New Jack Russell Puppy Growling and Biting

by LE
(New York)

I adopted a Jack Russell a few days ago. He is 7 months old, not yet fixed, and from what I was told, has spent the majority of his life in a cage. He is doing well with my other dog, and with my cats, but yesterday he growled and bit me so hard that it drew blood. It was not provoked. I have noticed he growls and snaps frequently, especially if I try to take something away from him. I do not want to give up on him, but I can't help but be somewhat afraid of him...I never know when he is going to go after me. I have no experience with this breed and am wondering if anyone has any advice? Thank you!

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Nov 06, 2012
reply this post NEW
by: JackiePoole29

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Jan 18, 2010
Some tips that helped with my dogs.
by: Stefanie

With JRTs it's important to let them know who is boss right from the beginning. I broke all of the rules, so my dog is quite unruly. However, make sure he's not sleeping in your bed and try to train him to let you take things away from him.

He also needs to know that your hands are a good thing. The second terrier that I adopted was abused and had cigarette burns on his paws and face. He was food aggressive and generally fearful. I tried an experiment and just hand fed him all of his meals from my hands or my husbands hand. All of his treats had to be eaten off our hands also. We gradually started feeding him in a bowl, but I would gently take the bowl away after a few bites and add something special. He got the point that good things came from me, and he was extremely kind. I don't know if this will help, but you can give it a go.

Also, I was given advice from the trainer at the SPCA about tug. She said that playing tug of war is actually a good way to bond with a dog. However, don't pull upwards (jacks are too small and have fragile tracheas, another reason to never walk your dog by attaching the leash to the collar. My dog now has a collapsed trachea). Also, don't let the dog win. Play often to get their energy out.

When your dog does bite or nip at you, don't lurch back or get afraid. Actually step forward and let them know you aren't intimidated. This works with our Jack Russell Penny. We then make a fist and gently push it towards her face and she decides that it's not fun to bite.

I hope things get better, the first few weeks are tough on a new dog, but it should get better. Another thing....Jack Russells were trained to used their nose and mouth to hunt out fast moving small objects, so don't use your hand to play with them. Always have the object of desire be something other than your hand. They will bite and chase anything that moves fast and they are indiscriminate. It doesn't sound like you're taking it personally, so that's good.

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