Jack Russell Shaking

Jack Russell ShakingAs we rack up the months and years living with our pets, we will be more observant, more knowledgeable and more updated about their individual personalities, behaviours and actions.  As such, we are more likely to take the appropriate actions in ensuring the good physical and mental health of our pets.  This is true with the Jack Russell shaking behaviour.

For first-time owners of Jack Russells, the shaking observed on the dog can be taken in two ways.  On one hand, it may just be a normal occurrence as dogs do shake themselves in many ways.  For example, the dog may shake its body after a bath or in order to dislodge something in its head.  In this case, the owner will dismiss the shaking and possibly overlook serious health issues where trembling is a symptom.

On the other hand, the owner may overreact to the shaking of the Jack Russell.  As such, veterinary visits are scheduled, which result in a waste of money, time and effort as well as added stress on the animal when the shaking was found to be normal.  Keep in mind that it is not only the humans affected by being a hypochondriac but the pet, too.

Well, nobody can really blame pet owners for falling into either category as extreme, excessive or abnormal Jack Russell shaking episodes must be looked into. The trick is in initially knowing when the shaking episodes are normal or abnormal, which will lead to more appropriate actions.  With that being said, here are a few of the possible causes and actions when a Jack Russell starts shaking or trembling.

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Separation Anxiety

A Jack Russell may be shaking or trembling all over its body because of separation anxiety, either from its mother as is the case with a puppy or from its owner with both puppies and adult dogs.  The excessive shaking is often accompanied by equally excessive vocalization (barking and howling), excessive salivation and improper defecation/urination inside the house.  In the most extreme cases, separation anxiety can also lead the Jack Russell toward self-mutilation although these cases are relatively rare.

If separation anxiety is the cause for Jack Russell shaking episodes, the following suggestions are highly recommended:

  • Undertake crate training for the dog. Don’t worry as confining a dog in a crate is not a cruel punishment. For canines, the presence of a den – in this case, a crate – provides a sense of security, safety and protection.  Therefore, a crate can significantly lessen feelings of anxiety borne of separation.
  • Undergo basic obedience training.  This way, the dog will be provided with the tools to develop a more stable mindset.

Neurological Diseases

An owner must seek immediate veterinary care for the Jack Russell when excessive shaking and trembling on the rear limbs are observed.  Tests must be performed to rule out neurological diseases where excessive trembling is a tell-tale symptom.  Other symptoms to look out for in neurological disorders among dogs include loss of coordination and balance in cerebral ataxia as well as abnormal behaviour, uncoordinated movements and seizures in hydrocephalus.

The most obvious cause of Jack Russell shaking episodes is epilepsy.  It may surprise humans but the disorder does exist in dogs, of which Jack Russells are not exempted.  As with humans, epilepsy is characterized by sudden attacks of seizures regardless if the environment is peaceful and the dog appears healthy.  Veterinarians diagnose canine epilepsy through physical, neurological and laboratory exams like blood, bile and urine tests as well as thyroid function exams.

Ear Infections

Yet another possible cause of Jack Russell shaking episodes are ear infections.  Aside from the constant shaking of the head, other symptoms include severe scratching of the ears, inflamed ears coupled with an unpleasant smell, and yellowish-blackish discharge from the ears.  Medical treatment is imperative lest the infection spreads to the surrounding area and lead to deafness.

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The treatment options will vary depending on the cause of the ear infection.  For most cases, antibacterial, antiviral or antifungal medications, both oral and topical, will be prescribed.

In conclusion, human handlers must be careful in treating any and all Jack Russell shaking episodes.  When in doubt, it is always best to consult with the professionals like the veterinarian and the dog trainer.  At the very least, you will neither be stressing over nothing nor dismissing serious diseases.

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Jack Russell Terrier Agility

Jack Russell AgilityIn the dog community, Jack Russell terrier agility is well-known, a fact that surprises nobody who has come into contact with the breed.  Its natural athleticism coupled with its innate intelligence is a powerful combination that makes the Jack Russell breed one of the most agile in the dog world.

Of course, there is also the fact that Jack Russells are breed precisely to be agile on the field in the pursuit of the red fox during fox hunts.  Their legs must be able to run fast while their bodies must have the ability to squeeze into tight fox dens to flush out their prey.  Even when fox hunts are not on the agenda, the agility abilities of the Jack Russell are hardwired into their systems so much so that owners must find ways to allow expression of such a natural talent.  Otherwise, destructive and aggressive behaviours like excessive barking, growling, biting and jumping on people take its place.

Agility as Trials

When we speak of Jack Russell terrier agility, we are also talking about the trial events where the dogs are made to traverse various sets of obstacles placed in maze-like form.  These obstacles usually include tires, tunnels, see-saws, upright poles and the so-called dog walks. The Jack Russell participants are rated based on their speed and accuracy in completing the obstacle set before them.

Other dog breeds also have their own agility trials.  What distinguishes Jack Russell agility is the presence of on-lead agility, which is considered as the introduction of the canine and its human handler to the sport.  Basically, if the owner has yet to compete or practice with agility equipment, then on-lead agility trials is the right venue to have a shot at the award.

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Owners can choose between two levels of the Jack Russell terrier agility trials – novice and advanced.  While the advanced level is reserved for the veterans of the competition, the novice level is intended for the first-time competitors, whether the term applies to the human handler or the canine itself.  Also, the novice level is reserved for Jack Russells who have never scored a 190 in any agility competition.

A note on the use of a leash in on-lead agility competitions for Jack Russells:  It is only used to prevent the terrier from running away from the obstacle course, no more, no less.  The human handler must never use the leash to force the dog through the obstacles, otherwise, points are deducted.  As such, it is important that the human handler has trained the Jack Russell to obey the basic commands like “down”, “sit”, “come” and “stay” before the competition has started.

Agility Rules during Competition

As can be expected during competitions, there are rules to be followed in Jack Russell terrier agility trials.  The following is not an all-inclusive list of the requirements, rules and regulations of these competitions:

  • The Jack Russell must be one year of age and older
  • Collars will vary – flat buckles with six-foot leads in on-lead class while no collars are allowed in the off-lead category
  • Leash corrections are not allowed in on-lead classes
  • Foods, toys and training devices are not allowed within 10 feet of the ring, all of which can help the handler in improving the dog’s performance.
  • Specific rules apply on the obstacle course with corresponding deductions for violations of the rules.  For example, the tire jump must be cleanly executed – no running under and between the tires, no banking and no touching the tire.  Or on the dog walk and the see-saw, the dog must place at least one paw on the up and down contacts before leaving the obstacle.

Depending on the organizer of the Jack Russell terrier agility competition, the categories will include classes in novice and advanced on-lead, starters off-lead, Agility I to III off-lead, youth agility on-lead and off-lead, and games classes.  When training for any of these classes, we highly recommend adopting the following safety tips:

  • Flat buckles must be used instead of the slip and choke types
  • Keep the training sessions as short as possible to safeguard the health of the terrier
  • Be consistent in the commands used for each part of the obstacle.
  • End the training sessions with praise and possibly treats, which will motivate the Jack Russell to do better on the best sessions.

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Efforts for the improvement of Jack Russell terrier agility levels will pay for itself in the good physical and mental health of your pet.

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Jack Russell Terrier Jumping

Jack Russell Terrier jumpingThe Jack Russell terrier breed is well-known for being energetic, excitable and athletic to the point of always being on the move from morning till evening, which comes as a surprise to many first-time owners considering the dogs small size.  Such on-the-go nature is part of their constitution as Jack Russells are breed to be working dogs used in fox hunts.

One of the easily recognizable behaviours is Jack Russell terrier jumping, which can be seen as either a negative behaviour or a positive behaviour depending on the situation. On one hand, it is a negative behaviour when the jumping action is done with aggression in mind.  For example, the Jack Russell jumps on small children, the elderly and frail individuals as well as jumps on its owner to test its dominance over the human.   This is perceived as aggressive behaviour especially as Jack Russells will take any opportunity to challenge the alpha dog of the pack – you.

On the other hand, it is a positive behaviour when the jumping action is performed during agility trials and races for Jack Russells.  We must take note that these agility trials and races involve the dogs jumping over hurdles so much so that the higher the dog’s jump, the higher the score.

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Indeed, your Jack Russell terrier jumping behaviour should not be immediately seen as a purely negative behaviour.  It is natural for dogs to jump to show their aggression, agility and excitement, which humans have the responsibility to transform into behaviour favourable for both man and dog.

Stopping the Negative Behaviour

Let’s deal with Jack Russell terrier jumping as a negative behaviour first since it can endanger the health of the recipient like the elderly around the house.  We must emphasize that training a Jack Russell to counteract any bad behaviour, be it digging, jumping and biting, requires patience, perseverance and passion to carry out the process.  Jack Russells are also known for their stubborn, feisty and dominant nature that has landed them in trouble with dogs and humans bigger than they will ever be in size.

There are many ways to accomplish the task of stopping the negative jumping behaviour of Jack Russells.  All of these methods, however, have a common thread running through them – apply positive reinforcement techniques by rewarding the dog with modest treats and words of praise but never ever meting out punishment especially in terms of physical and mental kinds.  Otherwise, the negative behaviour of aggressive Jack Russell terrier jumping will become more pronounced and, thus, more dangerous.

  • Ignore the dog when it is jumping. Just turn your back, make no eye contact and speak no words until such time that it is down on its four paws.
  • Issue the right commands at the right time. An experienced dog trainer should be able to provide exercises on the best way to say “Sit” and “Off” in order to be obeyed. It will take constant practice, a firm tone of voice and consistent dog training before positive results can be seen but the rewards will be well worth the time and effort spent on the exercises.

Just take note that jumping in Jack Russells should be a natural behaviour best left controlled by the firm hand of the alpha dog.  Complete suppression of the jumping instinct is not healthy either as it goes against the grain of the breed.  Besides, Jack Russell terrier jumping ability in agility races and trials are highly appreciated by their human handlers as it will bring home the trophy.

Turning Positive Behaviour into a Winning Action

So, how can the Jack Russell’s jumping capacity be turned into a winning ability?  Well, the answer is simple – agility training.  This training can be had either in the home with a homemade agility obstacle course in the backyard although we suggest training in an agility centre.  At the very least, there are professional trainers around who can provide expert assistance, tips and advice on how best to harness the Jack Russell terrier jumping ability to greater heights, pun intended.

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Just to give an idea of these agility races and trials, Jack Russells are made to flush out prey like rats from a trench, jump through obstacles and perform other feats of athleticism.   See-saws, tires and other obstacles must be completed in the shortest time possible with deductions for violations of standards like pulling on the leash.

Indeed, the previously negative Jack Russell terrier jumping can be turned into a winning behaviour.  Training with patience, perseverance and passion is the key in this case.

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Jack Russell Digging

Jack Russell DiggingMany dog breeds are genetically hardwired to dig, dig and dig some more.  The reasons will vary from one dog breed to the next but when it comes to Jack Russell digging behaviour, the behaviour is necessary to flush out the prey from its underground den.  This usually happens in fox hunts of the olden days in England – many will say that it still happens nowadays albeit under a cloud of secrecy because of a stronger awareness for canine rights – with the tradition being carried out in Jack Russell competitions where rats are sniffed out from their dens in a race track.

So, when a Jack Russell starts to dig up the front and back yards, it is normal behaviour for the breed.  The pet owner must strike a balance between encouraging the behaviour during competitions and discouraging the action at home.  It can be difficult but it is possible.

Here then are the ways to strike a perfect balance.  Just keep in mind that each Jack Russell is a unique individual so you may have to tweak these suggestions to fit your own pet.

Know the Cause

The Jack Russell digging behaviour can be attributed to many causes.  It may be out of boredom, out of lack of physical exercise or out of aggression, to name a few possible reasons.  No matter the causes behind the behaviour, it is the pet owner’s responsibility to take the necessary steps to stop it.

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Otherwise, the yard can be the site of many foxholes that pose a grave threat to both human and canine members of the household.  Plus, these holes in the yard can be a source of stress because of their ugly effect on the general aesthetic of the house.

Know the Solution

When the cause has been determined, you are more equipped to provide for the solutions to the bad behaviour.  Experimentation may be necessary as no two digging behaviours between Jack Russells will entail the same solution precisely because no two Jack Russells are ever similar in all aspects.  It is necessary to ascertain the Jack Russell’s personality and then tailor a plan suited to your dog.

There are many solutions to the problem of the Jack Russell digging behaviour.  Depending on the cause, you can adopt one or two of the following remedies:

  • Place a large sandbox filled with either sand or earth and then topped with lush grass in one corner of the yard. This will serve as the digging area for the pet, which the owner must communicate to the Jack Russell as being so. Take the Jack Russell into the area whenever it appears that he wants to dig and let him have a go at the dirt while praising him for good behaviour. When the dog appears to stray outside the sandbox, tell him off with a firm “No” and redirect him to the place.
  • Rebuke the dog with a firm “no” when he is caught in the act of digging up the yard instead of doing so after the deed has been committed. Otherwise, the dog will not associate the digging with bad behaviour since confusion as to exactly what his bad deed was has set in.
  • Install shade in the yard especially during the warmer months. Jack Russell digging behaviour can be a manifestation of the canine’s need for a more comfortable temperature for its body. The cool, moist dirt dug up is one way to achieve the purpose. With a shady place in the yard coupled with sufficient supply of cold, fresh water at all times, be it in the form of drinking water or a shallow wading pool, the Jack Russell will be less inclined to drink.
  • Provide toys and physical exercise to ward off the Jack Russell digging tendency. With the Jack Russell known for its high level of intelligence and high levels of physical energy, the lack of mental stimulation and physical exercise most often lead to bad behaviour like growling, biting and digging.

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When all else appears to fail, you can institute a few negative anti-digging measures.  You need not worry as there is no physical punishment and mental deprivation involved in these measures, which include salting the ground with small rocks and ground pepper as well as placing chicken mesh wire around the area considered as off-limits to digging.

Ultimately, Jack Russell digging must be controlled but never completely subdued.  Otherwise, the Jack Russell will end up as mentally disturbed as when its digging behaviour was allowed to continue without close supervision from its master.

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Jack Russell Chewing

Jack Russell ChewingWe 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.

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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.

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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.

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