Patterdale Terriers- Dog On Dog Aggression

Early this morning I woke to a text message from a guy named Josh. Josh is introducing a new young prospect to his established crew that includes a 9 year old and a 4 year old Patterdale. Josh has some concerns about aggression.

He writes;

“Hi, my name is Josh. I currently own a 9 year old and 4 year old Patterdale Terrier. I just got a 5 month year old Patterdale Terrier today, and I was wondering if you could offer some advice on how I could introduce him to the two other older Patterdales. They seem to be aggressive towards one another and especially the 5 month old one towards the two older ones.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.”

The question Josh asks is a common. We get it often.  I want to take this as an opportunity to share a video which includes my personal thoughts concerning “Dog on dog aggression” then will answer Josh’s question below.

Hi Josh
Congrats on your new pup!Sounds like he has some fire in him!
Patterdales are an aggressive breed- they have to be- to do what they do.
Its bred into them-so its genetic.As hunters and serious breeders its also something we have to watch for and constantly keep in check

Unfortunately many breeders breed specifically for the aggression! Many people come to Patterdales from the Bulldog world of fighting dogs and its what impresses them-at least that’s been my theory.

We hand raise pups from birth in the home and we NEVER tolerate aggression. It starts by telling then “No” and usually a gentle swat across the head or rump with a ballcap.You cant have a heavy hand with these little dogs or you will ruin them- but you can discourage the behavior.A ballcap across the rump and a stern “NO!” is plenty for these little guys.

When they get older- even 5 months like your pup-it becomes harder and harder to reverse the trend. In cases where dog on dog aggression is BRED into them I think it becomes impossible.

I would make sure I keep them kenneled separate of each other- preferably far enough away that they could not facebark through the wire.

Then I would take each dog out-one at a time each day and play and work with him- where the other two could see. It’s important they each understand each is part of your “Pack”.

Gradually I would work up to taking two out at a time to play and pet and correct ANY aggression as soon as you notice it with a swat and a stern “NO!” Its important on your part to spot the signs of aggression and stop it at THAT MOMENT before a fight occurs. Watch for one dog trying to stand taller and towering over the other.If his tail isn’t wagging while doing it- he is exerting his dominance. Watch for one dog putting his foot on the back of the other- that’s a sign that a fight is about to happen- you have to correct it RIGHT THEN!

If its normal Patterdale aggression this will go a long way in correcting it

If the “dog on dog” aggression is bred to strongly into the dogs then unfortunately there is little you can do and hope to correct it.

If this is the case then all hope is not lost- you can still keep them kenneled separate and in most cases work and hunt them separate and still enjoy them!

However, if not able to correct their aggression I would not consider them candidates for breeding and in no case would I line breed them.

Something to remember when raising young Patterdales:

You have two hands!  When you are petting ONE patterdale you need to be petting the OTHER with the other hand at the SAME time. Patterdales form VERY strong bonds with their owners and are extremely jealous or possessive of their affection. They seem to tolerate you showing kindness to another terrier as long as its equal to what you show them and at the same time!

I am not the sole authority on Patterdale terriers and you will find differing opinions everywhere- but these are my personal thoughts on aggression. I hope they are helpful Josh! I appreciate you writing

Best of Luck!

Be sure and join the PTCA to support this awesome breed of terrier

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