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I have a female Jack Russell puppy. 11 weeks at this point. So far crate training and potty training is going well. No big challenges there. As a novice puppy owner I’ve been able to teach basic commands like “sit”, “down”, “leave it” using treats. So that also seems to be going ok and leads me to think she is trainable.

But the challenge I have is with her biting and chewing. Yes, I do realize it’s a normal puppy behavior and there are tons of Youtube and other information out there on how to deal with it but I am not sure if it works. One method I see a lot is redirect. That is when the puppy bites, redirect her attention to a chew toy. The challenge I have with this is that inevitably the puppy get more and more aroused and goes for my hand, my sleeve, my ankles, basically wants to bite everything is sight. And once she gets excited all the previous training like “sit”, “down”, “leave it” goes out the window. Same thing with smelling the grass and whatever else when we are outside. When she is locked into some scent, it’s very hard to lure her away to get her attention back on me.

This kind of hyper behavior and short attention span maybe more accentuated because she is a Jack Russell. And I’m sure there is some training technique I am not applying correctly. So is this something I am better off leaving to a professional trainer or does this get better as she matures?


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She is a terrier. These are very active prey driven dogs bred to be a bit independent as they were bred to ride with the Huntsman and when the fox went to ground he would loose the JRT who would go under ground and drag the fox out of its den and the hounds would kill it if the JRT had not already done that.

You are dealing with a VERY high energy breed and you are describing puppy "zoomies." Very normal. When it is overwhelming, crate her until she is calm and then take her out and then resume play. Zoomies sometimes manifest as a bite fest.. and other times as running crazily.
 

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Our JRT mix loves to bite on shoes and ankles walking by. We also discovered that she likes to chew as a pastime. So now we always have a variety of chew toys and rotate them, keep some in rooms she doesn't go to often so they are interesting when she is there to enjoy them, always choose the crunchy types of treats.
As mentioned above, they are a very high energy breed. Try playing more, running more, mentally stimulating the puppy more with thinking games and training. A puppy class is also good for interaction and mental stimulation. A tired dog is usually a good dog.
 

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Our JRT mix loves to bite on shoes and ankles walking by. We also discovered that she likes to chew as a pastime. So now we always have a variety of chew toys and rotate them, keep some in rooms she doesn't go to often so they are interesting when she is there to enjoy them, always choose the crunchy types of treats.
As mentioned above, they are a very high energy breed. Try playing more, running more, mentally stimulating the puppy more with thinking games and training. A puppy class is also good for interaction and mental stimulation. A tired dog is usually a good dog.
I’ve been working on fetch as an exercise outlet since walking/running hasn’t been very effective because she isn’t good at walking/running straight on leash yet. Today, we made a good stride on fetch so I am hopeful we will have a good activity to tire her out.

How old is yours? Is it a puppy like mine and you are working through the biting? Or is it a grown dog that still likes to bite? I am hoping that this excited biting behavior goes away with training and also as the dog grows older.


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Training classes are Always a good idea with any new dog. Just make sure it’s a reputable Positive Reinforcement trainer.
Jack Russell’s are especially feisty. Lol
 

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I’ve been working on fetch as an exercise outlet since walking/running hasn’t been very effective because she isn’t good at walking/running straight on leash yet. Today, we made a good stride on fetch so I am hopeful we will have a good activity to tire her out.

How old is yours? Is it a puppy like mine and you are working through the biting? Or is it a grown dog that still likes to bite? I am hoping that this excited biting behavior goes away with training and also as the dog grows older.


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Our JRT mix is 6 years old but came to us under unfortunate circumstances, so just when we work out one issue, another seems to crop up. We acquired her when she was abandoned at 3 weeks old, infested with parasites, kidney stones, and sick. It took quite a few months to clean her up, get her UTD on shots, and treat the kidney stones and pneumonia. Therefore, she missed the socialization stage to meet people and other dogs. Initially she did not know how to be a dog because she had spent so much time under the care of humans. Going to the dog park or play dates were a joke because she would just go to sleep on our laps. She had to learn to greet and allow other dogs to greet her properly. These days she will interact but still not actually play with other dogs at the park. She does however, play with the other dogs in our household, so there is hope! We have struggled to keep her on the right track. I will admit that JRTs are challenging! And one of the most challenging dogs of my lifetime of having my own dogs for over 40 years.

That being said, Moose only started biting ankles and pant legs in the last year. She is fine when someone she knows and likes is in the room. But when they get up to leave, and I think threaten her people or space by movement, she starts with the biting. We have found that getting her tired out when someone is coming over (when we know and can plan ahead) helps to keep her well behaved. We are also working with her to reinforce that when the doorbell rings or someone is ready to leave (conversation has ended, they are going to exit the room, even if they have her sitting on their lap!), then Moose must move to her bed or mat by the door because that is the expected behavior. She is immediately rewarded with a high value treat (not given at any other time) the minute she complies with going to her spot. Takes a little more time to answer the door (we put a note on our door explaining that it may take us a minute, please be patient) and we ask anyone leaving to give us a minute to settle Moose to her spot.

I wouldn't focus so much on walking properly on a leash all the time at this age. When you go for a walk, use the first part of the walk for training the expected behavior. But puppies aren't perfect all the time and constant focus for the whole walk is a bit much until they are older. Even with our adult JRT on a walk, every once in a while we say "OK" and she knows she can go onto bushes to sniff, deviate off the sidewalk, or just follow her nose if I want to stand and converse with a human for longer than she can focus. Let your dog be a kid part of the time. Training is good, but not every minute needs to be a learning experience. Sometimes you just gotta have fun! Balls, squeaky toys, tug toys are all good ways to tire out a terrier. Terriers love things that squeak, more than anything in the world, except maybe food!

Moose is currently in "find the intruder" mode in our yard and home. We live on a large piece of property and Springtime brings a lot of animals around. She has sat at a retaining wall for hours and found a toad, squirrel, and mouse so far. Today she sat and stared at the truck in our pasture so my husband lifted the hood and found some sort of rodent debris in the engine bay. But she spent the better part of the morning climbing into the wheel well to worry whatever had been there. A few weeks ago she sat and stared at the pantry door for days...DAYS! I finally found some mouse droppings and decided to set traps. Eight mice later, Moose was satisfied that all was well in our castle and no longer fixated on the pantry. She moved on to the foyer for a couple of days where an unsuspecting mouse eventually came out of the coat closet and Moose carried it around in her mouth until she found me in the laundry room.

JRTs can be focused, as you can see from "intruder" mode, but puppies in general need time to play without focusing on a certain expected behavior...just let 'er rip. And although Moose can be focused for hours or days on something she is interested in, it doesn't mean that she wants to be focused on what I am interested in.

I've also learned with other dogs that the excited behavior sometimes does not dissipate until very late in life, so don't get your hopes up. Moose probably displays more excitable behavior now than she did as a puppy, but thankfully we have learned how to manage the behaviors. And being an adult dog we don't have to deal with messing in the house or not sleeping thru the night anymore. We had a Aussie shepherd/ whippet mix that was a ball of energy her whole life. When she walked in the room, every table top was immediately swept off of anything by her exuberant tail. I mentioned it to the vet once and she said to be careful what we wished for because a Aussie shepherd that isn't excited is usually an Aussie shepherd that is on its last legs. Sure enough, Sydney passed away about a week after she quit chasing rabbits in our pasture. I try to appreciate the excited behavior, but manage it at the same time because everyone needs to have a relaxing evening once in a while.

With regards to the excited biting, you can try calmly returning the puppy to the crate. Don't act angry, just matter of fact. However, use the crate for time outs with caution. We had one dog that learned to dislike being crated at night because I believe she associated it with being punished or reprimanded at other times of the day. Or, you can try pushing the puppy away as littermates would do. I have had some success with using any phrase that suits you to show displeasure ("ach" "ouch" "um nope!") and push gently on a shoulder or hip, or walk away. We keep a baby gate across the family room door when we have a puppy, and then we can easily leave the puppy in the family room and show displeasure by leaving the room, or we can return the puppy to the gated family room if the behavior is taking place somewhere else in the house.
 
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