Kyra Ensbey and her dog Chilli from Bright Bessy dog training.
Kyra Ensbey and her dog Chilli from Bright Bessy dog training. Rachel Vercoe

Teaching an old dog new ways

Question - I've rescued an old dog whose owners are overseas. He is a lovely dog who likes nothing more than sitting on someone's lap. I think he is like a West highland terrier.

My problem is when we go for a walk, he wants to attack every other dog on the road I usually have to pick him up.

I would really like to take him down to the beach etc.

What can I do?

Answer - As your dog is a rescue dog, you won't have any idea if he has ever been socialised with other dogs or if he was frightened by a dog.

His treatment needs to start from home, there will be things you are allowing him to do that give him an inflated sense of self.

Start sitting with him in different places such as on the verge of the road or in a park.

This will eventually reduce his anxiety outside of your yard.

When he is aggressive toward another dog, don't pick him up as this is rewarding him for the behaviour.

This can also be dangerous as he may redirect his aggression to you.

To reduce his aggression toward other dogs, he needs training with a reputable and gentle dog trainer.

As he is an old dog, you may consider only taking him to places where he will not feel confronted such as a quiet park.

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