Curbing Aggressive Behaviors With A Jack Russell Terrier [Top Tips]


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Jack Russells have a reputation for being wild dogs with some aggressive behaviors. While most of this is nothing more than lousy information on the internet, some aspects of the discussion could be worth having.

Depending on the training a Jack Russell receives, in addition to some other critical elements of the process, a Jack Russell may or may not display aggressive behaviors.

The key is learning how to deal with an aggressive Jack Russell Terrier, reduce aggressive behavior and ultimately teach your Jack Russell to become a calmer and more collected dog.

That is what the rest of this discussion is going to detail today.

We will discuss what you, as the owner, can do to reduce aggressive behavior.

We will also cover how to recognize aggressive behavior and the steps you can take to socialize your Jack Russell to be a friendly and non-aggressive dog.

Let’s start diving into the details.

Understanding Basic Needs and Sticking To The Basics First

When it comes to Jack Russell Terriers, you have probably noticed that we discuss the basics almost non-stop.

It’s not that we want to repeat the same information so often.

It’s that the same information ultimately is the most important with so many aspects when it comes to this dog breed.

The first thing you need to understand is that Jack Russells have basic needs that need to be met; otherwise, undesirable behaviors will show their face more often.

The first thing you need to understand is that Jack Russells have basic needs that need to be met; otherwise, undesirable behaviors will show their face more often.

Outside of food and shelter, exercise is one of the most important.

With exercise, love, and affection, this dog breed is highly trainable.

It will display fewer behaviors you try to avoid, such as aggression.

We have a guide on this blog that you can check out that covers everything you need to know about providing basic care to a Jack Russell Terrier.

I highly recommend you start by reading that guide, and then circle back to this discussion.

Mainly because you shouldn’t move into phase 2 of curbing aggressive behaviors until you understand the fundamentals.

However, let’s assume that you do have a good grasp of a JRT’s basic needs.

If that’s the case, we need to move into the other keys you need and want to implement to reduce aggressive behavior with a Jack Russell Terrier.

Understand The Difference Between Aggression and Playful Behavior

The next thing that will greatly impact your abilities to train a Jack Russell or reduce aggressive behavior is simply understanding what is aggressive and what is not.

While aggression shouldn’t be overly challenging to spot, it can sometimes be.

Jack Russells are also highly energetic and playful dogs.

I happened to have another dog that I socialized and warmed up to, my Jack Russell, immediately and patiently in the beginning.

Even with that effort, my Jack Russell will still play fight and nip by larger yellow lab every day.

Especially first thing in the morning when they both go outside to potty together.

It’s been a behavior trait and social interaction they have had together for 4 years.

While Luna (my Jack Russell Terrier) will make growling or aggressive noises, she 100% means no harm to my big dog.

She never fully bites or causes any harm.

It’s simply playing.

This could easily be mistaken for aggression by someone who didn’t understand what was happening.

Play fighting could easily be mistaken for aggression by someone who didn’t understand what was happening. Jack Russell Terrier

Don’t train your Jack Russell not to be playful, and make sure you fully understand what is aggressive and what is not aggressive before you start actively trying to intervene with situations.

Socialize Your Jack Russell Terrier As Much As Possible Immediately

The next best thing you can do for your own sanity and Jack Russells social life in the future is immediately begin the socialization process.

If you want your JRT to be good with other dogs because you intend to be in social situations where other pets may be around, you need to get your Jack Russell to use to this as a puppy and continue at it as they grow and mature.

Start right when you get home.

Getting your Jack Russell comfortable with the environment they will be in the most frequently will ultimately reduce stress for your dog and allow them to behave accordingly.

Getting your Jack Russell comfortable with the environment they will be in the most frequently will ultimately reduce stress for your dog and allow them to behave accordingly.

Remain patient and keep repeating this process with supervision until you feel comfortable with how your JRT behaves around other people, other animals, and in social situations that they may not partake in daily.

Trust me, your JRT will calm down in these situations and handle social interactions much better after enough time.

Avoid Stressful Social Situations That Could Spark Aggression

Whether you have successfully or not successfully socialized your Jack Russell, you need to realize when to avoid situations altogether.

This is not only for the safety of the individuals present and the animals, but it’s also just a headache saver in general.

If you don’t know how your JRT will respond to a situation or if it’s a social situation you can avoid, I recommend just avoiding it.

I would personally not allow a dog I haven’t seen Luna interact with to just freely roam my backyard without supervision.

Jack Russells can sometimes be a bit moody and can also become territorial.

Jack Russells can sometimes be a bit moody and can also become territorial.

Even if you feel good in general that it won’t be an issue, I’d, at the very least, provide adequate supervision to ensure nothing happens that could jeopardize either pet’s safety.

Understand That Jack Russells Won’t Always Play Nice With Other Dogs or Animals

This might be one of the tidbits of advice I can give you that you don’t find on every other website you read.

The truth of the matter is simple.

Jack Russell Terriers are not at the top of the list when it comes to dogs that always play nice with other dogs.

Jack Russell Terriers are not at the top of the list when it comes to dogs that always play nice with other dogs. Jack Russell and Siberian Husky

Especially dogs of the same sex or other terriers.

Jack Russells, as stated before, are very protective of their owners and property and are very set in their ways once trained.

I’m not saying that Jack Russells are overly aggressive dogs.

This also isn’t true.

I’m simply stating that the sooner you understand that a Jack Russell doesn’t win a gold medal for being the friendliest dog with other dogs, the better off you will be.

This will help you consistently provide supervision because you can understand how this dog can sometimes behave.

The Takeaway

Jack Russells are certainly not an overly aggressive dog breed.

Especially with proper training and socializing.

In fact, I’d argue that this dog breed is one of the most loving, loyal, and affectionate dogs you can adopt.

This doesn’t mean I don’t recommend supervision with other animals or some basic common sense when it comes to some social interactions a Jack Russell may encounter.

Actively reward your Jack Russell for calm and inviting behaviors and continue training and learning.

Over time, any acts of aggression will reduce, but you have to remain diligent, consistent, and patient.

Luna and I wish you the best of luck with your Jack Russell Terriers and the journey ahead of you.

Josh Martin- Founder and Creator of Terrier Owner

Josh Martin is the proud owner of a female Jack Russell Terrier Named Luna. Josh founded TerrierOwner.com to share the stories of owning a Terrier and to help all terrier owners with the struggles, excitement and common questions that come with being a new terrier parent.

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