Aggressive Jack Russell Behavior
by Sue Visconti
(Syracuse, New York)
Reader Question: Is My Jack Being Too Aggressive?
I have a 5 month old neutered Jack Mix male, Ringo, who runs and hides when I ask him if he wants to go for a walk. He will run outside away from me or just hide somewhere in the house. He seems to be fine once I get him going on the leash. He does growl and bite at my 1 yr. old Jack Mix female, Chloe, and I end up interrupting their behavior because I think they are getting to aggressive. Do you think it is just his temperament? Veterinarian's Describes Appropriate Canine Behavior
No, I don’t think the behavior you describe in your Jack mix is just his temperament. It sounds like he is fearful about something that typically happens around the time that you prepare to go for a walk. Is this when you see the aggression between your two dogs and intervene? If so, it is very likely that he associates the whole getting ready to go for a walk scenario with negative consequences – either his interactions with your other dog or your response to them.
Having a veterinary behaviorist or reputable trainer come to your home to witness the behavior and provide some insight is probably the quickest way to resolve the issue and make sure that it doesn't escalate into something even more dangerous. In the meantime, figure out a way to avoid the conflict. For example, if you live with another person, take the two dogs out individually. Also, don’t lead up to putting Ringo’s leash on in anyway (i.e., don’t ask him if he wants to go out) just quietly walk up to him, put it on, and walk him out the door.
Jennifer Coates, DVM