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Advice on how to stop a terrier being a bit snappy/aggressive?

(7 Posts)
Freddieready Thu 09-Mar-17 10:52:26

We have a generally lovely Wire Fox Terrier who is 16 months old. If we want him to do something he does not want to do he will snap/bite in a fairly aggressive way. As soon as we move him he is fine and affectionate but after he has snapped/bitten us. A simple example is if he is on the sofa where he knows he is not allowed, if you try to shoo him off he won't go. As you go to pick him up to move him he will growl and snap/bite either me or my partner. This is not vicious but certainly unpleasant and can be fairly painful. We have reprimanded him every time but he still does it. We are struggling at stopping this behaviour, can anyone advise please?

FATEdestiny Thu 09-Mar-17 11:01:19

You could reward, instead of reprimand.

So instead of making him get off the sofa, make him want to get off the sofa for a reward.

I would use food reward, have some treats to hand at all times. Ideally hand feed the treat (so he notes that the treat is provided by you) by holding it away from the sofa and getting him to come and take it. Throwning some treats on the floor also works, if hand feeding isn't appropriate.

Some dog are more attention/fuss focused than good focused. So kneeling away from the sofa, at dog height, and asking the dog to come for some fuss and play.

You are then rewarding the behaviour you want (getting off the sofa) with positive reward (food/attention).

I do this with my spaniel's resource guarding. She likes to "have things", not necessarily chew them up, just have them. She's not a fan of giving them up though. We started just taking them from her, sometimes forcefully. It made matters worse (lesson learnt). Food treats to get her to stop guarding things is working much more positively.

Freddieready Fri 10-Mar-17 09:06:22

Thanks FD, we have been trying to distract him with talking before trying to move him, your advice takes that a step further, we will keep ourselves armed with treats and try out what you suggest.

TheHodgeoftheHedge Fri 10-Mar-17 09:11:43

May I suggest you look into clicker training? I have always found it works better with terriers for some reason - they're very responsive to it. The trick as FATE said is rewarding good behaviour rather than punishing bad and clicker training allows you to reward small behaviours frequently and carry on building it from there.
I will try and find you some good articles.

TheHodgeoftheHedge Fri 10-Mar-17 09:19:15

Ps if this is a new behaviour, I would also recommend having them looked over by a vet just in case there is also a physical cause that may be aggravating anything. A dog who is suddenly displaying aggressive tendencies may be in pain or discomfort.

Freddieready Tue 14-Mar-17 17:16:18

Hodge....thank you for the advice about going to the Vet, that was the problem, he had a reoccurrence of an attack of Panosteitis which is basically growing pains. He suffered with this over a year ago and we never connected it. He does not limp but it hurts when he is lifted up, hence snapping at us, he is on medication again from yesterday and the vet actually feels the attack had naturally started to subside.
It just goes to show that you do need outside advice to sometime jog our memories. Thank you.

TheHodgeoftheHedge Tue 14-Mar-17 18:14:33

Oh Freddieready I am so glad to have been able to help. Hope he feels better soon.

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