How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask DrRalston Your Own Question

DrRalston
DrRalston, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 2205
Experience:  Over twelve years of internal medicine, surgery, and preventive care.
47051559
Type Your Dog Question Here...
DrRalston is online now

have a twelve year old XXXXX XXXXX who is very protective

Customer Question

have a twelve year old XXXXX XXXXX who is very protective to me but is aggressive to others I can not trust him around my two young grandchildren ages 16 month and 3 anda half halve two house cats I adopted when snoopy was nine and he is fine with them except if they go near him while asleep or near his food he sleeps on my bed and have now had to lock him in living room as would go for me if I accidently moved in the nite very scarey if people come to the house I put him in my bedroom with baby gate up he reacently had some teeth out and vet said he is in great condition for his age so its not medical I am moving house from a large house with a garden to a large apartment and I can get away with having a small quiet dog but he can be very loud barking I want to have my grandchildren to stay but can not trust my dog I love him so much but his behaviour is breaking my heart and I never relax having to make sure every one gives notice to visit none of my family will take him and rehousing would be hard I don't know what I can do  I don't know if you can train an old dog and would anyone be allowed near him to train him  my last resort would be to have him put down as under pressure to put my grandkids first  I know this is all my fault and as I said its all getting to much for me  thank you

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  DrRalston replied 3 years ago.
Snoopy certainly does seem to have some serious problems.

First, I must tell you, although there are some things you may have done different when Snoopy was a puppy, do not feel that this is all your fault.

IT IS NOT ALL YOUR FAULT.

Some dogs just like people can be aggressive and weary of strangers, children, etc. Also, it sounds like your dog has territorial issues. He is protective of his sleeping space, his food, and it sounds like he protects you.

This is all very natural behavior for dogs, especially terriers, and VERY ESPECIALLY Jack Russel Terriers. We call them Jack Russel Terrorists in the hospital. It's mostly because they often tend to be a little high strung and wired.

JRT's need a ton of socialization when they are puppies. They need to be around all kinds of people - wheelchairs, color different, women and men, people with hats, glasses, coats, wigs, clowns... whatever! The more people they are around with good intereactions the easier they deal with people in the future.

Sometimes when I tell people that they will say ,"Well he's always been around people. And he isn't always aggressive towards people". And I say, "It doesn't matter".

Just like people, some dogs are unpredictable in their response. However, let's be clear on this one - your dog has behavior problems. It growls at you when you move at night, it's protective of it's food, it growls when sleeping and somebody comes near, it has to be kept behind baby gates, you can't trust it around your grandchildren. Yep, that is NOT normal.

To be clear - protective instincts are natural. Minor aggression common in Jack Russel Terriers. Attacking, biting, growling at people and children - not normal an unacceptable.

It is true to some extent that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Your dog might be a little too old to benefit from training.

And you are right, you would need to have somebody come in and work with your dog in person. There are behaviorists that do just that. They might be a little expensive. But, you don't have any other options at this point.

Some medications may help your pet. The herbal stuff will likely not do it. If you have a person that is violent towards other people, screams at them when they come near him while sleeping, yells at children when they visit his house, or growls at waitresses in the restaurant, chamomille tea is not going to help this fellow.


You need something stronger.

Now, the herbal stuff might be mildly calming, and I do recommend it for my patients that have some slight anxiety towards thunderstorms, or new environments for example. But, that is not your dog's problem. Your dog has territorial aggression issues.

So, I would like to give you advice on what to do at home. Your dog is past this.

You need a trainer.
You need medications - ask your Vet.
OR, you need to consider rehoming your pet or not having it around the grandchildren.

I know it is hard, but these are the only choices you have left. It is not your fault, but now the choices have to be made to make a change. Something has to change.

The current situation will no longer be acceptable. If you want it to change, you have to make a change.

I would recommend talking to your Vet about using clomipramine (clomicalm). I have used this often on JRT's for very similar problems. At the same time, consult with a trainer to work with you and your dog. Look for one that specializes in aggressive behaviour. Most of us do NOT like working with these types of dogs. It is hard work, and rarely pays off. BUT, for those of us that do take the chance to help a dog and his owner, we thrive on it. THAT is the person you need in this case.

It might not be possible - but you won't know until you try.

I think it's worth a try, don't you?
DrRalston

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found ""JustAnswer"" on my Google search -- you are now in my ""Favorites"" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete! Bev & George
< Previous | Next >
  • It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found ""JustAnswer"" on my Google search -- you are now in my ""Favorites"" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete! Bev & George
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Rebecca

    Rebecca

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    293
    Veterinarian for more than 30 years
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/TO/tomasicvet/2011-3-15_20483_RTI.64x64.jpg Rebecca's Avatar

    Rebecca

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    293
    Veterinarian for more than 30 years
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MS/msb13sm/2011-3-7_52612_Dr.B.64x64.JPG Dr. Matt's Avatar

    Dr. Matt

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    2354
    DVM - 13 years experience in canine medicine and surgery.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/Dr. Gene/2012-6-29_2247_20120223174645649.64x64.jpg Dr. Gene's Avatar

    Dr. Gene

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    1048
    DVM degree from Ontario Veterinary College
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/Vet help/2012-11-3_20182_Avatar2.64x64.png Vet help's Avatar

    Vet help

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    963
    12 yrs experience as a small animal veterinarian; 21 yrs exp. in the animal care field
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DE/debkatreyn/2011-11-28_33650_682e.64x64.jpg Dr. Debbie's Avatar

    Dr. Debbie

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    902
    Companion animal veterinarian practicing for over 10 years.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KR/kritrdr/2014-3-26_152042_Dr.Gray1.64x64.jpg Dr. Dan's Avatar

    Dr. Dan

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    2143
    12 years of experience with domestic and exotic dogs, PLEASE rate my service when satisfied.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DJ/djan2000/djan2000_avatar.64x64.jpg Dr. Dave's Avatar

    Dr. Dave

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    2053
    21 years small animal general and emergency practice