Aggressive Dog Behavior

by Lori
(Cleveland, OH)

Reader Question: Aggressive Dog Behavior

My 13 week old Jack Russell often bites on things, especially our hands, she also will take something she is not allowed to have and will growl when we try to take it away from her. She has bitten me one time when I was taking something from her mouth when she was growling.

Most times when she has something she knows she can have it is not an issue, but when she has something she knows she isn't allowed to have she growls when we take try to take it away. Please help, my husband is ready to take her back to the pound.



Vet Suggestion for Aggressive Dog Behavior

Hello Lori,

Your Jack Russell’s behavior is a problem that needs to be addressed immediately. The longer it goes on, the harder it will be to stop. Your best option is to make an appointment with a veterinarian who specializes in behavioral issues. He or she can come up with a behavioral modification plan tailored to your dog’s specific situation and even prescribe medications that can make her more amenable to training.

In the meantime, do absolutely nothing that puts you at risk for a bite. Do not rough-house with her, play tug of war, etc. If she does put her teeth on you, even in play, shriek like an injured puppy and ignore her for a minute. Rather than trying to pull something out of her mouth, teach her the command “drop.” Do this by saying “drop” and then offering her a treat (she’ll have to drop the item to take the treat). As she learns the command, wait until she has dropped the item and lets you pick it up before you give her the treat.

Good luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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Mar 09, 2012
Help for a Biting puppy
by: Tracey

We have a 7 month old JRT, Ronnie, that tried some of these same behaviours. One of the first things I do with all of the dogs that come into my house is pull on their ears, legs, tails, back, whatever I can grab gently or pet while they are eating. I also take their food away at random times while they are eating. I do give it back, though. These dogs are so smart. They will try and get away with everything they can. I also teach the "leave it" command with food. I put a piece of food on the ground and Ronnie will eye it and try to get to it. As soon as she goes near it, I say "leave it." She learns to back away until I give the release command. Ronnie picked it up after two times. I can sit on my bed and eat my dinner and she can sit next to me and will leave the plate alone. She used to nip at my hands and I did the crying thing and then ignored her. It worked after a couple of times. Good luck with your puppy. Puppy classes are great too. I do clicker training.

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