of Aggression
Aggression in any dog breed is usually related to one simple factor – the desire to be the dominant force within the “pack”. In any domestic dog’s eyes, his pack includes all family members, as well as any other pets found in the household. In the wild, a dog would need to be aggressive and protect his dominant status from others in order to preserve his place as head of the group.
Although you might be thinking “my dog is not a wild animal”, you would be wrong in many senses. Although your dog is domesticated and has ancestors for many centuries who have also been pets, the natural instincts of your dog have not changed. They still want to boss everyone around them and establish themselves as the head of every group.
It must be noted that there are two forms of aggressive dogs – those that are aggressive towards other animals and those that are aggressive towards humans. While the first is tough to control, it is also not so serious. This is why this article focuses on the aggressive Jack Russell Terrier who poses a risk to human safety – a far more serious and important problem.
Signs that a Jack Russell is Pushing for Dominance
An aggressive JRT will show many signs when they are trying to either gain or retain the dominance that they want or already have. Perhaps the most obvious of these is growling and snapping when a human goes near to their possessions, most noticeably their food and their toys. Another sure sign of dominance problems is the Jack Russell Terrier always going through doors before you, instead of waiting and allowing you to enter first.
The final act that shows a dog is trying to gain dominance is that it will constantly harass and bully you for affection – even when you are interacting with others or are occupied in some other way. A dog that knew its place would never try to interrupt the “pack leader” – the position that you should be!
Resolving the Problem
There are a number of different ways to resolve the problem of an aggressive JRT, but they will all take time and commitment from the owner. The basic principles of controlling an aggressive Jack Russell Terrier revolve around the owner reinforcing the different advantages that he or she has, which are basically the physical advantages that a human has over a Jack Russell. This physical power should be used – in a humane way, of course – to make the aggressive Jack Russell do things, therefore loosening their grip on dominance.
Perhaps the best example of this working is when your Jack Russell Terrier growls at you when you go near to its food. In this situation, you should be dominant and use your voice to shout at the dog in a deep voice. Reinforce this by picking the dog up and placing it outside, away from its food. After this is done a few times, the aggressive Jack Russell Terrier will soon learn that you decide when it eats and how much.
As a quick warning, an aggressive Jack Russell Terrier is very
different to a Jack Russell Terrier that actually bites. A dog that even tries to bite a human being should immediately be seen as a danger and professional advice should be sought. There is no point in risking the safety of yourself or your children when there are professionals who know exactly how to cope in this situation.