We have all heard the old saying: Its hard to teach an old dog, new tricks.
Many laugh and say it is silly, but it rings true more so than most think.
A puppy, during its developing years not only bonds with its human, it will learn its socializing and behavior traits, that it will carry well into its adulthood and beyond. That is why positive reinforcements of unwanted behavior has to begin at day one, in order to be most effective.
You have a JRT, and have raised it from a puppy. You snuggled it, spoiled it, and even, at times, backed down when trying to keep it from acting up. Although you think to yourself "she is just a puppy, she will grow out of it" you are doing you, and your canine friend, more harm than good.
Like most canines, JRT's, even puppies, can become aggressive and nip or bite when feeling forced into what they consider a stressful, unwanted situation. Like any habit, nipping and biting are learned when a JRT pushes its obedience boundaries and realizes that acting up in such a way will produce the desired effect...the encroaching party backs off.
But, how do you train your JRT not to nip and bite?
There are several situations that bring on the aggressive behavior and listed below are a few methods for alleviating your JRT from feeling the need to lash out.
1) First and foremost, you need to teach and train your JRT to listen to you. You need to establish that you are the alpha of the household, and what you say goes. Reward good behavior with treats, kisses, and nuzzles. Correct bad behavior with time outs, crate time, or short leashing them in a quiet area of the home.
2) Strangers or visitors come to call, and your JRT automatically picks up on the change of mood in its surroundings. Instead of snuggling or holding your JRT, which they see as a reward for their tense, off-standish mood (which may in time lead to nipping a visitor), take your JRT to another area of the house, preferably one with a door. That way, you will separate your JRT from the cause of the agitation and anxiety.
3) In most JRT's, nipping and lashing out can merely be a sign of too much pent up energy. JRT's are very active, hyper canines, and if they don't get the occasional chance to stretch their legs, and release that energy, they find other, not so pleasant ways to release it.
4) Have friends and family aid you in the care of your JRT. By being socialized with people, other than its alpha, your JRT will not be as agitated or anxious when meeting strangers. This will also help in reducing the feeling of needing to be protective and on guard, which can lead to nipping and biting. Socialization with other canines/animals will aid in decreasing their need to be protective and aggressive as well.
5) Begin desensitizing your JRT from early puppy hood. Slowly introducing them to water, toe nail clippers, and grooming clippers as soon as possible, will help for years to come. They will learn to not be afraid, and act out when being bathed, trimmed, or clipped, and thusly will not feel the need to nip and bite.
Lastly, keep in mind that a JRT is one of the smartest breeds around. They learn fast, retain training, and are always working to please their alpha...you.
Article written by: Tracy Few
Pictures obtained from the website: http://www.therealjackrussell.com/fun/galleryshow.php