Aggression - Please Help

Posted by jbecke91
Aug 13, 2009
Hello my name is Jared - I am having some Aggression issues between my two Jacks that seems to be very complex and a bit tuff to explain so this could be a long thread but I appreciate any help or suggestions anyone who takes the time to read can give me . I have two Jack Russell's age 4 and 5 (Napoleon and Bodie). Nappy has been with me from a 10 week pup, but I've just recently rescued the Bodie. I have had him for about 4 months now. It was rough at fist as Nappy was not socialized as much as he should have been. They had issues with the food and toys. The toys are no longer an issue, but the food still can become one when Bodie tries to eat Nappy's food. Out side of the Food, they play and wrestle the majority of the time they are together in the house. The play can be a bit rough at times, but has never escaladed into a full blown fight. Usually it is Nappy whom becomes irritated with Bodie and ends the play session. But that only last a few mins. Recently I took both of the dogs on a 3 day backpacking trip. Both are good hikers, Nappy is good on leash and ok off. Bodie still needs leash and recall work which we are slowly working on. Once we got into camp I had them leashed on either sides of the tent while I was setting up. I put food and water down for them both with separate bowls apart form each other just like at home. Something happened, Bodie basically just looked in Nappy's direction and a fight in sued. After breaking it up, and removing food all was calm for a few, but quickly escalated again. All weekend while they were leashed close to one another one would look in the others direction, give a growl, and a fight would break out. Even if they were 10-20 yards apart, same thing. What puzzles me is that while on the trail, they can walk next to each other just fine. When it was time to sleep they can sleep in close quarters (in a two man tent) to one another with no fighting. Even when we got home, they immediately began playing and wrestling. But It was impossible to have them leashed next to each other while camping. Im really not sure whats going on. I have noticed that they both seem to compete for my attention. Pretty much the whole trip, when I would walk away to get water or food they would both bark non stop until I came back. Even when sitting close to them they both would bark until I knelt down next to them to comfort them. I am truly puzzled. I have a feeling most of this issue boils down to their standing in the pack, but I am not sure how to fix that.

Please Help

Posted by kjd
Aug 14, 2009
Hi, Jared.

I know you have a serious problem, but I had to laugh at your camping trip. I could see two young boys they get along fine until you want them to sit quietly. Then they start fighting, just to have something to do. Or breaking up in giggles over something you don't think is funny tell them to stop and Jimmy gets eye contact with Johnny and they are off again!

With two Jack Russells, very high energy dogs, I suspect what you are seeing is their trying to blow off their extra energy. When active, they are OK; when nothing is going on, they are at one another.

I know I haven't given you any help, but maybe you can better understand what is going on with them.

Good luck,
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Aug 14, 2009
Hi Jared,

I think it has something to do with being leashed.

When dogs are leashed or fenced they are physically unable to come close to each other and it builds up frustration and extra energy to each of the dogs. It is called "leash aggression" and "fence aggression". Once those dogs meet in an open area they are just fine but they can get aggressive to each other when they are forced to be apart.

On the other hand, I have found "walking dogs next to each other" is one of the most effective ways to make them good friends. They are sharing the same interest (going forward) and it helps them build a nice relationship. When I take a new foster dog, I always walk that dog next each of my dogs in turns to get used to all of my dogs.

You might just be a little too nerveous about their fighting, except for the food aggression issue, which needs to be addressed separately, I think.

Since you said they got over the toy aggerssion, I think you will be able to train them not to be protective about their food either. Once they learn how to share things and that they don't need to be protective to each other, it will give you a big ease of mind so I really encourage you to work on the issue.

Let me know how you teach them not to get protective about toys. Food is more valuable to most of dogs, and rawhides and bones are even more so. You really should be able to control your dogs behavior and have earned their trust in order to teach them share valuable things between them. Basic obedience training is essential too.

Good luck
Posted by Liz-amp-Koa
Aug 21, 2009
Hi, MaxHollyNoah,

You have a good point about walking next to a dog. My dog goes nuts when he sees another dog, but when I start walking with th owner he is better. The problem is when we are waiting on the sidewalk for them, as they get closer, he starts lunging, pulling and barking.

How do you think the best way would be to start off? Wait and don't move until he behaves?


Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Aug 22, 2009
Hi Liz & Koa,

>The problem is when we are waiting on the sidewalk for them, as they get closer, he starts lunging, pulling and barking.

This sounds as though your dog is so excited and anxious to greet the other dog. It doesn't sound like it's a sign of aggression.

I think you are right. Make sure your dog has got basic obedience training. When you and your dog see the other dog and his owner are walking towards you, make your dog sit and stay. If he does not sit and stay nicely, pull his leash to the opposite direction. After a few steps, turn around and try sit and stay again. If he doesn't listen to you, turn around and go back. Repeat this until your dog learns sit and wait nicely as the other dog approaches. You might want to warn the other owner this is what you are going to do otherwise the other owner might think you are going nuts

Good luck