My 2 year old Jack Russel/Springer cross is aggressive with other dogs

Posted by Karina-May
Aug 1, 2008
Bobby is a 2 year old Jack Russel/Springer Spaniel Cross. He is very bright energetic and playful and used to love playing with other dogs. He was well socialised as a puppy and was keen to make friends with all dogs, large and small. However, he has become very territorial if he has a ball or a stick and any other dog approaches. He does not only growl at them to scare them off, but pursues them snapping at their necks. He has never bitten any other dog, but has provoked retaliatory agression from otherwise gentle dogs that he has known for many months. Now he responds aggressively if any dogs playfully pounce on him, and I am never sure how he is going to react, and therefore am quite nervous myself about him meeting dogs. I can walk him on the leash, but feel that this is a shame when he is otherwise very obedient. I think this behaviour started after he was attacked in the park by a German Shepherd (over a ball) and had puncture wounds. He was 8 months old. However, the behaviour is defintely getting worse.

He is also quite territorial at home over his bed and over any food treats, but not over his toys.

I know he is bright and can learn, but would really welcome tips of how to get him over this fear and aggression.

Many thanks,

Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Aug 3, 2008
Hi Karina-May,

Bobby's problem sounds a lot like the problem we had with our dog, Noah. It has been a year since we started working on the problem and he has been doing great for the last few months.

I think Bobby has a resource guarding problem so the best way is not to create a resource for him, i.e, not giving him balls, etc. I know it is heartbreaking especially if he loves to fetch but that was exactly what I did for our Noah and it worked. Then, eventually you can give Bobby back his balls, as he becomes more confident and comfortable being with other dogs.

As ways to get Noah socialized with other dogs, we utilized doggie day care just for a few hours once in a while, off-leash parks when there are only a few well-behaving dogs such as early in the morning and of course no throwing balls for him, and fostering dogs at home. Noah has been great with our foster dogs and never had any fights with them.

Below is my posting and update if you are interested. It will take a lot of time and patience but I am sure Bobby will get over the problem if you keep working on it.

Good luck


As for Bobby's territorial issue over his bed and over any food treats, is it toward people or other dogs? I think it will be easier to fix this if it is towards to people. Start giving him access to his bed only he behaves. Same thing for treats. Don't let him think he gets what he wants all the time. For an example, tell him to move from his bed using a treat. When he gets off, praise and give him a treat. Then you say "Now go back to bed". When you give him a lawhide or bone, tell him to take nicely. You might want to teach him "Leave it" and "Take it" and "Drop it" by using treats. I always control my dogs when they have lawhides or bones by taking it away and giving it back. My 3 dogs even take turns every few minutes and wait nicely right next to other dog eats bone. It was not hard because I introduced them "Leave it" and "Drop it" and they know that they all get their turn if they behave.

Good luck!!