Jack Russel

JRT Attacking in Their Sleep

by Laura
(Scotland, UK)

This is more of an advice really than a Q or A . I read and posted somewhere on the site about JRT's who attack if they are woken suddenly. My Rocky did this for a long time and it got so bad I was actually scared of him. It was like living with two dogs, a Jekyl and Hyde if you like. If Rocky was asleep someone only had to brush past him and he would spring into life and attack the first person near him. I have had to wrap him in a duvet to save from being bitten to calm him down, this has gone on for around a year. I don't know why they do it but I know I am not alone, many JRT's do this. I had even thought about having him put to sleep because I was terrified of him but I love him to bits. However it dawned on me that when he attacked I was doing the natural thing and showing fear. This has taken a lot of guts but every time he did this, or if I touched him accidentally when he was asleep, I would say to him, it's me Rocky and just speak very gently to him and he calmed down. I don't mind saying I was afraid as I thought I would be bitten, but I didn't show him my fear. Now after a few months of doing this, if he is disturbed I just talk to him in a gentle voice and he just goes back to sleep, if you get in a flap and start shouting and yelling when they do this it makes things ten times worse. I know to my cost, he has bitten me around 6 times, in his sleep, now when he is awoken suddenly I can even put my hand on him and talk gently to him and he is fine. JRT's are so fast you don't see it coming but this has been a great improvement, simply by me being calm, of course I am still very much on my guard but my life is not the nightmare that it was and neither is his. I hope this helps some of you who have experienced this with JRT's. Don't give up on the little chaps, they don't mean to bite, they aren't fully aware, when Rocky eventually woke up after attacking he would start whining and he knew he had done wrong. But by me being calm he has improved I would say by 70%.

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