Virginia Simpson and Chance

Ask The Trainer

Guarding, Growling and Snapping in a Silky Terrier


In March I took my in-laws 10 yr old silky terrier into my 'pack' of 4 dogs. His behavioral issues include guarding, growling & snapping at people when sternly confronted (ie, getting him off the furniture), aggressiveness with the other dogs. I have to seperate him from the others when feeding or giving chewies. This is my 1st experience with both a terrier and having a dog I can't modify the behavior of. Any suggestions?



Hi Liz,

Thank you for your inquiry!

It sounds like this little guy could use a little obedience training and behavioral modification for sure! Never too late to learn good behavior. Even Scrooge could do it!

First thing, I would get a leash on him when you need to move him so he doesn't snap at anyone. Safety first!

Secondly, I would keep my interactions with him very unemotional. You don't want to raise your voice or get upset with him. Doesn't do any good and actually gets some bad behavior out of him, so you have to think a couple of steps ahead. If you need to move him off the couch for example, don't say anything, snap on a leash and then quietly and firmly ask him to step off with a little leash pressure. I would actually limit any access for a while to places of elevated positioning; like the couch, beds, etc.

I would teach him some strong stay commands: sit-stay, down-stay, place command. This will help you control space and you can utilize these commands to keep him down off the furniture and keep him from being pushy with the other dogs.

I would start feeding him in a crate separate from the other dogs as well. This is just a matter of controlling the environment until the training has a chance to set in and change his outlook.

Thank you for contacting Unleashed Canine Obedience through Cincinnati Dog Pages!

If you have any other questions or would like some help with training, please feel free to contact me any time!

For more information, please feel free to contact:

Virginia L. Simpson, CDT
Unleashed Canine Obedience, LLC
4955 Creek Road, Cincinnati, Ohio 45242