Help! My Rescue Patterdale Terrier is Aggressive

Amy Trumpeter
4 min readSep 16, 2020
Help! My Rescue Patterdale Terrier is Aggressive

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‘Help! My rescue Patterdale terrier is quite aggressive, particularly towards men.’ someone in our Facebook group asked. We completely know how you feel. After adopting Blake from the RSPCA, we quickly saw the problems that stemmed from his abusive background. We realised that we had to put a great deal of time and effort into training him to give him his best chance to have a happy life as a much loved pet.

Aggression in our Rescue Patterdale Blake

In fact, when we adopted our rescue Patterdale Blake from the RSPCA he was so scared of men that he wouldn’t even let my husband come down the stairs! Of course Simon was his ‘dog dad’ and because he was feeding and walking him, they quickly developed a bond (yes, look how sweet he is — but don’t be deceived!).


Yet the meeting of strange men was extremely problematic. He barked constantly at some of our friends when we first took him visiting. He even went to bite one of them and we had to pull him back on the lead.

The nightmare continued when we passed strange men in the street — even on the other side of the road he would start barking, growling, lunging and even foaming at the mouth! He once bit a carpet fitter who came into our house, but at least it was only on the jumper. We knew that it had to stop.

Tips on Reducing Aggression in Rescue Patterdales

Even now two years on Blake is still a bit scared of strange men, but his behaviour has improved. Generally if socialised and trained well from a puppy, Patterdales are not aggressive dogs (read are Patterdales aggressive?) A lot of aggression in rescue terriers is due to fear that stems from past experiences. If you can reassure them and get them used to strangers in a controlled and positive environment, this can help. It takes time, and so needs to be done…

Amy Trumpeter

Hi I’m Amy — travel blogger, dog lover, digital marketer. I write mainly about Europe, Middle East and Southeast Asia. Getting into drones!