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Jon in Springfield, MO. - Jack Russell Agression Problem

by Jon
(Springfield, MO)

I'm not sure I have a question as much as I just want to show some gratitude for your post and the e/mails I receive with relevant questions and answers regarding Jack Russell's. I have two and they're certainly a lot of maintenance but I love it. Keep up the good work. You are appreciated.

I have do have problems when I walk my dogs. They are fine as long as we don't run into anyone else walking their dogs. They're under control and manageable until we meet another dog. Then they want to attack the other dog(s). It's really unpleasant to meet anyone else on a walk and I'm starting to get a bad reputation for my dogs in the neighborhood. The other day a neighbor let their Lab out without a leash and our male JRT bit on to his other lip and I could barely keep the female off the other dog too. It was an ordeal to get our male off the Lab who ran off wimpering. Suggestions?

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Feb 19, 2010
Tips for dealing with JRT aggression
by: Tom

Hi Jon,

Robbin's tips here are right on the money. Once aggressive tendencies develop, it can be very difficult to get rid of them altogether - you will save yourself some trouble by just avoiding possible trouble situations in the first place.

I'd also suggest you take treats or toys on walks, and whenever you anticipate a possible stand-off, quickly distract your dog's attention away to a game or a quick training session. As Robbin said, you need to change up your dog's focus and bring the attention back onto you - attention is the cornerstone of obedience.

The other big point I would raise here is neutering. If your dogs aren't neutered, I'd suggest you look into it. It can have health benefits for the dog in terms of reducing the risk of certain cancers, as well as reducing aggression problems in general. It can take a couple of months after the operation for the hormones to change enough to bring about a real difference in behavior, but it should help to curb aggression problems in the long run.

Hope this helps,
Tom McSherry

Feb 18, 2010
Aggression Problem
by: Robbin


As I live in a small resort town I can relate to VISITOR'S dogs who are unleashed and often come over and "molest" my Russells which are ALWAYS leashed. I have two suggestions depending on the situation. When I take my dogs for walks I take with me a short piece of PVC (plastic) pipe which I have put several pennies in and Duct tape over the ends. If you are walking your dogs on a leash and an unleashed dog approaches before my dogs have a chance to react to the approaching unleashed dog I throw my PVC pipe in their direction. The noise from the pennies generally is enough to make the approaching dog go away. After I throw my pipe in their direction I IMMEDIATELY take my dogs a short distance in the opposite direction. This is so I don't reinforce any aggressive tendencies in my dogs. I then go back and pick up my pipe for use another day.

My other suggestion is to be extra aware of your surroundings and if you see someone with an unleashed dog before your dog sees the other dog take your dog in the opposite direction and remove him from the situation. If the other dog is leashed watch your dog, and as the other dog comes closer get your dog's attention and ask her to perform tricks or to sit. Anything thing that he knows. Be sure to praise/treat him. By getting him to do these exercises you are forcing him to focus on you and not the other dog.

I suggest that you walk your dogs individually until you get the aggression under control. You don't want to have them redirect their aggression to each other because they cannot get to the other dog. On the lighter side, Jack Russell Terriers are a continual work in progress!

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