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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18798
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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Hi My boston / Yorkie is 2 years old. He is aggressive

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My boston / Yorkie is 2 years old. He is aggressive towards children, and dogs he doesn't know. He is also terrified of the car, and overly protective of me and my mom. I'm terrified he will bite a child. What can I do to stop his aggression towards kids.

Hi JaCustomer,


My name isXXXXX have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.


In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.


What obedience training has he had?

Is he allowed on furniture?

What does he do in the car?

How have you tried to socialize him?

What type of discipline have you used?

Where is he coming into contract with kids?

Is he neutered?

Is he aggressive toward people besides kids?

Can you describe a few instances where he has shown aggression?

How long has he been doing this?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
He has gone to obedience classes and does listen and follow commands very well.

He is allowed on furniture
In the car he won't sit or lay down. He stands, shakes and pants. If I have keys in my hand sometimes he won't even come down the stairs.
I have taken him to the dog park, and over to my friends houses with other dogs. If he doesn't know them he can be what I see as aggressive at first. He will run up to then with his fur standing on end and growl/bark.
When that happens I force him to lay down on his side and tell him no, I hold him there until he calms down. Then usually he's fine.
My cousins mostly, at family functions outside my home. Usually at my parents.
He was neutered at 6 months

He will bark and growl at most strangers until he smells them.

In may at my parents house he was sitting on my moms lap, my cousin who is about 10. Went over to them and when she touched my mom he nipped at her. Another instance in June at my friends house her daughter who was about 8 was trying to pet him while he was under a bed and he nipped at her. Then about an hour later he was in my lap and she touched and he nipped again. When this happens he is usually trembling. If there are kids at the dog park he will run up to them hair on end barking.

He has been like this since last year after he was kicked by my neibours kid
Amanda,.Thanks for all that wonderful information. It is helpful. Let me tackle the car issue first. It may be that he has motion sickness which causes his problems in the car. This would cause him to shake and pant since he would likely have nausea. Sometimes letting a dog see out the front window helps reduce the symptoms. However, there are other things you can do as well. .

Some people use Benadryl to calm their dog before car travel and Dramamine is also used for motion sickness, but your Vet should be consulted before using Dramamine.


Benadryl can be given to your dog, the dose is up to 2mg per pound every 8 hours. The dosage for Dramamine (Dimenhydrinate) for motion sickness is 2-4 mg/pound by mouth every 8 hours.


Any medication should be given an hour in advance to car trip. You might try a DAP collar. They use pheromones similar to the ones produced by a nursing dog to help calm a dog. They have been shown to be effective along with training to help reduce anxiety during car trips. You can also start carrying your keys around everywhere and then he won't know when you are going for car rides and when you are not.


For the aggression, it sounds like he is a dominant little guy. Dogs are aggressive toward people for a variety of reasons. It might be that they are fearful of people and thus are aggressive before the person can be. In other cases, a dog is aggressive in order to dominate the people. Other causes could be that the dog feels they are the alpha member of the pack and as the alpha member they must protect the pack (you) from threats (people). I suspect his is dominance and protecting his humans.


Owners sometimes make the situation even worse by tensing up and worrying about what will happen. The dog senses the owner worry and feels that he is justified in his aggressive stance because you are obviously worried about the people. They don't know you are worried about them attacking, they just feel that you are worried and assume it is the people.


Dogs that are allowed on furniture (even if put on the furniture) tend to feel that since they are elevated to your level or higher if on your lap, they mentally feel elevated as well in the pack order and thus are the boss. Keeping them on the floor can help lower them mentally back to a submissive position in the pack. So the first thing is to not allow him higher that the humans or even on the same level. You can use corrections in the form of short tugs on a leash and firm low toned "NO" to help stop behavior such as jumping on the couch. When you notice him not jumping onto the couch, reward him with a tasty hot dog slice as a reward.


You will need to work with him on obedience daily.. If you can, I would do group classes and let the trainer know of the problem your dog has.. The following site is helpful at teaching you how to teach your dog. I know he knows commands, but you can train for other commands.. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.


Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.

This obedience work establishes you as the alpha member of the pack and as alpha it is your job to protect the dog and not the dogs job to protect you. Now the dog will still protect you if something should happen because you will be protecting yourself and as part of the pack, he will follow your lead and protect as well. But if you are calm around someone, he will see that you are ok and there is no need to help. This is why being the alpha member works well. It should helps stop some of his aggressive behavior toward people.


You will also want to keep a leash on him at all times initially to grab if he should disobey. Remember to use tasty treats as rewards. Do not pin him to the ground as a form of reprimand. By doing so, you show the dog that you are ok with physical reprimands. The only physical reprimand he has available is to bite, thus when someone does something he doesn't like, he will nip at them. So stop any physical reprimand and use the short tug to get his attention and the firm "low toned" (growl like) "NO".


It will be helpful if you can find someone to help you once you have your dog listening to commands consistently. What you will do is have your dog on the leash. You will have your helper off in the distance. Your helper will gradually move closer to you preferably walking past your position in the distance. As long as your dog ignores them, you can give your dog praise and a treat. The second you see him fixate on the person or show any other sign of aggression (hair standing up, etc.) give your dog a correction by giving a short tug and a firm low toned "NO". It shouldn't take your dog long to realize you will not tolerate the aggression and that if he ignores the person, he gets treats. Once this happens you can repeat the training moving the person closer until he is no longer trying to lunge at people. You will need to practice this when you and your dog are walking as well.


In addition, if the situation is not improving using the techniques on the previous website, you may have to consult a professional behaviorist. You can usually find a behaviorist by asking your Vet for a recommendation or you may be able to find one using the following site.


I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .


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