When it comes to Jack Russell behaviour, the breed is famous for being highly energetic, innately intelligent and naturally feisty even as puppies. Thus, many owners of Jack Russells assert that having their hands full when it concerns their small but scrappy pet dogs is par for the course.
It is most frequently up to the owner of the Jack Russell to determine if the canine is behaving in a characteristic or uncharacteristic manner. Close observations and hours of companionship are essential in achieving this purpose.
With that being said, here are a few things to look out for in Jack Russell behaviour that may or may not be normal depending on the unique circumstances surrounding the action and individual temperament of the dog. It will be observed that normal behaviour in Jack Russells can be defined as those actions that the situation warrants.
Jack Russell Barking
We must emphasize that barking is an essential part of the Jack Russell’s constitution – or for all dogs except the Basenji, for that matter. Barking is used for communication between dogs and humans, be it in terms of showing happiness, expressing pain and showing aggression. With the Jack Russell breed, owners should expect an increased frequency and intensity in barking noises for the simple reason that these terriers are bred to bark as a way to flush out its prey – the red fox, that is.
In the home, it can be very annoying especially when the Jack Russell barks at anything that moves, squeaks and squeals like other animals, passersby and small children. This is a Jack Russell behaviour that must be controlled if only for the peace of mind – and ears – of the household and the neighbourhood. But trying to suppress it completely is neither possible nor beneficial especially when an unwanted intruder is around.
Jack Russell Biting
Even when the biting is done in affection, the sharp teeth of the Jack Russell are painful, to say the least. And since biting can be a sign of aggression, it is also a behaviour that must be controlled lest humans especially small children and frail individuals be at its receiving end. Of course, biting can lead to chewing, which no pet owner wants either as the furniture and fixtures around the house can be the next victims.
Again, Jack Russell obedience training either in a formal or informal setting will be of significant help in curbing the behaviour. Human skin must be protected at all times, no matter how loved the dog may be.
Jack Russells Jumping Up
Yet another Jack Russell behaviour that requires careful treatment is jumping up on things and humans. In dogs, it can be caused by overexcitement in seeing a familiar object and face or it can be the result of aggressive tendencies manifesting themselves. Either way, owners are well advised to control the behaviour as it is destructive to both the dog and the human or object being jumped on.
Preventive measures include providing for adequate amounts of exercise outdoors, sufficient socialization opportunities and, of course, obedience training. Clicker training coupled with positive reinforcement techniques has been proven successful.
Jack Russell Hyperactivity
You have heard it said – one of the main features of Jack Russell behaviour is the breed’s hyperactivity. In fact, dog breeders agree that Jack Russells may be on the small side but its energy levels are definitely on the large side. Thus, Jack Russells are suitable for owners who have time to provide for plenty of physical exercises and mental stimulation along with plenty of space.
But when the Jack Russell’s natural hyperactive translates to destructive or aggressive behaviour, then it is time to take appropriate action. These actions should include increased time for exercises in the outdoors even it just means throwing a tennis ball at the park for about an hour every day or a walk around the neighbourhood
Another hallmark Jack Russell behaviour is the tendency to run away. This can easily be remedied by placing a high fence around the house, putting on a canine harness on the dog whenever outdoors and undergoing obedience training.
Running away may also be a symptom of dissatisfaction with the living conditions. Improvements must then be made if the dog is to be enticed to stay inside the house and in the pack.
Indeed, a Jack Russell in the house is akin to having a small child of your own. You have to love and discipline as well as observe the dog for its unique behavioural traits so that any changes can be detected and properly acted upon.