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D2005-41

Dear Daisy Dog

Our 5-year-old Jack Russell-toy fox terrier mix has become very aggressive when new people come to the house. He is fine with family members, but I am afraid he will bite our company. What can we do about this problem?

Daisy Responds

I love company, and I know Mom is proud when I sit quietly and let people pet me. I’ll admit, though, that when I settle into the most comfortable chair in the living room, she raises her eyebrows.

However, aggression toward your friends is a much more serious issue.

We dogs can be aggressive for a number of reasons, and each type of aggression is treated differently.

For example, your dog may be exhibiting dominance aggression, territorial aggression or fear aggression.

Make an appointment with a veterinary behaviorist to learn what type of aggression you are dealing with and how best to treat it.

In addition, have your dog neutered, if that job hasn’t been done already, because neutering helps reduce aggression in male dogs.

Enroll in a group obedience training class to teach your dog to feel comfortable having other people near him.

When visitors come to the house, leash your dog and ask him to sit and then lie down. When he focuses on doing his obedience exercises well, he will be less concerned about your company.

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