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Mum's new dog: aggressive, nervous or both?

(5 Posts)
minifingerz Sat 12-Mar-16 13:12:58

Posted about this on chat last week but posting again for more insight.

My 81 year old mum (who lives with my 52 year old sister) has just got a dog from rescue. It's a 4 year old beagle/jack Russell cross female. Mum has always had rescue dogs, and always terriers.

The dog has been in situ for about 3 weeks now and I've got some concerns about its behaviour. It growls at some people - particularly children (there are 6 grandchildren who visit regularly aged been 6 and 16) - and has snapped at two of them, not when they've been approaching it but when they've been walking away with their backs turned. It's also snapped at two visitors when they extended a hand to greet it (both dog owners and used to animals).

My mum gets cross and upset if I comment on its behaviour, which she thinks is just the result of the dog being nervous and in a new environment. I suggested she consult a dog behaviourist - she shut the conversation down as quickly as possible and has discouraged me from saying anything more.

The dog's behaviour is quite unusual. It doesn't seem nervous to me. It is an enthusiastic and bold thief, drinking tea out of people's cups while they're holding them, jumping up on chairs at the kitchen table and standing on its hind legs to try and Hoover food off kitchen surfaces while people are standing right next to it. When you sit down it will jump on your lap, and then onto the back of the sofa behind your head in order to bark out the window.

My mum and sister are trying to train it by squirting it with water and flicking it with a tea towel (my mum does the latter) when it barks or growls at people. :-( I really don't think this is the right way to go about training a dog who is clearly a pretty clever and complex little creature.

The thing is now that both my brother and I feel unhappy about taking the children there if the dog isn't caged - it makes them nervous and they don't enjoy being at my mum's worrying all the time that they're going to get nipped, even if they stay away from the dog. My mum thinks it's a big fuss over nothing. She's convinced it'll stop these behaviours once it's more settled at her house, and less nervous. I'm not convinced.

What do you think of the behaviours I've described? Do you think the dog might stop snapping and growling when it settled in? Or might it get worse?

HoppingForward Sat 12-Mar-16 13:23:32

Is the dog being socialised at other times or just with the DC visiting? It sounds like it is being bold and protective of its new safe environment.

I have a rescue here on foster, she is in her 3rd week, very nervous but doesn't do any of the above, she hides if she doesn't want to interact and needs lots of coaxing out when people she doesn't know have gone.

She has only barked if men knock on the door or enter the house and growled once at me which I took as a "piss of and let me sleep" talk!

I would suggest contacting the rescue to discuss with them.

QuestionableMouse Sat 12-Mar-16 13:27:03

It makes no difference at this point if the dog is nervous or aggressive. The end result is the same- your mum needs a good trainer to get it sorted before someone gets hurt.

minifingerz Sat 12-Mar-16 14:22:11

It would be easier to persuade her to see a trainer if she didn't think that the dog's behaviour would 'sort itself out' over time....

pigsDOfly Sat 12-Mar-16 14:23:02

Agree, dog needs a proper trainer, flicking stuff at it is not the way to train anything and will just make the dog more reactive.

Sounds like a nasty incident waiting to happen if the GC can't even be around the dog without the fear of being nipped.

I wouldn't be taken my DC there until this is sorted out.

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