Aggressive Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

by Kayla

Our Wheaten, Winston is very aggressive when he is outside.

What happens is every time a car drives by, a person walks by, the mail comes he barks and scratches at the window. You cant even take him for walks around the lake because he lunges at other dogs.

Recently a neighbor was walking back with her older son and went to pet winston who ended up biting her hand. She went to the doctor and has to get a stitch. We are very concerned because the dog can obviously be put down.

How can we break this aggressive behavior and how do we play with him that doesn't include tug of war?


Desperate in Boston

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Feb 09, 2017
Wheaten turning agrressive gradually
by: Anonymous

We have a 7 month old male Wheaten that came from a reputable breeder. We love this beautiful, bubbly, smart, personality-plus dog. He started showing weird OCD-like behavior about a month or so ago. We have a cat that does not like him - they have become territorial with each other (our other cat and Shaggy get along fine) and we have a 14 yr old LAB/ChesapeakeRetriever who is arthritic and old and sleeps mostly - but tolerates Shaggy pretty well and vice versa. The OCD-like behaviors are getting much worse. Shaggy picks objects in the house out of the blue (like the mop, a stored piece of metal, a pole grabber) and viciously barks and snaps at then. At first it was just barking hysterically, but now he attacks these objects. Whenever the cat is in the room he will run around the room edge (very large room) with his nose to the ground and run and run and run sniffing the floor. He will go like this for a very long time. I read that distracting them with a toy or other activity is a way to stop it. Yesterday I distracted him with his silicone Frisbee, playing tug of war. He really surprised me with his aggressive play with that Frisbee and his new-found strength to bite and pull! Today we took him to the VET to be groomed before being neutered next week. They had to anesthetize him and said he was scared and very aggressive to them and noted that he suffered from severe separation anxiety from my husband (his alpha-in-the-works). They suggested we bring him for training. I will do that - after checking for behavior therapists who work with aggressive dogs. What is the likelihood of success? We LOVE this dog immensely and certainly don't want to be in the position of having to do the unthinkable........ Is the cat reaction (OCD, etc behavior) a symptom or a cause? What can we do in the meantime (while looking for a therapist)? Should we stop "tug of war" play? HELP!

Jul 11, 2014
Bi-Polar Soft Coated Wheaten
by: Anonymous

My Wheaten was 8 weeks old when I got her - I loved her and she was as sweet as could be. When she was about 7-8 years old she began to bite my husband and I for no reason at all. She was like a bi-polar animal. She always displayed anxiety when we left the house or got out of the car, trying to nip us. Then when we would move away from her, she might lunge and bite with agressive bursts. This went on for many months, and in the menatime, tried working with a behavorist, to no avail - she continued to bite. Some quite serious bites forced us to seek Vet recommendations and medication. In the end, I was forced to have her euthanized when nothing helped and she became a threat to friends and family. It was the worst time for us as we loved her and couldn't bring ourselves to do what we finally had to do. I wish there had been something more that could have been done. It was like she loved us, and at the same time, could not keep from biting.

Dec 02, 2011
Find a Behaviorist, Fast
by: Anonymous

Don't give up, this can be fixed! Contact your local humane society and/or animal shelter and ask for recommendations of someone in your area who specializes in working with dogs that have aggression issues. This is not necessarily a person who offers dog obedience classes, though it might be.

Several years ago, I adopted a dog who exhibited aggression and started several dog fights. My local humane society gave me the names of several behaviorists. In one 2-hour, individualized session, I received the support and education I needed to establish a better relationship with my dog. I was given the knowledge of how to handle the problem behavior. With consistent practice and patience, the dog (and I) improved. Then we attended group obedience classes and weekend pack walks. Today, my dog gets along very well with other dogs and we have a solid bond.

Behavior modification is as much about helping you with your actions and reactions as it is about teaching the dog to make better choices. Just be sure you choose to work with someone who employs positive techniques and patience (no alpha rolls, intimidation, etc..)You and your dog can do this! Good luck! -- Florida Wheaten Mom

Nov 28, 2011
Correct him
by: Adam G. Katz

Hi, Desperate in Boston:

This type of aggression can be fixed fairly easily. You need to:

1. Develop a way of communicating with the dog, so that your commands (in this case, the "No!" command) is both understood AND has meaning. This is done by practicing with obedience commands.


2. Establish a proper relationship between you and the dog. This is done by using what we call "Nothing In Life Is Free!"


Adam G. Katz is the author of, "Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer!" -- which you can find at

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