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What can we do to stop our dog being aggressive due to his separation anxiety?

My mother owns an almost 3-year-old Chihuahua/Jack Russell mix with separation anxiety. In the beginning, he would whine, howl and urinate everywhere if left on his own but he grew out of it. Recently, he has been showing signs of separation anxiety again but it is much worse than before. Now, he begins barking and snarling when he realises someone is going to leave the room and jumps up trying to bite the person's arm or leg, even if they are just going into another room in the house and sometimes even if they leave the door open for him to follow. When we go out in the car, two of us sit in the back with the dogs (she also owns a pure Chihuahua) and he will whine, bark or both through the whole trip. When we come to the places where he knows we will need to get out, he will begin barking as loud as he can and jump at us when we attempt to open the car doors, even though the driver always waits in the car with the dogs. He is generally a very loving, affectionate dog, although I will admit that he can be a little aggressive on occasion. My mother has recently said that if it continues, she will be getting rid of him. I don't want to see him go or for him to end up in a shelter but I'm worried that his behaviour won't stop and she will go through with it. She has tried plug-ins and calming tablets, and is planning on having him neutered to see if that will calm his aggression but I just want to see if anyone else has any ideas for what can be done to stop this behaviour and save him from getting sent away.
2 Responses
675347 tn?1365460645
SavourtheHunt, where do you live? You need a dog BEHAVIOURIST (not a "trainer" but a behaviourist) See if you can find one in your area, or nearby. Actually, a car ride away might be a good thing, then the behaviourist can observe what happens in the car!

It's only fair of me to say that you need someone professional to work with your dog and yourself. I do not have good experience in working with many problem dogs (only one and his issues were different.) Of course, it's not going to be free, but this is TOP priority! It is more important than any lifestyle choice right now, as it concerns the future of your dog. At a shelter, a problem dog would probably have about a week to live before being euthanised. Shelters simply haven't got the room for un-adoptable dogs. In that time he would be confined to a cage. He would also be fully aware he had been abandoned.
That would be just tragic.
His future is something you can at least try to fight for. If you don't succeed....well you can say you did your very best.
Hello, ginger899. I live in Hull. I did try to look up some trainers but they were either too far away or didn't have very good reviews. I'll see if I have more luck finding behaviourists, unless you have any suggestions...?

That is why I am trying to find any solution I can that might help us 'fix' him so my mother doesn't get rid of him. I don't agree with dogs being abandoned or thrown into shelters and killed, especially when something can be done to stop whatever it is that the owner is getting rid of them for in the first place. I've tried to explain to my mother what will happen if she sends him to a shelter but she is refusing to listen and stubbornly telling me that shelters aren't allowed to do that or she'll find a no-kill shelter (which I have also tried to explain to her might not really be a no-kill shelter/may send him to a kill shelter anyways). She did mention she is considering looking into trainers, so I'll mention finding a behaviourist instead and, if it comes to it, just buy him off her and keep him myself, though since we live together, that might be difficult.
675347 tn?1365460645
Hull Yorkshire? I know, though I don't know the area or what is available there.

I must say, I like your attitude. I sense how much you want to try and fight for your little dog.

I wish I could offer you an easy "quick fix" written in a few lines which would solve things....but unfortunately I can't. As I say, I haven't much experience with dogs' "bad behaviour" issues (except with one particular Border Collie who wanted to herd everything!). Working with a dog and owner is a very personal thing, and timing has to be perfect, so any help has to be one-to-one with a pro.

Try this website. I have no idea if they are any good. Check reviews and check testimonials. This is in or near your area:

That is only the first one I found. There may be others. The behaviourist there is called Jo Wood. The phone number is 07980 505 563.

There are some "Animal Rescues" (not "shelters" exactly) who have a policy that no healthy animal is ever euthanised. These places as you can imagine are usually over crowded but the people who run them, bless their hearts, are committed to the best they can give the animals. Yet even there some dogs can spend years in the Rescue before re-homing. There is one like that a few miles away from where I live, called "Happy Landings". They would never put a dog to sleep for behavioural issues. But it might be a while before it could be adopted.

There are some dogs whose behaviour can alter greatly in a different environment with a different family. But that would be a last resort. You really come across to me as someone who loves your little dog and wants to keep him....
Thank you for the recommendations. I'll look into them.

I'm definitely not looking for a quick fix, but any tips or pointers I do happen to find during my 'research' are appreciated. I guess I've got it into my head that, if I can show proof that he is improving, he'll be allowed to stay.

In all honesty, he is technically not even my dog. He was bought for my mother as a puppy by her partner but I've gotten attached to him because I'm such a huge animal lover and he is all over me whenever he sees me. I'm just the sort of person who believes that, once you have taken in a pet, that is it; they're yours for life. I've never understood people who can abandon or mistreat their pets. I don't think my mother honestly wants to send him away, either, but she is just too impatient and not really listening to reason since she is sick of nothing working.
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675347 tn?1365460645
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