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My dad has a JRT (named Jack--original right? haha...)that I babysit for a week to a month at a time quite frequently. He has some personality issues--we call it Napoleon complex? We think he came from a puppy mill but not exactly sure. My older step sister bought him off a friend, then gave him to my dad because my dad and the JRT got along pretty well. I say they have similar personalities! They both get cranky at the same time... when my dad raises his voice at me, the dog lets out a low growl... that sort of thing.

He's a great dog -- super obedient, energetic, but also very strange. If he hears a squeak or toot sound (lol) he FREAKS OUT, growls, barks, shows teeth... charges if you come close... but then eventually cowers and hides. Its the only thing he seems fearful of, because he barks and runs towards other people and dogs as if hes the hulk.

The vet has us give him anxiety medication for when he gets into 'crazy mode' but a lot of times I'll make the squeak accidentally (chair will scoot across the floor...) that sort of thing. We've only been able to give it to him if we anticipate situations where 'weird noises' might happen (4th of July and other loud holidays).

Anyone have any ideas on how to make him calm down? Or had a similar experience? Nobody in my family has ever hit him or anything, we think something might have scarred him in the puppy mill?
 

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Puppy mills produce dogs with unfortunate temperaments. I would call a positive method behaviorist. If that can't be done, look up desensitization. I believe kikopup on YouTube has a video on it.
 

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Exercise should make him calm down quite a bit. Love me some JRT's great at working a blood trail too got a real good nose on them.
 

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Agree with both of the above. A veterinary behaviorist could also determine that the JRT has anxiety that requires daily medication.

My sister's JRT, unfortunately, does NOT get enough exercise, and therefore is very hard to handle. Exhausting a JRT can be tough business--they have almost endless energy--but you must try. Long walks, fetch, training games, etc. That could help a lot simply because when a dog is tired, he's generally too tired to even behave badly or strangely.
 
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