Jack Russell Terriers can be quite hyper. Figuring out how to calm them down and handle them properly is an important aspect of having them in your family.
There are several measures and steps that you can try when it comes to calming these dogs down. You can go through these in further detail below.
Provide Some Exercise
It is important to provide regular physical exercise to your Jack Russell Terrier. These dogs are quite energetic and active, requiring ample activity on a daily basis so that they can let some of their energy out.
This can include long walks, runs, playing fetch or simply playing around together. This will tire them out more easily, allowing them to calm down.
Without this kind of regular exercise, however, they are bound to become restless, hyper and perhaps even aggressive.
Since they were also bred for hunting, they continue to carry some of that alertness, energy and fierceness even today.
Rub Their Belly
A good way to calm a Jack Russell down is by rubbing their belly. Since these dogs are temperamentally so excitable, giving your dog some gentle affection can be a good way to calm them down for the time being.
Make sure you gently initiate the process of rubbing their belly so that they will get the hint and lie down. Doing this for a few minutes should ideally be enough to get your dog to relax so that they can ultimately fall asleep.
However, make sure you do not do this in a playful manner, otherwise your dog might perceive it as an activity, making them even more excited than before.
Rub Their Stop
A dog’s stop is the part between their eyes that bridges their eyes and their skull. This appears as an indent between their eyes.
If your dog is too excitable and hyper in a given moment, then one of the things that you can try out is to rub their stop gently so that they can pause for a moment and calm down.
You can also try rubbing them between their ears and on their muzzle but only do this if there is a close and trustful bond between you and your dog, otherwise they might end up getting even more wound up.
A simple enough trick to calm your Jack Russell down is to look away and not give in to their signals or demands. This will alert your dog that you do not wish to play with them right now, allowing them to calm down a bit.
You should also avoid making eye contact with your dog at this point, as this will catch their attention and make them active again.
You can try this out by slowly moving around so that your back faces them. Do not do this in a way that suggests as this will be counterproductive.
This might not always work, so make sure you try out some other methods as well.
Hold Them Calmly
An effective way to calm your Jack Russell down is to hold them calmly in place without looking their way. You can place one or both of your hands on your dog’s shoulders while facing slightly away from them.
This will give your dog a moment to understand and respond, but they will eventually figure out what you are trying to convey to them.
This should then calm them down for the time being. Note that this will only work if your dog has a close bond with you and trusts you enough to listen.
Keep Distractions Away
If there are some other active distractions around your Jack Russell, then these are bound to excite them even more and cause them to leap into action. This will then make all your other efforts to calm them down futile.
Due to the hunting and prey drive that these dogs were bred into, they might wish to chase a rat or another animal if they come across them. This can also apply to babies or children in the house.
Try keeping these away from your dog whenever you are trying to calm them down.
Separate Your Dogs
In case the hyper behavior and excitability are stemming from the fact that you have other dogs in the house, it can be best to separate them for a moment so that they can both calm down without coming into contact with each other for some time.
Of course, do not do this each time you see your dogs playing around, as this could end up making them aggressive and fearful in the long run. It is only when they refuse to listen to you or calm down that you should carry this step out.
Apart from physical exercise, Jack Russells also benefit highly from mental stimulation. You should regularly provide them with this kind of stimulation so that they can use up some of their energy in dealing with this.
You could give them a job to do, such as fetching something or making their way around a certain task. There are also several dog puzzles that you can introduce to them so that they can work on solving them.
Giving them a chew toy or any other toy can also keep them occupied enough.
Play Calming Music
Playing some soothing and relaxing music can also sometimes work when it comes to calming your Jack Russell down. You can often find such music in the form of playlists on popular streaming apps or websites.
Simply turn these playlists on and ensure that your dog is nearby so that they can listen to it properly. Ideally, this should have a calming impact on your dog since it can calm their nerves considerably by reducing cortisol levels that are usually associated with stress.
Classical music, in particular, can help with this.
Most importantly, it is essential to provide regular and timely training to your dog so that they can learn to respond to your commands whenever you try to convey them.
Start training your Jack Russell Terrier from a young age so that they are more receptive to what you teach them. Once your dog gets older, it will become more and more difficult for you to train your dog.
Make sure you also regularly reinforce this kind of training through positive reinforcement. Essentially, your dog should obey your command or go to their safe space whenever they feel too hyper, restless or anxious.
Try a Clicker
You can provide clicker training to your dogs as a way of getting them to calm down and listen to you. You can do this by associating the clicker sound with a treat or reward that can then condition your dog to respond correctly to it each time.
It might take you some time to form this association, but once you manage to do so, your dog will be able to calm down simply at the sound of the clicker.
Make sure you give a treat, praise or reward to your dog and choose the right timing for carrying out this system.
Wait It Out
All of these methods described away can be pretty useful when it comes to getting your Jack Russell Terrier to calm down. However, it is likely that your dog will still keep repeating these behaviors, making it difficult for you to calm them down each time.
While you should still carry these methods out, you will also need to be extremely patient with your dog and wait for them to naturally calm down as they get a bit older.
Jack Russells, in particular, become calmer as they become mature and older. Playfulness and high energy in young dogs are good signs as long as they listen to you when you want to calm them down.
Seek Professional Help
Ultimately, if nothing else works and your dog continues to be hyper to the point of becoming aggressive, then it might be better for you to seek help from a professional trainer who is likely to have more techniques and tricks up their sleeve.
It can also help to get a medical checkup in case there is something else bothering your dog.
We have taken you through some effective ways that you can make use of to calm your Jack Russell Terrier down. Remember to train and socialize your dog from a young age while also making your home a safe space for them.