My Jack Russell is TOO Aggressive

Posted by Guapo
Dec 14, 2007
My 4 year old Jack Russell was quite a sweet little puppy. I had trained him to do all the basics, and he is a very quick learner. However, then I got married and he just has become SOOO Agggressive now. He always slept on my bed without too much fuss, now when he is on the bed, he snarls and growls if anyone tries to move him. The other day he snapped and managed to nick my wifes cheek, she was not happy at all. He has become aggressive with strangers and other dogs too. I wanted to get a female but Im not sure if he will accept her or not. I love him sooo much, I want to do whatever it takes to rectify this behavious....but I really dont know how. I know he can be taught to behave correctly but I dont know the techniques. Also, I fear that if I discipline him in front of my wife, he will equate her to being reprimanded anad hate her even more !! She loves him sooo much too. PLEASE HELP ME !!!!!!!!!
Posted by MartyEd
Dec 17, 2007
Hi there Guapo,

Thank you for your email regarding your 4 year old Jack Russel and his recent increase in aggressive behaviors towards both pets and people. Dog's acting in this manner can quickly become very dangerous, which is why it is so important to act now to change his current behavior. The primary problem here sounds as though yoru Jack Russell thinks he is alpha over at least your wife if not over both of you. First of all, I would encourage you, and any other family members, to read the bonus book "Secrets to becoming the Alpha Dog". This book will give you a good understanding of the hierarchical nature and behavior of your dog. Follow the tips in this book as much as possible and you should get good results within a couple of weeks.

If you treat your dog as an equal it may well see it as an opportunity to challenge your position. For example, be aware that allowing your dog onto the couch, bed, etc will give it the leeway that it needs to be able to challenge your position as the alpha dog in the relationship. This behavior change may occur quite gradually, without you even noticing it, until your dog starts showing aggressive tendencies when you try to move it!

You should reprimand your dog for unacceptable behavior, no matter what that behavior is. If you do not reprimand your dog’s poor behavior then it will feel that it has the right to behave that way and it will take much longer to correct the behavior.
What I recommend you do, is the next time your dog acts poorly and exhibits dominant tendencies (growling or nipping), be sure to reprimand him. DO NOT yell, as this has no effect on the dominant dog. Growl instead, use a guttural growl like " AAHHH!" instead of "No!", as this makes a sharper sound then "No" (If done correctly it may hurt your throat a little).

The following are some techniques to help reinforce your status as alpha dog

- If you come across your dog while he is sleeping or lying on the floor then you can reinforce your position as alpha dog by making him move so that you can pass by.
- Generally I do not recommend people give their dogs bones as this encourages the aggression, because in the wild the alpha dog would be the only one to have the privilege of chewing the bones. The reason your dog growls at you when you approach it with a bone is because it believes that it has the right to the bone and is trying to discipline you for challenging your dog for its dominant role.
- Make sure that you always go through doorways first. A good method to reinforce your position as alpha dog is to walk your dog around the house on the leash, making your dog wait while you walk through doorways first. At mealtimes make sure that your dog or dogs eat after all of the humans have.
- Do not feed your dog tidbits or let it pester you at the table. Save the morsels and tidbits for training sessions instead.
- Do not greet your dog straightaway when you arrive home. Make it wait until you are ready and then call it to you.
- When your dog wants to go outside for a walk, make her sit and wait until you are ready to go. Note that this technique doesn't apply when house breaking.
- When you give a command make sure that you are in a position to enforce the action that you require from your dog, especially in the initial stages of Alpha Dog training. Also, use the Alarm-No-Command technique as described in the Alpha Dog bonus book to reprimand your dog if it does not obey your command.
- It is vitally important that your dog has good all-round obedience skills. Regular training sessions are key to improving your dog's obedience responses and keeping it used to answering your commands. Concentrate on the sit and stay, down and stay, heel and wait commands.
- Do not inadvertently reinforce poor behavior from your dog. You must be consistent in your attitude to your dog. For example, if your dog is allowed to jump on you when you are playing with it but is not allowed to jump up at any other time then how is it meant to know the difference?

I believe this is the root of your problem. I hope you make significant progress with your puppy’s behavioral problems using these methods. Be sure to make him wear a muzzle if you think he would ever bite or nip a person or pet whether this be on your property or whilst out for a walk. There are a plenty of correct sized and good wearing muzzles available either from you local pet store or Veterinarian. You should also be sure to reprimand him whenever he shows aggressive behavior towards anyone!! This should be done using the methods outlined above, or by using a technique that best grabs your young dogs attention.

With time and reinforcing yourself and your wife as alpha over him and changing a few things in your lifestyle, will ensure that you have complete control over your Jack Russel. Best of luck and please let us know how you get on with his training.

Kind Regards,

Mark Edwards
SitStayFetch Team
Posted by Steph-ampWyatt
Jan 26, 2008
that's great advice he gave you and it works! I have a 4 yr old German Shephard named Wyatt who was spoiled rotten, he started getting aggressive with my husband to the point that he growled, snarled and snapped him,I was wit's end and needless to say my husband was not a happy camper! l used the tehnique's I learned from the book's and video's and what a difference! Wyatt is now a different dog! try it! it really does work and the dog is happier in the long run.