Why Do Jack Russell Terriers Whine? [Top 4 Reasons]


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If you recently adopted a Jack Russell Terrier, you may be starting to notice some of the behaviors of this dog breed that leave you either confused or concerned.

Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what this dog needs.

Whining with Jack Russells is one of those behaviors that can be frustrating to deal with.

It’s a behavior and personality trait of this dog breed you will likely deal with often.

This makes it imperative to understand why a Jack Russell may whine and what could cause a Jack Russell Terrier to whine frequently.

The rest of this discussion will begin covering this topic in depth.

By the end of this discussion, you should clearly understand what may be causing your Jack Russell to whine, how often it occurs, and what you, as the owner, should do about it.

To kickstart the conversation, it helps to understand a few specific personality traits of the Jack Russell Terrier.

Jack Russells Have a Unique Personality

One of the first things you need to understand about the Jack Russell Terrier, is that they are incredibly unique about a few specific things.

Jack Russells have an unmatched loyalty and love towards their families and owners, and Jack Russells have a strong need to please their owners.

They love to do anything possible to be near you and show you what they are capable of.

Jack Russells have an unmatched loyalty and love towards their families and owners.

Jack Russells tend to get a bit uneasy when they can’t be near you. Especially if they know you are nearby.

It’s one of the reasons I dedicated a post on this website discussing why a Jack Russell Terrier will follow you everywhere that you can read here.

Understanding these key personality traits about Jack Russell may help paint a clearer picture of why Jack Russell is known to whine so often.

In many situations where whining takes place, it’s much easier to distinguish why than you may think.

Next, let’s dive into those details and discuss the top and most common reasons a Jack Russell will whine.

At least from my point of view and experience owning and raising this dog breed.

Top 4 Reasons That Cause Whining With a Jack Russell Terrier

1.) Whining For Attention

Whining for attention can be slightly annoying, but you learn to live with it and find ways to eliminate it as you grow into your relationship with your Jack Russell Terrier.

Luna (my Jack Russell Terrier) would constantly whine if I did anything that didn’t involve her.

Especially in the beginning.

We also have another dog in the home, so her watching interactions between my family and the other dog would even make her somewhat jealous, which would result in further whining.

If this dog breed can see or hear you, they believe they need to be around you.

It is undoubtedly apparent whether this is part of the protection instincts they feel they need to display or just a natural loyalty behavior trait.

If this dog isn’t getting attention, doesn’t get exercise, or doesn’t like what they see you doing with another pet or even a person in the home, they will not be happy.

An unhappy Jack Russell is prone to whine and express that they are not satisfied and want some attention and love.

An unhappy Jack Russell is prone to whine and express that they are not satisfied and want some attention and love.

The best way to counter this behavior is to make sure you show them attention and love when it’s feasible.

You don’t have to go out of your way to do so.

Make sure to implement some exercise and take the time to provide some care and one on one bonding time with a Jack Russell Terrier, and the jealousy and whining will begin to decrease.

2.) Whining Because of Pain or Injury

While less common, a Jack Russell whining due to pain or an injury could undoubtedly be the reason and a cause for concern.

I have not personally dealt with this being the potential issue with my Jack Russell but have experienced it with my other dog.

Sometimes it’s as simple as a toenail being broken or injured, and sometimes it may not be as easy to distinguish the issue.

Be sure that if your Jack Russell Terrier seems to be whining more than usual or out of nowhere, you consider the possibility that they may need attention from a vet and could be dealing with something more serious.

3.) Whining Out of Boredom

We discussed this when we talked about the potential for a Jack Russell whining simply because they want to be around you.

However, we didn’t discuss that; even after the potential separation anxiety phase with your JRT has passed, your Jack Russell may whine purely because they are bored.

And trust me, this dog breed gets bored relatively quickly.

your Jack Russell may whine purely because they are bored.

Jack Russells are considered a working dog breed and prefer to be active and on the move.

Sitting around is not a recipe for success or happiness with a Jack Russell Terrier.

If you are dealing with your Jack Russell whining too often or believe this is the case, try mixing things up a bit.

Try new toys for your Jack Russell and interact with them.

Give your Jack Russell more exercise and give them more chance to burn off energy by running around in the backyard or playing a game of fetch.

4.) Potty Time or Feeding Time

One of the last reasons you need to be aware of when it comes to a Jack Russell Terrier whining is the chance that they may just need to go outside and go potty or they are hungry.

A potty-trained Jack Russell will not enjoy entertaining the idea of making a mistake inside the home, so if you hear whining, it may be best to allow them to go outside.

A potty-trained Jack Russell will not enjoy entertaining the idea of making a mistake inside the home, so if you hear whining, it may be best to allow them to go outside.

Lastly, if you are new to owning a dog, it’s 100% possible that a Jack Russell is whining because they are hungry.

Maybe you haven’t figured out the perfect feeding schedule yet or have a routine set in stone yet.

That’s okay.

However, if your Jack Russell has been whining for food or water, it’s best to give it to them and adjust your schedule in the future to accommodate your JRT’s needs and feeding times that seem to make the most sense for them.

The Takeaway

Whining is a behavior and personality trait you need to get used to with your Jack Russell Terrier.

It’s going to happen, and it’s not something you can avoid altogether.

However, you can certainly reduce this behavior and eliminate some unneeded whining with your Jack Russell by caring and paying attention to your Jack Russells needs.

Nonetheless, we wish you the best of luck with your Jack Russell Terrier and the journey you have 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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