Jack Russell's Sensitive Barking

by Helena Carleron
(Plainfield, Vy)

Reader Question: How To Deal With Jack Russell's Sensitive Barking

How can I work to train my JRT not to run to the front door every time he hears anything he is unfamiliar with?

He does not bark when my boyfriend or I is at the door about to come in.

Every time he hears a noise he runs down the hall to the front door and barks loudly and instantly.
I have tried limiting his ability to go down the hallway. This has not helped. I would like to be able to give a verbal or hand cue to let him know he must be quiet.

I am unclear how to teach him this, as well as make him not so sensitive to the motion, noise & the threat to what he sees as his territory

Helena Carleron

Veterinarian Suggestions For Coping With Jack Russell's Barking

Hi Helena,

This is a difficult situation, because in his mind, your JRT is acting in a completely appropriate way (i.e., defending his territory).

If this were my dog, I would start by teaching him to sit and stay impeccably. Begin in situations where you can be reasonably sure of success and only gradually work your way towards more challenging scenarios. Praise and reward him lavishly whenever he does what you ask, and when he has a “set-back” return to an easier situation and then continue with your progression. Your goal is to teach your dog to plant his butt on the floor and stay that way no matter what the outside stimulation is whenever he hears you say “sit – stay.”

I’d be surprised if he would continue to bark in the sit – stay position (particularly if you were praising him and handing him treats), but if that is the case (or you need to deal with the behavior when you are away from home), consider an anti-bark spray collar. These devices are perfectly humane and do a good job of discouraging barking behavior in the majority of dogs. Make sure you always praise/reward your dog when someone walks by your door and he is quiet, whether he is wearing an anti-bark spray collar or not.

Good luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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