Welcome to PetForums

Join thousands of other pet owners and pet lovers on the UK's most popular and friendly pet community and discussion forum.

Sign Up

Why has my Jack Russel become aggressive?

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by Maddie Hill, Jun 8, 2019.


  1. Maddie Hill

    Maddie Hill PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2019
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    10
    I have an 8 year old Jack Russel.... I used to have a black Labrador and they were the best of friends, she sadly passed away this year and since then my JR has become very aggressive towards other dogs. In the parks she is fine approaching other dogs and if other dogs run to her she is fine, but as soon as I get close to the other dogs she starts growling, snapping, going in for the kill. I also have dogs from time to time staying at my home, she used to be absolutely fine and chilled and didn’t care, now she is so aggressive if any of the dogs come near her, or pay her any attention, especially if I am in the room, she will jump on my lap and snarl, growl and snap - she never actually makes contact with the other dogs so there are no injuries but she is definitely trying to intimidate them?! Does anyone know the reason? Is she just getting old and grumpy? Is she over protective? Is it something to do with my other dog passing? HELP?
     
  2. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2013
    Messages:
    8,706
    Likes Received:
    19,549
    First off I would get her checked at the vets to rule out anything medical. And then I would ask to be referred to a behaviourist. Without seeing what is happening it could be many things, so it's best to get qualified help when aggression is present.
     
  3. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2016
    Messages:
    7,414
    Likes Received:
    14,966
    There could be several reasons, possibly your other dog gave her confidence. Either way, two things come to mind. First a vet check to make sure it is a behavioural issue and not a medical one. Second, keep her well away from other dogs. She is giving a clear message she is unhappy with them close so give her space. You might need to be really firm with other owners but it's better you being firm than her having to escalate her behaviour to a bite.

    Edit to add - cross posted with @StormyThai
     
  4. Maddie Hill

    Maddie Hill PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2019
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    10
    Thank you!!
     
  5. Maddie Hill

    Maddie Hill PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2019
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    10
    Thanks!! Vet appointment booked!
     
    DaisyBluebell likes this.
  6. Jamesgoeswalkies

    Jamesgoeswalkies PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    May 8, 2014
    Messages:
    4,531
    Likes Received:
    10,445
    Agree with the above advice - a check with the Vet first but it may well be that you need a little professional help with the behaviour anyway. I suspect that it is to do with your other dog passing - maybe having a companion gave your jack Russel confidence and now he feels anxious. It does sound as if he is resource guarding you which is often a sign a dog is feeling insecure. As above really - stay away from other dogs and give your dog lots of space so he doesn't get stressed. For a while I would be finding quiet places to walk ....

    J
     
  7. Maddie Hill

    Maddie Hill PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2019
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    10
    Thank you! This is very helpful :)
     
    Jamesgoeswalkies likes this.
  8. Blitz

    Blitz PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2009
    Messages:
    16,629
    Likes Received:
    11,020
    It sounds to me as though your 2 dogs were great friends and he is not coping well without his friend. He has now got you in place of his dog friend and feels the need to make sure no other dogs get near you. Animals are much cleverer than we give them credit for. I recently had visitors and one of them had a dog with them, staying for a few nights. Candy is immensely territorial in a very quiet but intimidating to other dogs way. She can be asleep and giving off bad vibes! Anyway she decided the best way to deal with this interloper was to jump on the owner's lap, curl up in a tight ball and give off keep away vibes to the other dog. It worked till the other dog got fed up with it and flattened her. But through all this interaction there was not a single growl or snap. Your dog is obviously being much more overt about it but it sounds like a similar thing, you are now completely his territory.
     
    DaisyBluebell likes this.
  9. Mum2Heidi

    Mum2Heidi PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    11,635
    Likes Received:
    1,854
    Agree with the above advice totally.
    I have a JR x Westie. I will try and keep her story brief.
    She diagnosed OH’s cancer, became very tuned in and somewhat protective.
    I was wrapped up in the situation but noticed slight changes in her. After he passed away
    She directed that to me. When I was having a bad day kept other dogs away especially if I sat down.
    I was able to pre empt situations and would pop her on the lead. Told her firmly but nicely “no” and praised as soon as she calmed. I got a few looks as though I should be more pro active, possibly firmer but my thinking was, she’s been through a lot just like me. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and time to adjust. It paid off. Gradually with my consistency she stopped and I’m so glad I took a relaxed approach. She still has that trigger but I’m always mindful of it.
    My first thought is yours is a similar situation and you are her focus.
     
    LinznMilly and DaisyBluebell like this.
  10. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2013
    Messages:
    4,898
    Likes Received:
    8,632
    Yes - i have heard this is a common occurence in a situation whenever a pup is brought in and not socialised seperately from the resident dog in those early weeks. All seems well, until that dog passes and then it becomes clear that the remaining dog is struggling as it was dependent on the other for confidence and has not developed skills to cope with every situation it faces alone, as it has never needed to - the other dog has always been there.
     
    JoanneF likes this.
  11. Maddie Hill

    Maddie Hill PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2019
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    10
    Thank you! Hopefully I can tackle this!
     
    DaisyBluebell likes this.
  12. Maddie Hill

    Maddie Hill PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2019
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    10
    Thank you! I will approach this situation with caution and be as relaxed as possible!
     
    DaisyBluebell and Mum2Heidi like this.
  13. Maddie Hill

    Maddie Hill PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2019
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    10
    Yes I agree, since my other dog passed my JR has been stuck to me like glue, especially since finishing uni, now I am home basically 24/7. I have a dog staying with me at the moment, an 8 month old staffie, and my JR is becoming more tolerant as the days go on, but I can tell she’s not 100% comfortable with it! I will try to introduce her to more dogs in the park in her own time with lots of treats
     
  14. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2016
    Messages:
    7,414
    Likes Received:
    14,966
    Honestly, I wouldn't. Imagine if you were afraid of spiders - being 'invited' to be in contact with them in a position where you couldn't get away is only going to make your fear worse. And that's how your dog will see being introduced to other dogs. What you can do is keep her at the distance that she is aware but not reacting to dogs and use treats to reward her calm behaviour at a distance.
     
  15. Maddie Hill

    Maddie Hill PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2019
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    10
    Well... that makes more sense haha! Thank you!
     
    DaisyBluebell and JoanneF like this.
  16. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2013
    Messages:
    4,898
    Likes Received:
    8,632
     
    JoanneF likes this.
  17. Maddie Hill

    Maddie Hill PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2019
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    10
    Yep I know! She was socialised with many dogs right from the day we got her! She went to puppy parties, training days, and has had an influx of dogs in and out of the house since day 1 - she used to be fine, if not excited to meet with other dogs! Just since my lab passed she has become very aggressive!
     
  18. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2013
    Messages:
    4,898
    Likes Received:
    8,632
    Was she socialised by herself and taken to training classes and for walks alone - or mostly with your lab?

    If you took care to give her plently of time away from your other dog and she built up a confidence and her own set of social skills then this does warrant a vet visit as it is less likely to be due to a dependence on your lab, which is what i initially thought.
     
  19. Maddie Hill

    Maddie Hill PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2019
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    10
    Yes she was socialised alone lots! I should probably mention, when she approaches a dog in the park her tail is wagging and it’s all friendly until I walk closer then she switches! I don’t think she does this when my brother or sister walk her only with me!
     
  20. DaisyBluebell

    DaisyBluebell Earth, the insane asylum of the Universe

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2017
    Messages:
    4,148
    Likes Received:
    5,948
    Lots of similar and good advice there and its nice to read that you are tuned into the possibilities of what you can achieve yourself. I would think its more likely to be the passing of her best friend than anything (having been in a similar situation to Mum2Heidi & seen the same reaction in my last dog).
    Definitely get your dog checked out by the vet just in case but I'm pretty sure it will be the loss, sometimes animals grieve like we do when we loose a loved one who gave us love back and confidence.
    Please keep us updated, your situation and resolution may well help someone else in the same situation in time.
     
    LinznMilly, tabelmabel and Mum2Heidi like this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice