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December 12, 2013

Terrier needs self-control training

NORMAN — Dear Dr. Fox: We have two wonderful, loving little silky terriers. They are exactly one year apart — ages 2 and 3 this week. We purchased them from the same breeder, but they do not share the same parents.

The 3-year-old is very laid-back, shy around people and is generally the perfect pet. The younger dog is an acquired taste: She is very hyper and recently has become aggressive to anyone coming too close to my husband or me. She is a major jumper, as well; from a standing position on the floor, she can jump bar height. She is also a chewer.

Because of all of this, we have put an invisible fence both inside and out. We now have her confined to one room while inside. She is the alpha dog of the two and can be a bully to our other dog.

We love her very much despite all this, and she is very affectionate to both of us.

The major problem is submissive urinating. We thought she would outgrow this like our older dog, but this is not the case, even two years later. She is perfectly housebroken and was very easy to train. This is not just occasional but happens several times a day.

Any suggestions you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

— E.B., Naples, Fla.

Dear E.B.: Your younger terrier is acting like a terrier and should not be confined to one room.

You should consult with a behavior therapist to enable you to better communicate and control this dog who must learn self-control. Another term is “internal inhibition.”

Check my website, DrFoxVet.com, and my book, “Dog Body, Dog Mind,” for details about the procedure called “cradling” — gentle restraint that can help dogs develop internal inhibition. This can be challenging, and consultation with an animal behavior therapist may be your best solution.

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