Why Do Jack Russells Shake?

why do jack russells shake

In general, Jack Russell Terriers are known as working dogs. This dog was initially used to catch foxes by the hunters because of its stamina and endurance.

Because of their stamina and endurance, it is no surprise that Jack Russells are energetic dogs. Jack Russells have a strong hunting instinct and they love to chase squirrels or any other small animal that runs away from them.

When we watch them, they seem to do it all with fluidity and grace. They run, they jump, they dig – and sometimes they shake.

Why Do Jack Russells Shake?

Jack Russells shake because they need to release excess energy in their body that has built up during the day. They are known to be energetic dogs and are consistently ranked as one of the most energetic dog breeds.

Typically, shaking is associated with illnesses or other physical conditions however, in the case of Jack Russell dogs, shaking is natural and normal.

Other common reasons Jack Russells shake

While we’ve already established that, for the most part, Jack Russells shake because they need to release excess energy, they can also shake because of the following reasons.

1.) They’re cold

If you have a Jack Russell dog and you think it is shaking because of its excess energy, check if he is getting cold. If the temperature of the room your Jack Russell is in is too low, he might be shaking because he can’t tolerate the low temperature.

2.) They’re scared

Jack Russels are naturally very alert and they react to any stimuli immediately. They are very scared of strangers and unfamiliar noises or movements. This might cause them to shake because they are nervous. However, remember that this does not apply to only Jack Russells.

3.) They’re excited

Jack Russels are known to be extremely active and energetic dogs but they do have a playful side as well. If you just played with your Jack Russell and now you’re not paying attention to it, you might notice it shaking out of excitement.

When Jack Russells are excited, they tend to shake even more than when they’re nervous.

4.) They’re emotional

The Jack Russell Terrier is an emotional dog. They easily develop attachments with their owners and they experienced sadness, anger, fear, and other negative emotions, in the same manner, a human would experience them.

If you’re crying because you just lost a loved one and your Jack Russell runs up to you to comfort you, he might be shaking because he feels your sadness just like a human would do.

5.) They’re in pain

If your Jack Russell is shaking uncontrollably and you have observed that he has been limping for the past few days, it might be because of pain. Jack Russells are known to be fast dogs and they might accidentally hurt themselves when chasing things.

They also get into a lot of accidents because of their fast movements. If a Jack Russell is in pain, he will definitely shake excessively.

How do you calm a Jack Russell?

The Jack Russell is a breed of dog that can be hyperactive and excitable. They have an innate desire to hunt and have a lot of energy. One of the hardest things for Jack Russell owners is to keep their dogs calm. You should always make an effort to calm a Jack Russell down.

Here are a few things that you can try.

1.) Gently rub and massage his belly

A Jack Russell loves to feel your touch and you can use this to your advantage. When you notice that your dog is shaking, gently rub his belly. He will feel more relaxed as a result. This is one of the best things you can do to calm down a Jack Russell.

2.) Talk to him softly

You might not believe it but dogs respond to the tone of your voice more than anything else. That’s why yelling at him when he does something wrong will only make him behave worse.

It is always better to talk to your dog softly and in a comforting manner as this will make him feel relaxed and calmer. Shaking dogs will always respond positively when they are spoken to in soothing tones.

3.) Give him a treat

If you have a Jack Russell and you think there is something wrong with him, then give him a special treat. If he is shaking because of excitement, then praise him instead of yelling at him.

4.) Take him out for a walk

If your Jack Russell is shaking because he’s cold, then you should take him out for a walk. If he is shaking because he’s anxious about something, then take him out for a walk as well. The adrenaline rush that comes with exercise will definitely help calm your dog down.

Make sure you put on his leash and that you’ll be walking in a quiet area where there are very few people. Also, make sure that the weather is okay as well since taking your dog outside when it’s too hot can also cause problems.

5.) Give him some space

Sometimes when your Jack Russell is shaking due to anxiety, he just needs a little bit of space. If you notice that your dog is always pacing around and he’s up all night, then you should let him have some space.

Let your Jack Russell out of his crate or let him run around the house for a few minutes. He will be more relaxed and will calm down as a result. Once he is out and has calmed down, then let him back in and give him some time with you before letting him back outside again.

Never use force with your Jack Russell as this will make things worse for him.

6.) Keep him away from children or other pets

If your Jack Russell is anxious because he’s afraid of children or other pets, then you should keep him away from them. Unfortunately, you can’t force your Jack Russell to be friends with other pets or children he doesn’t like.

However, if he is shaking, you should keep him away from them and give him some time to calm down.

7.) Get a dog behaviorist

Some dogs are simply born with anxiety issues while others develop them as they get older. If you keep on hearing that your Jack Russell is always shaking even though he’s been to the vet and everything looks great, then it might be best to get a dog behaviorist.

The expert will be able to give you some tips and tricks on how to get your Jack Russell’s mood back on track.


Jack Russells are small dogs with plenty of energy to burn. Their high level of energy means that they can get bored quite easily, so it makes sense that they’re constantly shaking their bodies.

This is often mistaken for a sign of anxiety but actually, it’s quite the opposite – Jack Russells do this because they have too much energy and need to release it.


  • Jan Pretorius

    Meet Jan Pretorius, the passionate dog lover and proud owner of the popular canine haven, JackRussellTerrierDog.com. Born and raised in a small town known for its love of animals, Jan’s journey into the world of dogs began at a young age, fueled by an innate connection with our four-legged companions.