My west highland white terrier is aggresive against my friends for example he bit my cousin's leg, tore his jeans and created a wound. Also when he meets another dog even larger than him he will try to attack. To stop him attacking my friends we keep him in the balcony while they are here, was this the right way to act? Also what can i do about him attacking other dogs? Oh and before i forget we have a larger male dog has been terrorizing him since he was a puppy. Could this be the problem

  • 1
    Not sure if you already read this but it may help. cesarsway.com/dog-behavior/aggression/understanding-aggression
    – ggiaquin16
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 22:52
  • Can you clarify which dog was terrorised as a puppy? Also, what age are your dogs? Also describe what your dog is allowed to do and why? For example, is he allowed on the sofa? What are your terms of allowance on some of these behaviours? What training do you give your dog? I need more info to help understand the behaviour. Some excellent suggestions from the answer below though
    – user33232
    Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 19:34

1 Answer 1


If the dog is already that aggressive, chances are you need a professional dog-trainer.
Without knowing more it is even impossible to say what the reason for the aggression is. For example, it could be based on a hunting-instincts (most Terrier-breeds where bred for solitary hunting!), defending his territory, or even fear and/or panic! Attacking other dogs may be a result of bad socialisation. I don't know the dogs history, but he may even been encouraged to attack by a previous owner.
So, there are many possibilities. Seek out a professional dog-trainer, so you can diagnose the cause for the aggression and then work on it. Diagnosing the cause for aggression is possibly one of the hardest tasks disregard a dog because of all the different possible triggers, but you need to know the root cause before you can help him.
Until then, I would advise you do some basic obedience-training in a place where the dog is comfortable and calm. Use reward-based training here! No matter what the cause of the aggression is, any punishment- or dominance-based training may make the issue harder to deal with. Also, do take your dog for walks - long, tiring walks - but if possible, put a muzzle on him, and avoid other dogs. You can reintroduce to dogs once you know how to work on his aggression.

And above all: have love and patience! For many aggressive dogs, that is what is needed most.

Addendum for the second dog (lot's of speculation, take this with a grain of salt.. or more!):
With the older dogs behaviour, I would suspect fear-based aggression and/or bad socialisation. The older dog should have set limits, yes, but not terrorize. If you cannot reach out for a trainer, I would in this case really start by building a LOT of trust with the younger dog: sit with him (but giving him space), pet him gently if he shows no aggression and/or fear, let him come to YOU for a treat and retreat as he wants. Train "calm and nice" behaviour with the older dog, too, with many rewards and treats.
Try to keep the young one separate from the other dog for now as much as you can. If BOTH are calm, you should be able to let them together, give them both treats. If one of them starts being aggressive, separate them again. Above all: learn to read your dogs language! Barking and growling can mean MANY things, from "play with me" to "back off NOW!". And again, please avoid any punishment-related training, with both of them. It is really hard to say which of your dogs caused the issue here, but I suspect their behaviours may have fed of each other.
Timing in dog-training is tricky, and once accidental rewarding the wrong behaviour is usually more easily fixed than accidentally punishing a desired one, especially in insecure dogs!

  • Thank you for the information. But i just want to add that we hve another male dog who has been terrorizing him since he was a puppy. does this help?
    – Pet lover
    Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 8:01
  • Not necessarily aggressive. Some dogs may be nervous and may take it out in biting to warn the person/animal that he/she is getting too close. I'm not sure how the bite happened, so I'm just guessing
    – user8150
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 16:12

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