Jack Russells are naturally suspicious and slightly wary of people. This can often be seen in their demeanour and body language, particularly when they first meet someone. When Jack Russells are confronted by a dog that they aren’t familiar with they sometimes growl.
While this behaviour is quite normal, it can be detrimental if it impedes your ability to go on walks as when out and about your dog might perceive it as a threat if another dog is growling at them. Likewise, it can be detrimental to the relationship between you and your pet if your Jack Russell begins growling at you.
Many Jack Russells begin to growl because they are territorial and have a very protective streak. We’re going to look at this aspect of Jack Russell terrier behaviour, along with the reasons why Jack Russells growl or bark at other dogs, and later at their owners.
How to stop your Jack Russell from growling
Few things are scarier than getting growled at by a dog. A common thing owners do that makes the situation worse is to give their dog affection when growling occurs at a family member.
Although you may think this shows your dog that you love it, the exact opposite happens. Giving your dog affection when it growls at someone will often make it associate growling with affection, which will only make the behaviour worse.
Let’s have a look at a few ways to stop your Jack Russell from growling.
1. Give your dog some space
It’s important to be mindful of how much affection you give your Jack Russell when it growls. One way to stop this is to give your dog some space from other family members, particularly those that it has growled at previously.
2. Make your Jack Russell more comfortable
A common reason for Jack Russells to growl is because they are shy, anxious or nervous. If this is the case then it’s important you take the appropriate steps to make your dog feel more at ease around other dogs and people. The first step you should take is to visit a dog trainer.
3. Strive to put your dog’s mind at ease
If you train your Jack Russell from a young age to cope with situations that make it feel uncomfortable, then it will be much easier to stop it growling in the future. To do this you need to expose your dog to those situations when it has not had time to become comfortable with them.
4. Teach your dog that you control him
Another reason why Jack Russells growl is because they believe they are in control. They don’t respect their owners and are not afraid to show it. To stop this, you need to start training your dog from an early age to respect you as its owner.
5. Do not let your dog guard its food bowl
Most dogs will growl when they are protecting their food from a child or another dog. This is more common in Jack Russells than any other breed. It’s important that you do not let your dog guard its food bowl, even if you have trained it to.
6. Give your Jack Russell a job to do
One of the best ways to stop your Jack Russell from growling is to give it something to do. This is because they are more likely to be unhappy about something if they have nothing else occupying their time.
7. Provide your dog with plenty of exercise
Another reason why Jack Russells can growl is that they are bored and don’t have enough exercise. If your dog is barking or growling, this might be a sign that it’s not getting enough physical activity.
8. Teach your dog to be gentle
Another reason that Jack Russells can growl is that they are too rough with you or other dogs. In order to stop this from happening, you should teach your dog how to play gently with children and other pets.
Why Jack Russells growl
The exact reason for a Jack Russell growl will depend on the situation and the individual dog. In addition to this, different breed types within the Jack Russell Terrier family can display their annoyance in different ways. There may be a few reasons why your Jack Russell is growling. Let’s have a look at them.
1. Territorial Growls
Jack Russells are territorial by nature. This means that they can be protective when confronted by an unfamiliar dog or person. Often, you’ll see a Jack Russell growling with their body turned to the side of the intruder and their head low, baring their teeth.
2. Growls as a warning to other animals
Jack Russells aren’t naturally aggressive but they will sometimes growl before biting when they feel the need to defend themselves. This happens when the dog feels backed into a corner or trapped and has no other means of escape.
3. Growls to show aggression
Jack Russells are not always growling because they feel threatened or are protecting themselves. Sometimes, they growl because they are being aggressive towards another animal. This is the case when your dog is more interested in getting its own way than it is in the feelings of the other animal.
4. Growls to show fear or anxiety
Sometimes Jack Russells growl when they are feeling anxious or nervous. This can be the case when they are meeting a new dog, going to the vet, or being introduced to someone for the first time.
5. Growling to show annoyance
Jack Russells will often growl when they are annoyed. This is the case when you tell them off for getting underfoot, jumping up, or barking at passers-by.
6. They are defending you
This is the most common reason for Jack Russells to growl. As a breed, they are very loyal and have a tendency to bond themselves closely to one or two people. In their mind, they are defending you from anyone that might be invading their territory, even a family member.
I hope this book was able to help you to recognize different types of behavior in your Jack Russell and also gain some insights into the dog’s temperament. Also, I hope that through learning how to stop a Jack Russell from growling, you have been able to establish a closer relationship with your dog.