when he is good he is good, but when he is bad he is bad!

Posted by kamide1
May 25, 2011
I have a 2 year old rat terrior dog that I rescued from the streets 3 months ago. I have been the alpha dog training with him. He knows I am the alpha dog. He most of the time is a very loving dog to everyone, but every once in a while he snapps. I have not figured out what triggers him. Outside our property including our vehicles he is not aggressive to anyone but in our home he is. He has bit my 2 year old grandson twice and growls whenever he comes around. I have tried putting a muzzle on him and putting him in his kennel. When he is in trouble he goes immediatley to his kennel. As soon as he growls, snapps or tries to attack someone he knows he is in trouble immediately. He can not be trusted in any situation. My grown son had been petting him, and he very much likes my son, but a little while after he was there my dog darts across the floor to attack him showing his teeth groing to bite. No one had been bothering him or anything it was a unprovoked attack. He was scolded immediatey and sent to his bed. He also once in awhile while setting with my husband and if I walk over there he growls and shows his teeth to me, I can tell in his eyes that he has turned. I proceed to go over to him and he jumps up on my chest and wants to be petted, but contiues to growl. I make him get down and go to his bed. The lasted thing was when he was in our truck and my mother walked over to the truck, the window was up but if not he would have bitten her. He confuses me 90% of the time he is great and a real easy dog to love but then he snapps for no apparent reason. I do not know his history, but he was running the street he would go up to anyone and roll over on his back and want attention and showed no aggression at all. He use to bark and try to attack anyone that came to our door, but now most of the time we have gotten him to greet people nicely. I just can't trust him.
Please help us identify what makes him snapp and how to change him so we can trust him with others.
Posted by KOPCaroline
May 28, 2011
Hey kamide1,

This is a bit tricky - but based on what I read, it kind of seems like your terrier is more apt to snap at people who approach him, especially if he's with another family member (including you).

Since you found him as a stray, its likely he's gone through a few rough times with people, so it might be a defense mechanism when people are approaching him, instead of the other way around. Its harder to pinpoint and train used-to-be stray dogs out of particular habits like this, because we dont know what triggers them to begin with.

For starters, tell guests at home not to approach him to give him attention, let him come to them. Only pet him a few times, then tell him to get off the couch or whatever, a simple "enough" should suffice in most situations. He should only get limited cuddles until you can trust that he wont snap. I know it seems rough, because you want to give him lots of love, but work on giving him lots of attention in short spurts, instead of extended pets. Alpha training him should also help with this, but make sure every family member does it with him.

When he does snap, on top of telling him to get off or no, put him in time out, alone in a room to be quiet. Let him out after 5-10 minutes. You can do this with his crate, but make sure to lock him in there for a few minutes, not just letting him sit in there. Put his crate in a room on its own, not in a room where people always are. Put him away as soon as the aggressive behaviour shows, and every time he does it.

I hope this at least starts you off, like I said, stray problems can be a bit tricky, other members might have more suggestions for you