Jack Russell with Aggressive Behavior Toward Others
I've got a three-year-old Jack Russell cross we picked up from a pound that rescues dogs. Unfortunately, there is no history on him.
Every time my partner comes into physical contact with me, like for example when I'm sitting on the couch. Even when the dog is on my lap and my partner kisses me on the cheek the dog will start growling and looks like he might attack.
The dog even jumps up and down when I'm hugging my partner. I am also 8 months pregnant and I'm slightly worried what the dog might do if the baby starts crying in my arms when I'm sitting on the couch or of the baby is in its swing.
I need some advice so we can stop this behaviour.
Please can you help me??Suggestion from our Veterinarian on Aggressive Dog Behavior Toward Other Family Members
Some dogs that are very attached to a particular individual feel that it is theirresponsibility to protect them from all potential forms of danger, including the “danger” associated with another person getting very close. I think you are right to be concerned, particularly with a baby on the way. It would certainly be best to get the situation under control before the new arrival stirs things up even more.
You are going to need to desensitize your dog to other people coming in close contact with you. This is done by keeping your partner (or anyone else) at a distance where your dog can remain relaxed and rewarding him for good behavior. Gradually, your partner should move a little closer to you. As long as your dog remains calm, he is rewarded, at the first sign of agitation, the praise stops, your partner moves slightly away, and the dog is only praised once he calms down again.I wouldn’t be surprised if the process took many sessions before your dog could remain relaxed while your partner hugs you.
This type of behavioral modification is best done under the supervision of a veterinary behaviorist who can fine tune the protocol based on your dog’s situation and even prescribe anti-anxiety medications, if they are called for.
Best of luck,
Jennifer Coates, DVM