Our Jack Russell Attacks Any Person or Pet When He Wakes Up In the Evening

by Melanie Blodgett

How do we handle a Jack Russell Terrier that attacks any person or pet when he wakes up in the evening? He literally looks for the closest thing to attack, whether it be a person or pet when he wakes up.

Suggestions from our Veterinarian

Hello Melanie,

Determining the best way to handle aggression in dogs is dependent upon accurately determining the reason why the dog is acting in the way that it does. Most often, some form of anxiety is the root cause. Could something in your dog’s environment be making him nervous in the evenings? If so, modifying his surroundings to help him remain calm could greatly improve the situation.

I strongly recommend that you make an appointment with a veterinary behaviorist. He or she can diagnose the causes behind your dog’s aggression, design an appropriate behavioral modification protocol, and even prescribe medications that can help him deal with his anxiety if that is indeed an underlying concern.

In the short term, you need to do whatever is necessary to keep you and your family members safe. Avoid the situations that seem to bring about the dog’s aggression and never punish behavior that might have its root in fear. This simply confirms the dog’s feeling that there is something to be scared of.

Good luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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