Sparkie the Aggressive, Lovable Terrier Mix

by Vicki S
(Houston, Texas)

We have 3 dogs, 2 of which are seniors 12 - 13 years old. Our 3rd dog is a 22 lb. Terrier mix that we adopted/rescued at 9 weeks. She had been part of a rescued mother and litter of pups. Sparkie is loving and sweet with me and my husband. She has always had some peculiarities, though. She likes to watch television, and when animals of any kind come on the screen she growls, grabs a stuffed toy and crazily shakes it as hard as she can. We thought it funny at first, but realized it may be aggressive behavior. She got along great with Shaggy, our neutered cockerpoo and Sadie, our dachshund mix until fairly recently. She turned 2 years old a couple of months ago. For some reason, she seems to be looking for trouble with Shaggy, particularly. He has always been a sweetheart but is somewhat arthritic now and grumbles a little at times when he does not want to be messed with; nothing more. A week ago Sparkie jumped on Shaggy, grabbed him by the ear and would not turn loose. Shaggy was screaming bloody murder and Sparkie shook his head and ear as though he was a rag doll. I finally got on top of Sparkie and pushed her head to the floor and held her down until she stopped the attack. Shaggy weighs 19 pounds, Sparkie, 22 pounds. The old dog is no match for this young wild thing. Early this morning when Shaggy first woke up, Sparkie got riled again and began an attack on his ear. I managed to get it stopped before got it got serious. Sparkie had surgery for bladder stones at 18 months. I put a soft muzzle on her now when I take her to our vet because: Recently when I took her for a check up she sat under my chair. A friendly dog walked over on a long leash to see Sparkie. I reached down immediately and prevented my dog from biting by grabbing her and got my finger bitten). Last time I took her in for allergies, she tried to snap at a big, sweet, beautiful Golden Retriever as we walked by her on the way to a room. Folks couldn't believe their eyes in the waiting room. What in the world do we do with Sparkie? We love her dearly, but we have a serious problem. Is there a cure without euthanizing my beloved dog. I have been upset all day after this episode. The vet didn't have any solutions/ideas. Could she possibly have a hormone imbalance? Also, what about the "calming" pills that are available at the Pet Store. Please advise. Thanks. Vicki

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Aug 28, 2017
Nothing In Life Is Free
by: Adam G. Katz

Employ the "Nothing In Life Is Free" approach, so that your dog starts to view you as the "pack leader." If your dog doesn't see you as the leader, then your corrections will be meaningless. So, if you're doing subtle things (inadvertently) to undermine your leadership role around the house-- it will be counter-productive.

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