We must emphasize that the Jack Russell chewing behavior is natural in all dog breeds. Chewing is an essential part of survival especially when it comes to the digestion of food. It is when the chewing behavior becomes destructive that measures must be adopted to stop it. Otherwise, anything and everything of financial and sentimental value will fall victim to the sharp teeth and strong jaws of the Jack Russell.
Determine the Object of the Chewing Behavior
The first step is determining the kinds of things that are being chewed. Soft things like foam, slippers and paper as well as hard objects like shoes, furniture legs and even the steel parts of a bike can be the subject of chewing by a zealous Jack Russell.
These objects will provide an insight into the causes of the Jack Russell chewing behavior. For example, if the Jack Russell is chewing on the slippers of the master of the house, it may be that it is a way to seek attention. Or if it is the legs of the furniture, then it may be a sign of pent-up aggression against strangers with the wooden legs substituting for the legs of the subject of aggression.
Of course, each Jack Russell will have different motives for its chewing behavior. As its human handler, it is your responsibility to determine which is which and then take the right action as soon as possible.
Determine the Causes of the Chewing Behavior
As previously implied, there are many causes for the chewing behavior of Jack Russells. In many cases, one or two causes can be behind the Jack Russell chewing actions such that one aggravates the other to the point when the dog aggressively chews on just about anything its paws and mouth can get hold of.
- Boredom happens when the dog has little to no mental stimulation and physical exercise from the alpha dog of the pack – the human master, of course. Keep in mind that Jack Russells are not appropriate pets to have when there are other dogs in the household as the breed is known for being aggressive against both small and large dogs alike.
- Teething discomfort can often be relieved by chewing on anything hard like leather shoes and wooden legs of the furniture.
- Curiosity may have killed the cat but in the case of Jack Russells, it will kill the shoes, furniture and other items in the house. Puppies are more prone to such chewing tendencies since it is a way to explore their new worlds and, possibly, test the boundaries of their behavior in the new environment.
- Separation anxiety manifests itself through attention-grabbing behavior like the Jack Russell chewing on one’s favorite shoes.
- Anxiety experienced with either the general environment or specific triggers. For example, the sound of exploding fireworks can trigger the Jack Russell into chewing its toys.
Determine the Best Course of Action to Stop the Chewing Behavior
When the specific causes have been pinpointed, it is easier to formulate a plan of action to stop the chewing behavior. These actions can include the following methods:
- Provide for more opportunities to socialize with both humans and canines. In this way, the Jack Russell will have little motivation to chew objects in the house as a way to entertain itself. Opportunities can be provided through walks in the park, games in the yard and even visits to the agility gym, all of which will burn the energy in a Jack Russell’s body.
- Provide appropriate chew toys especially when the Jack Russell is in its teething stage. Train the puppy to chew on these toys instead of other objects. In time, the Jack Russell chewing behavior will be outgrown as the dog grows into an adult.
- Provide for obedience training. It will address other negative behavior like digging, barking and growling along with the chewing problem. Always use positive reinforcement techniques instead of punishing the dog for any and all chewing transgressions.
- Make your exits as stress-free as possible. This is applicable to Jack Russells suffering from separation anxiety.
Indeed, there is always hope that the bad Jack Russell chewing behavior will be remedied. Treat your pet with love, patience and firmness and it will be rewarded sooner than later.