How To Stop Your Jack Russell From Biting and Nipping

By John Martin - May 2, 2022

Jack Russell puppy biting owner's hand

It is adorable when your young Jack Russell pup skips around, occasionally biting and nipping at you. These little furry friends are prone to biting at things during their teething phase or when they are very small.

This, however, is not normal for them as adults. Many owners mistakenly assume that Jack Russell Terriers are naturally aggressive due to their tendencies to bite and nip, but this is not the case.

Why Does My Jack Russell Bite Me?

There are many ways in which you can train your Jack Russell to not exhibit this behavior. Before you look into possible treatments for your Jack Russell’s biting and nipping issue, you need to be aware of why they are doing this in the first place.

They Are Simply Learning About the World Around Them

You must realize that young dogs, such as your Jack Russell, use their mouths as their primary instrument for learning about the world. A lot of the early socialization process happens while a Jack Russell is small, and they prefer to try out new things and start learning with their keen puppy teeth.

Dogs cannot communicate the way human beings do, so biting and nipping is their way of learning about the world and exploring. They are not doing this out of aggression, especially if this behavior is seen at a very young age.

This does not mean that you should encourage this behavior. Dogs are very intelligent creatures and they can easily understand cues from humans.

If you make it clear from a young age that biting and nipping are not good habits, your Jack Russell will change its nature.

They Are Teething

Teething is another primary factor of biting and nipping in Jack Russell Terriers. Whenever their new permanent teeth will begin to erupt, putting a tremendous amount of pressure on their gums and produce pain and soreness.

The most common technique for a dog to cope with distress is to gnaw on anything available. This behavior is seen among humans too, as babies are given chewing toys so their gums can feel less sore.

As a result, your dog will try to bite and nip at your wrists, feet, and even your favorite pair of shoes. Make sure you have more than enough chew toys and other objects they may use to relieve pain healthily while also reinforcing that biting the skin with their teeth is not a good idea.

You can use popular chew toys to reinforce healthy behavior and make your Jack Russell see that biting and nipping is not acceptable behavior.

It is normal for your Jack Russell to be moody or slightly aggressive during this phase. This is just temporary, so you need not worry about this behavior continuing over time.

How to Make My Jack Russell Stop Biting and Nipping?

Now that you have a fair idea as to why your Jack Russell keeps biting and nipping, you can follow a few methods to make sure your dog grows out of this habit. Adult dogs usually continue this behavior when these actions are not rectified early on.

Remember that Jack Russells are not aggressive dogs, and they are very responsive to positive reinforcement.

Make Sure You Have Enough Chew Toys at Home

Always keep a supply of toys on hand for your Jack Russell. You must have these products on hand for your Jack Russell to chew on the appropriate items and not bite your hands.

Having enough chew toys will keep your dog stimulated at all times. The more you can teach your dog that this is the way to get rid of the gnawing and nipping sensation, the better.

Over time, your dog will get used to biting only the chew toys since it will notice the change in your behavior when it bites you, versus when it bites on a toy.

Try to Expose Your Dog to More Social Settings

Socializing your Jack Russell Terrier as soon as possible is among the most helpful things you can do for them. This includes exposing your Jack Russell to a variety of social settings, such as being around other animals, neighbors, and relatives, and, of course, ensuring that they are exposed to your children as soon as possible.

While this may not completely eradicate play nipping and biting, it will assist to prevent future hostile biting habits. This is because they have been accustomed to similar settings and are at ease in social situations.

Adult dogs usually tend to display aggressive tendencies when they are scared or feel uneasy, and socializing with your dog from a young age will make it more receptive to different social settings.

Make Use of “No” and “Ouch”

Have you ever wondered how dogs can understand when you want them to perform actions such as “sit”, “fetch”, “shake” or “hand”?

Dogs do not understand the literal meaning behind any of these terms. They do, however, learn from habit.

For example, if you say the word “no” or “ouch” whenever it bites you, over time your dog will associate these words with displeasure on your part. Once this is conditioned in your dog, it will not repeat this behavior because it will know that you disapprove.

It is just like training your dog to fetch, sit down or shake hands. Over time, the dog will understand the cues behind these particular words and execute appropriate actions.

Try Positive Reinforcement

A Jack Russell is a very intelligent and sensitive animal. It can function very closely to a human child.

We all know that most young children tend to only do things they are expressly forbidden from doing, and it isn’t much different for a dog. Hence, instead of showing it what not to do, try to focus on what to do.

As already mentioned, when you use the words “ouch” or “no” to express your displeasure, show your Jack Russell that following the right behavior will be rewarded. You can give your dog a small treat every time it listens to your commands and cues.

This will create positive reinforcement, and the dog will no longer act out or engage in biting or nipping because it knows it will get a treat if it adheres to good behavior.

Make Sure Your Dog Gets Proper Physical Activity

The significance of movement for any dog cannot be emphasized enough. This does not imply that dogs who do not get enough exercise will imbibe biting and nipping habits.

Just like human beings, dogs also release their anxieties, energies, and frustration through exercise. Your Jack Russell may be moody because it does not get enough physical activity.

As a result, the pent-up energy and frustration can often manifest in the form of biting and nipping. Your dog may not necessarily exhibit these under normal situations, but the lack of exercise can make it unleash pent-up tension in this way.

Consider engaging in more physical activities with your Jack Russell, such as going on walks, playing fetch, swimming, and running. You will see a noticeable change in your dog’s overall mood and behavior when it gets enough exercise.

Every Living Being Is a Work in Progress, so Never Give Up on Your Dog

With the right training, your Jack Russell will normally get better. There is no way to avoid biting and nipping for your dog as a pup since every breed around the world gets to learn about their environment using their mouths and noses.

Teething is also a natural and unavoidable part of life, and you must be patient with your Jack Russell throughout this period. Be tolerant with your dog and show it love and care.

Many dog owners appear to believe that once they’ve accomplished toilet training and gotten the basic instructions out of the way, they’re done with practice and training. This could hardly be more untrue.

You must work with your Jack Russell continuously if you want them to continue evolving and maturing into the best dog you can adopt. Continue to enforce what is wrong and right, as well as confront your dog when it is not listening to you.

Biting and other bad behaviors will be drastically reduced if you work with your dog regularly.

What If My Jack Russell Still Continues to Bite and Nip?

Your dog may be biting and nipping for reasons that are not associated with their physical development. Behavioral problems are not limited to human beings alone.

This could be a sort of hostility that requires the services of an experienced trainer or more in-depth instruction. You can take your god to the vet to get it checked out.

Sometimes, serious health conditions can make dogs restless and frustrated, resulting in biting and nipping. If this behavior is abrupt, then it is important to visit the vet’s office to rule out any such health issues.

In case your Jack Russell continues to bite and nip in certain situations only, you can use a muzzle. This will not let your dog bite or nip around strangers and also reassure people who may get scared by your dog’s actions.

Also Read: 45 of the Most Popular Jack Russell Mixes

In Conclusion

Patience, love, and encouragement can work wonders in making your dog well trained and responsible. Biting and nipping can be both due to physical distress as well as emotional problems.

Instead of reprimanding your dog or punishing it, try to understand the rationale behind why it is suddenly acting up. If you follow the points mentioned here, you will see the pup grow into a faithful and loving companion.