New aggressive behaviors

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!


"Small fish with- tons of fight"
Barked: Sat Nov 17, '12 9:45pm PST 
So for the 6 or7 months we have had Tuna, our JRT mix who is about 1 yr old, I have never seen a single aggressive act. She is always super submissive and friendly. Well, until recently. We moved to a smaller town with a lot less dog parks, or at least less dogs in them. Before we moved she would go multiple times a week to a local dog park that was always busy and play, but now the opportunity just doesn't exist. So I recently brought a dog home from the vet clinic my bf works at, I thought Tuna would enjoy the friend and this poor dog was abandoned over a month ago, so I thought she deserved a little time at a real home. Well, Tuna was very upset with her presence, growling, and even snapping at this other puppy. At first I thought it was just food related, which isn't ok but is understandable. But Tuna seemed to snap over any space invasion. I had to keep her in her crate the whole time the other dog was here. And today we went to the beach where dogs are allowed,we go pretty much every week, and she found a delightfully dead fishlaugh out loud when another dog tried to smell the fish she snapped, never actually biting, but she continued to growl and bark at the other dog.. I want to be able to have Tuna with other dogs without fearing she might attack, plus we have a cat and I dont want them fighting over food. What can I do? I thought socializing her would help, but now what can I do?
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Sun Nov 18, '12 9:36am PST 
It's all really unfortunate but with more fault line breeds, in raising them you need what I call "sustained socialization." We are very much trained to think that socialization is about getting the dog accustomed to things, and the concept there is that once the are accustomed, then that's it. But no, that is not the case.

The dog parks likely were sustained socialization for Tuna. They were keeping her exposed to other dogs. In that, two things. There was only so territorial she could get...as she was surrounded by other dogs on common space....and also whatever social testing she could do was mitigated by not wanting to get herself tarred if she got out of line.

JRTs have the capacity from highly assertive action. I don't know what other term to use....people seem to have a heart attack if you use the word "dominant." Ah, to heck with it laugh out loud They have a dominant personality. If someone wants to mess with their junk, they are more than ready to war. They can be extremely possessive. And they do have a propensity towards DA, particularly towards strange dogs on their turf. With this breed, there often is hiking of aggression as they are young adults in the testing phase. With Jacks, you may be more likely to see this when they are young. This is because they are often run in a pack and need to find their place, so they toughen, almost to exaggeration, when they come of age.

This is why you need sustained socialization, as your Jack grows keeping her around other dogs. In such scenarios, the experimentations of asserting themselves is lessened, for they have become used to being around other (unrelated) dogs, a dynamic in their lives that existed BEFORE those hormones came in and they started to "grow into themselves," and also whatever assertiveness they may have been prone to show would always be mitigated because most dogs won't start something in a pack setting. That often will get them mobbed by the entire pack. Something dogs know. Dogs and Cesar Milan. That's why his "rehabilitation center" works, because you can put a DA dog in there, and he'd need to be a real wack job to try to start something. So while there, they actually learn new social behaviors....used to starting fights, but now they can't due to "pack law" and being held back start to practice new and more healthy social behaviors.

So at any rate, the removal of the dog parks from Tuna's life....very ill timed at this stage, sadly frown Just giving it to you straight. What you are describing is sadly predictable to me frown

What can you do? Ah, well there certainly are things.

Firstly, this is a developmental time in your girl's life still, so take heart! One thing you need to be tuned to is her possessiveness, and not allowing that. She should not have free access to toys, or as much of anything she calls her own. She can have her toys, but you give them to her and when she is done, you take them away. Can you take her food away while she is eating? If so, do so....just take it, have her sit, give her a piece of liver or something juicy for so doing, then place her food back.

Also, tug games. Can she play tug? Most Jacks are more than happy to wink Practice having her release in the throes of good tug battle, and when she does, then she gets to re-snatch.

You should be able to order her off the couch at will. If you can....great!....just make a daily habit of it, reward, have her sit and then allow her back up. If not, work on the behavior.

Finally, introduce her to new dogs weekly. You need to get her back to a doggie play setting....a dog park, a doggie day care, etc. You can also contact training schools and see if they have play groups...many do. Get her back into that social enhancement, with supervision. If it is possible to take her to work with you, do so.

She's only testing now, so give her some time to grow, try and keep any possessive tendencies under wraps. And socialize, socialize, socialize!

Hope that helped. If you have the opportunity to foster another Jack who is dog friendly, that could be a positive motion, as Jacks have exceptional breed recognition....recognize one as their own, and can be more amenable to partnering with them.

Edited by author Sun Nov 18, '12 9:40am PST


"Small fish with- tons of fight"
Barked: Sun Nov 18, '12 3:46pm PST 
Thank you so much for the advicesmile I try to continue to take her to dog parks, but the ones here are never busy. I have gone multiple times all different times of the day and no one is ever there, the town we moved to is small and most people have big yards, I also have been trying to find some in neighboring cities but with little success.

We do have a dog friendly beach we go to at least a couple times a week, but the dogs are spread out and interaction is often not consistent. She goes to daycare occasionally, but that is a great tip, we should really increase thatsmile

she really is never a dominant dog, that is what is so weird, she is submissive to everything and actually usually quite fearful. It has only been recently, within the last month, that i have seen ANY aggressive behaviors at all. Like I said she is always the most submissive dog, but the other day she was really barking at the much larger dog trying to take 'her' dead fish.

Like also mentioned we just moved into a new town and I don't know many dog owners in the area, although I am trying to make some new connections for her to more consistent play time with. She does go the veterinary clinic my boyfriend works at and gets along fine there, with any dog that is there. It mainly seems to be at home or that one time with the dog on the beach.

We have spent a small fortune on her training, and she is really smart , but is so stubborn. (Mind you this is my first dog, so I was not the best trainer, both my boyfriend and myself lacked the consistency she needs, but we are reworking it now) When we moved we went a little lax on the training but recently we have restarted with all of her training again. However like you said can i command her to get off the couch, not really, I feel the only time she really listens to me is if I seem angry with her. She listens to my boyfriend much better, he has a much more dominant personality then I do. But even with him she can seem stubborn. But there has never been a problem with me taking her food away, and she has to sit to get the food in the morning.

Is it safe to bring other dogs in the house with her being so aggressive, if so how do I introduce them? Also you said don't allow the aggressive behaviors to continue but I didn't know how to tell her to stop( I crated her but what else can i do)

Thank you again

Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Sun Nov 18, '12 7:32pm PST 
I wouldn't worry about her being dominant. It's not that, but rather she is getting to the age where she is willing to assert that this "my food" or "my space." That's a very common behavior for Jacks...they are assertive. It could easily be that due to her submissive tendencies, this whole change makes her feel anxious, making her more likely to snap. It's just the way Jackds are typically in their characters...very unlikely to back down. So perhaps because she is so used to being submissive, she feels ill at ease with this newer, more mature sensibility of wanting to defend what is hers, making her more likely to snap.

The scene at the beach, I wouldn't let that upset you too much, as a dead fish is a very fine thing laugh out loud More to the point, she could have made contact with her snap and didn't. She was more communicating very loudly that this was HER fish and everyone else needed to back off. Many dogs would have issued a warning in that sort of situation, but I think for you, it was probably unsettling, seeing that you have come to view her as quite submissiveness. But she is growing up.....that is part of what you are seeing....and because she hasn't been to dog parks as much is probably more anxious socially.

Would it be possible to enroll her in a group fun class of some kind? That might be a good setting for her right now, and because she's your first dog, at least give you some chance to get some feedback from the trainer, as regards what her body language might be.

In terms of having another dog at your house....when is the last time this occurred with her, prior to the puppy coming over for a respite? And how much of a puppy was that puppy, in terms of age? For they do have manners that some older dogs just aren't comfortable with.

There's really no way for me to say this other than directly, but Jacks are pretty territorial, so in time she might not be the best dog for other dogs to come visiting. If it's really important to you, then certainly you could consider fostering a mellow, older dog that doesn't get in her space too much, and reward her for good behavior. See where that leads you and how it makes her mature.

What you have to work with as regards this breed is that socially they are an enigma. They are very pack oriented, somewhat like a hound. Very common on horse farms....and I have a horse background....they are prized by horse people and let me say it was many years before I saw a Jack who wasn't in a group of Jacks laugh out loud At the same time, they are prone to be somewhat reactive to strange dogs. They were meant to patrol the farm and go after anything that traveled on four legs....didn't really matter if it was a potential threat to them or not....making them potentially very brazen and territorial.

So with this breed, most good breeders will tell you, it comes down to socialization. If you raise your Jack around other dogs, they have the potential to be sociable, and if you do not, they have a tendency to be aggressive.

As it doesn't sound as if her era from dog parks is too far removed, you do have the option to get her back around dogs in a social setting, such as a fun class.

But also keep in mind that the environmental management is up to you....you want to avoid scenarios where there is a possession, such as toys or food, with other dogs nearby to compete with in some way. This is behavior you can work on in a controlled setting, such as giving her something even juicier if she ignores that toy or food. But out on the beach, in parks, in your home, if you can't control the scene, you don't want to leave her to her own decisions and devices, as she is basically telling you that she doesn't want other dogs messing with her stuff. Sometimes we need to listen to what our dogs are telling us, and go from there.
Miyu CGC

Bow down to the- Princess Brat!
Barked: Sun Nov 18, '12 9:13pm PST 
I can't compete with Tiller's advice, but I did want to chime in on what you said about making her listen to you. It's all about follow up. What I mean by that is backing up your commands. If you tell her to get off the couch (and do it just once!!) and she doesn't, you make her get off. She's small enough that you can probably just pick her up and put her down. I don't think you've mentioned her resource guarding or anything yet, so this should be safe. Another option is to let her drag a short leash about the house. She doesn't listen? Use the leash to pull her off.

I equate it to when we were all kids. Some people you listened to, because why? You knew they meant it. If you didn't do it some kind of consequence, usually negative, followed. Some people you knew you could get away with more, because they'd just tell and tell and tell you, and it's like MEH. Why should I listen to you? You don't mean it. Dogs are a lot the same way. Make sure they know you mean business (and you don't have to do that roughly at all, just in a way they understand) and it will make things a lot easier for you.

Now you said she is stubborn, so it is likely she might resist. A good motivator will probably help in that situation. Does she love food? If she gets off the couch when you tell her to, a 'Good!' and a nice juicy treat will likely teach her that listening to you = great awesome yummy things! Say "Off" once, if she doesn't, follow up, and then when she does it, treat. She'll get it pretty quick.

Hope that sort of makes sense!!