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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20218
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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hope you can help i have 10 year old and 6 year old jack russels

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hope you can help i have 10 year old and 6 year old jack russels and a 10 month old patterdale the 6 year old has become very aggressive leading to full blown fights with all three of them, she was attacked by a neighbours dog several weeks ago,would it help if i had them spayed.normally they are happy dogs sleeping and eating together here's hoping you can advise me.many thanks liz
Hi JaCustomer,
My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.
Are they all about the same size?
Who would you consider to be the alpha dog of the three?
ARe they all female?
Can you tell me a few circumstances surrounding the fights they have had?
The 6 year old was attacked by a dog right before this started?
What size was the dog that attacked her?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

hi jane thank you for replying the dogs are all bitches i would say the six year old is the alpha bitch, they were all out in the garden playing the puppy went up to six year old and it all kicked off from there with all of them tearing in. the dog that attacked her was a little bigger and that happened about a month ago. they are short leg jack russels, the patterdale is a little taller..thank you

thanks for the additional information. It is helpful. First thing I would do is immediately spay the patterdale. She is a young unspayed female that is a little taller and likely to be a little stronger than the 6 year old. She would be a natural choice for alpha if she is unspayed which as she continues to mature may lead to more fights.
When a dog is a puppy (under a year of age or so) any older dog in the house is the alpha dog. With younger dogs, the older dog establishes her rank over the other dogs with minimal or no fighting involved. Now the alpha (6 year old) was challenged basically by the neighbors dog which upset the pack order at your house since the dogs likely saw the fight. In addition, the alpha doesn't feel as secure in her place now that she has been in a fight. In addition, the younger dog is maturing and feel that she needs to establish herself as the alpha dog. An older dog will usually not just submit without some sort of altercation and this can be an ongoing issue. It may also be that the younger dog senses some weakness (illness perhaps) in the older dog which is triggering the fights. Sometimes it will look like one dog started a fight, but with dogs a wrong look or movement by a submissive dog can trigger a fight. It might be as little as one of the other dogs pushing past the alpha to get attention first. Also the 6 year old may feel she needs to prove she is still the alpha by not allowing the other dogs to show any disrespect at all such as eating first, getting attention first, etc.
The pup, as I mentioned, is also becoming mature and needs to act more like an adult than a puppy, so the alpha would be more prone to reprimand her to let her know that puppy behavior is not as acceptable anymore and she needs to change how she approaches adult dogs.
I just like to explain what the possible reasons are for the fights as that can sometimes help an owner realize what changes might be needed. So I would spay the pup which would put her back down to the lowest position in the pack. This should help stop dominance fighting.
I would also start obedience training with them and learn body language. Obedience training can help you control the dogs if they should look like a fight is brewing. It also establishes YOU as the ultimate boss and thus it is your job to reprimand undesired behavior. In other words, you will want to stop the pup from jumping on the older dogs and help teach her to be calm.
Classes or nice but you can teach them at home. The following site is helpful for teaching you how to train your dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.
Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.
The following pages are helpful for teaching you to interpret a dog's body language and thus being able to stop dominance and aggressive behavior BEFORE fights break out.
Additional training can also help. All dogs should be leashed and let them trail the leash. If one dog even looks at the other dog, a correction should be done. Any sign of aggression including a prolonged look, hair raised on the shoulders, a growl or even a stiff legged walk, should be corrected. A correction is a quick tug of the leash and a firm low toned "NO". Once you have done this couple of times, you should notice the dogs ignoring each other. When that happens, you will want to reward them for the desired behavior. Again, use tasty treats like the hot dog slices. This teaches the dogs that you WILL not tolerate fighting in YOUR pack.
These suggestions should help take care of the problem. I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
Jane Lefler and other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

thank you