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Old 30-10-2008, 06:08 PM
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Help please, dog has become aggressive

Hi,
I have a jack russell bitch, she will be 10 years old in December, I have had her since she was 7 months old.

She's usually a very friendly animal but creates a fuss when people leave / enter the house but never viscious.

I am due my first baby in December, not long started maternity leave. My dog is getting far more attention than usual because I am at home more to spend the time with her. This week she has become aggressive towards me. When I left the house to go to the shop on Tuesday night, she jumped up, bit my leg which thankfully she didn't draw blood on but left me bruised. She was defiant and would not do as she was told in terms of getting into the kitchen where she is left when we go out.

Then, this evening, my friends children who have spent the afternoon here came to leave with their parents and we had the same problem. This time she jumped up and bit my finger, luckily again, I pulled it away in time for her not to cause me any serious damage. She is currently locked in the back yard as punishment but I'll be letting her in after I have typed this simply because it is very cold and I feel cruel.

She suffers with collitis and has done for a few years now, is on a prescription diet from the vet and this week has had a rumbly tummy which I'm taking her to the vet for tomorrow. Also, the last couple of months she's started whining due to pain in her back legs that the vet said is king of arthritic. This is happening more frequently. Could this behaviour be her way of telling me she is in pain, or am I trying to make excuses for her naughty behaviour? Could it be she knows the baby is on its way and is warning me she's not happy?

By the way, just had a thought she has started barking persistantly when my partner shows me any affection just recently which may just be a coincidence but I wonder if that's anything to do with it too?

Please help! Any advise will be considered. Thanks in advance.
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Old 30-10-2008, 06:52 PM
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Re: Help please, dog has become aggressive

It could be that your added time and attention at home has given her a sense of being in control , something that before if you were busy she maybe was left to her own devices more . dogs pick up on changes before we realsie they have . you need to maybe not keep giving in to her demands for attention as your time once the baby is here will be far less directed towards her , she will need to realise that in the scheme of things she wont be mommy's baby anymore and that human requirements will come before hers . A dislike of people comming and going can be easy enough to solve , by paying no attention to her when people come to the house , your guests and you need to ignor her behaviour no matter how much she barks or jumps up, and only praise her when she has become calm . Even you coming back into a room if you have gone upstairs you must try to go about your day as best you can not giving her signals that your looking for her aproval on whats going on . When leaving the house or visitors leaving te same can be applied no one should look at her or talk to her , dont talk to her or give her a treat. leaving the house is a humans right and as dogs they should not need to be concerned by this , I bet this seems wierd but i bet you after a few days she will become more chilled out cos she wont see the need to get worked up about the comings and goings of the house if your not giving her signals such as conversation and eye contact when you come and go .
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Old 30-10-2008, 07:54 PM
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Re: Help please, dog has become aggressive

thank you very much for the advise we will start this immediately, and let you know how we get on in a few days!!
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Old 31-10-2008, 01:07 PM
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Re: Help please, dog has become aggressive

Congratulations on the baby!!

sudden aggresive bahviour is usually caused by pain or fear. As you have mentioned she has a few problems which would cause her pain. if she is in more pain then she will be more aggressive. Also when you are pregnant you smell differantly and release a lot of unusual chemcals into the air that you wouldnt usually. As shes getting older this will confuse your dog more particually because you are suddenly at home a lot.

So the dogs routine has changed and you smell differently then you ever have before and im guessing you look different, you've probably started buying baby things shes never seen before and to top it off shes in pain. at her age if this didnt upset her, i would be shocked, its a lot for her to handle.

Firstly im glad to hear you are taking her to the vets as this will at least be able to help with the pain. Secondly try to get her used to baby items and baby smells. Is she used to other children?? if you could borrow some dirty nappies and baby clothes from somewhere that would be great, let her sniff all the new baby things and if you have cots, prams and baby gates etc set them all up as they will be once the baby has arrived so she can get used to them before she has to deal with the baby as well. reward her with treats and cuddles for all good behaviour such as sniffing these objects so she doesnt become afraid of them.

by rewarding her she will associate these new items with good feelings. make her as comfortable and as happy as possible and she will accept these changes a lot better. by suddenly ignoring her now you could make her afraid and even resent these new items and changes which will only get worse once you come home with the baby. Having said this dont pay more attention to her then you usually would as this can cause her to form too much of a bond with you which could lead to seperation issues and problems with other members of the household. As you metioned her barking at your partner this could have already started to happen, its a common problem as its so easy to do. try not to give her more attention then you usually would.

Once the baby does come allow the dog to have a good sniff and let her in the room with the baby so she can get used to the smells and noises a lot sooner. however never leave them alone together.

if before this you could maybe record another baby crying and other noises and borrow the smelly items mentioned earlier the dog will be used to these things before the baby arrives. just make sure you take it at her pace so she doesnt become overwhelmed and affraid.

sorry its such a long post, hope it helps. good luck
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Old 31-10-2008, 01:59 PM
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Re: Help please, dog has become aggressive

juat read about your poor dog . this is through experience- When I was pregnant , my mum's cocker spaniel was getting very possessive and he knew very well that there was going to be a new mamber in the family. he would demand walks and always wanted to play knowing that it was not his time. I would just let him wait for his time. but after the baby came he would make rounds into the baby's room and check her out. in case she cried or wanted to feed, my Junior the spaniel would come barking to me to get to the baby . he was most affectionate towards the baby and thought the baby belonged to him. It was a lovely bond , but initially i was very worried about Junior as he had got very possessive and was very demanding. You do need to take him to the vets and check him out for other health problems. I do hope he gets better. .
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Old 31-10-2008, 04:22 PM
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Re: Help please, dog has become aggressive

Dear yummymummy.Sounds like everyone has covered all bases.I have owned a fair few jacks and know their temprement.My bitches are very tuned into the maternal side and any change and because of their strong nature they have to learn what I say goes,and that may take some time for you to help them readjust.Everyones advice has been great and definately put it all into practise.I am however,interested in the health aspect.You mentioned a check up so I would be very interested in the vets opinion.It may very well be a health issue and thank god you are addressing the aggression before you have the baby.Good luck and please keep me posted
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Old 09-11-2008, 10:54 AM
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Re: Help please, dog has become aggressive

Hi Everyone,

Thank you all for your responses. Unfortunately I didn't become alerted to this by email so have only just realised now, so apologies for the late response.

We started the training with her immediately which although she is still barking as we leave the house, this is improving somewhat so we're going to keep that up.

Also, when I took her to the vets they could feel some clicking in her hips, which obviously needs attention but due to her colitis issue, they were reluctant to start her on regular anti inflammatory medicine as this could set off bad bouts of that problem and cause her to be unwell and in a lot of pain too. Her anal gland was rather full so was emptied at the time and the vet suspected that due to it being near the hip area this could have been contributing to some pain.

Anyway, we got her home and she has been quite playful and back to her old self the last few days! I have bought some joint care treats and am analysing the nutrition values of these as I don't want the fats / meaty aspect of them setting her colitis off so will be buying glucosamine and green lipped mussell powder so she's getting the benefit of these but not aggravated bowels from the rest of the ingredients in them. The only problem is establishing the correct dosage, which today from researching think irt should be 125mg a day each for a small dog (if anyone can advise on this part it would be much appreciated!!).

I'll soldier on with this because I have had my dog since she was 7 months old. I rescued her from a man that was treating her very poorly, and have always had a good bond with her. She will be ten on Christmas day and despite her being aggressive recently, she was very accepting of my partner when we got together 2 years ago and I hope she will also be the same with the baby - she is generally good with kids as I have always had friends children coming to stay over and can be quite protective. I just have to make sure the aggression is only due to pain and make sure the baby doesn't mawl her so as to cause her pain and encourage her to snap (just have to have eyes in the back of my head and be on guard at all times).

I have also come to the conclusion that she is fully aware of the baby inside me. I am due in 3 weeks and she still barks when my partner comes near me to give me a hug, although she isn't actually aggressive towards him.

Thanks again everyone for your replies and help!
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