How To Stop Rat Terrier's Aggression? Explained With Tips 

How To Stop Rat Terrier’s Aggression? Explained With Tips

Aggression in dogs proves to be very disadvantageous in many situations. Especially if a small dog gets aggressive, the dog and you both can get into uncomfortable situations. But, even if the dog breed is naturally aggressive towards other animals and strangers, that can be contained.

So, can Rat Terriers be aggressive? Yes, Rat Terriers can be aggressive towards fellow dogs and strangers, especially if they feel threatened. But with proper socializing techniques, this can be minimized.

Let’s get started!

Can Rat Terriers Be Aggressive?

Rat Terriers are a small dog breed specially bred to be helpful in farming and hunting. Farmers used this breed to contain the heightening levels of rats and rabbits. Therefore, it’s okay to guess that they have this trait of aggressiveness running through their veins. 

But that’s his history. Now Rat Terriers are essentially house pets. Its size and easy maintenance have made it a sought-after breed.

If you keep any pet in captivity, it’s natural for them to be aggressive and angry. But, if you properly socialize them with humans and other dogs and animals, any dog breed will become a sweetheart.

It’s the same with the Rat Terrier, too. Rat Terrier aggression will not be a problem if you socialize with them from a young age. 

As I mentioned earlier, Rat Terriers aren’t aggressive towards their family members. But if ever he feels threatened or mistreated, Rat Terrier’s aggression will be on full display.

Many people find it offensive when they see teeth blaring, deep growling dogs. Your dog must know to protect you, but your dog will lose his cuteness when he does it out of control.

And who wants their baby dog to look like a mad wolf, right? 

Why Has My Rat Terrier Become Aggressive? What Makes Him Aggressive? 

It could hurt any dog parent if your pet suddenly becomes angry or aggressive with you. But, if this behavior is sudden and you have never seen Rat Terrier aggression before, there must be some underlying course behind this.

So let’s see the reasons behind this aggression in your doggo. 

  • Fear-Based Aggression 

In this type of Rat Terrier aggression, you’ll notice that your Rattie is motivated to bite you. Sometimes, he will also growl and blare his teeth at you before biting and running away.

This type of aggression can be seen mainly among rescued dogs because fear is one thing that’s embedded among these doggos.

  • Food-Guarding Aggression 

When your Rat Terrier guards food in a hide-away spot, an intruder will be met with his aggression.

This anger will heighten when your Rattie is hiding something terrible, such as some dead animal that he doesn’t want you to take away. 

  • Possessive / Jealousy Related Aggression 

Imagine you came home after being near another dog. When you come home, your doggo will certainly sniff you for hours.

Some dogs will let it go after a few moments, but others will get aggressive on jealousy. Possessive aggression is common among female dogs with babies, too. 

Other than those, he’ll be angry when confused, in pain, or if he has never been socialized before. 

Why Is My Rat Terrier Growling At Me?

Barking, growling, and whimpering are the three main ways your dog communicates with you. Your dog might imply that he’s in pain, scared of something, or needs you to move away from his things when he is growling. My dog often growls when I touch his favorite toy. 

But excessive growling can turn into severe levels of aggression. So you must act accordingly to stop your doggo’s growling.

After careful inspection, you can assess the underlying problem other than scolding or punishing your dog in situations like these. 

When you resolve his growling problem, naturally, he’ll come back to his usual self, minimizing or eliminating this wrong behavior.

But make sure you don’t confuse his fun growling with this because some dogs, like mine, growl when having fun, especially during playtime. 

Also, never try to suppress his growling technique because a dog usually growls as a warning before he bites.

If you train your dog not to growl whenever he attacks someone, you’ll be caught off guard without his prior notice of not liking whoever that’s aggravating him. 

How Do I Control My Aggressive Rat Terrier?

There’s no easy, overnight method to eliminate a Rat Terrier’s aggression. Since his puppy age, you need to train your doggo to socialize, not just with other pets, but with strangers too.

An effective trainer will teach your Rattie to be calm, content, and patient. Thereby your pup will only attack someone if that’s necessary and unavoidable. 

Dogs are brilliant. They learn fast. But, even though you might have trained your puppy to be on his best behavior, there are chances that he’ll forget his lessons.

In that situation, you need to act patiently. If you show more aggression towards your pet, you have a higher chance of provoking Rat Terrier aggression. 

Now let’s look at other efficient methods of controlling rat terries aggression. 

  • Refrain From Punishments At All Costs 

You cannot answer Rat Terrier aggression with more aggression. It would only make matters even worse.

There’s a high possibility that he’d react without prior notice next time if you try to punish your Rattie for being aggressive.

  • Use Positive Reinforcement

Instead of punishing your doggo, praise him when he’s a good boy. Reward him with some treats and call him “good.”

Even when he gets angry, stay calm until his temper boils down, then praise him for calming down. Therefore he understands that being relaxed is the way to treat. 

  • Socialize 

Interacting your doggo with other dogs and people will make him very friendly, minimalizing aggressiveness.

  • Consider Medication

If you notice that whatever approach you use to contain your doggie’s aggression doesn’t bring any positive results, going for medication will be the last resort.

You should schedule a meeting with your veterinarian, and he’ll help you get the proper cure to overcome this problem.

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you got some valuable insights by reading this article! Stay tuned with Jack Russell Owner for more interesting posts.


  • George Brown

    George B. is the founder of the JRO Organization. He believes in creating a better world for domestic animals. He believes domestic animals are more vulnerable than other animals, especially dogs, since they have been used to depending on their owners for generations. So, he started JRO to share his ideas and insights while helping vulnerable dogs worldwide. George runs multiple projects on street dogs in developing countries, especially Sri Lanka.

    [email protected]

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