Owner of Two

by Judi
(Oak Forest, IL)

We have two Jack Russells, one male 14 years old and now blind and the other female is 15 years old and very spry.

Lately the female healthy one, tends to get very aggressive with the blind male dog and sometimes it gets really tense. We are afraid something may happen when left on their own for any length of time. Any experience or solutions to this problem?

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Feb 19, 2013
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Two senior Jack Russells
by: Daniel

Fighting between the two dogs may be because of the inability of the other (blind) dog to respond with appropriate postures and signaling. This may lead to a change in their predictable relationship. I would first make sure the healthy dog, because she is getting up there in years, is truly healthy and is not be aggressive due to illness. Unfortunately many medical problems, especially those associated with aging, might not be able to be entirely resolved; in these cases, prevention rather than improvement might be all that can be expected. For example, dogs with medical conditions that lead to pain and irritability may become increasingly more aggressive when approached or handled. Dogs with cognitive dysfunction, sensory decline or disorders affecting mobility, might no longer be able to communicate effectively with other dogs both in the display of signals as well is in reading the signaling of others (through facial expressions, body postures and actions). While some dogs are quite tolerant and readily adapt to the changes many dogs become more anxious and unable to cope with the altered behavior of the other pet. My suggestion is to not let them alone together, unfortunately.

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