Jack Russells are highly energetic. Apart from their loyalty and unique personalities, did you know about their bark? Many experienced pet owners may have told you how their pet Jack Russells tend to yap their heads off. In that case, I can tell you this is no exaggeration.
However, the point is not to discourage you from parenting this particular breed. If you asked me, I’d wholeheartedly admit what a joy it is to have a Jack Russell as a pet. Sure, they have an insatiable need for physical and mental stimulation, but they’re quite fine dogs.
The problem most often lies in mishandling and improper treatment of Jacks. As born fox hunters, they’re agile, fast, aggressive, and fierce by nature. Therefore, it is not a piece of cake to keep up with the inexhaustible energies of a little Russell.
So does a Jack Russell bark too much? Yes, Jack Russell Terriers bark a lot. Like every other unacceptable habit, you have the power to curb and refine your dog’s personality. Proper training, obedience, and commands from an early age are the key to having a well-behaved pet, Jack.
Let’s look into the details below.
Nature of Jack Russells
Besides barking incessantly, Jack Russells are also intuitive by nature. Of course, this comes as no surprise since the breed came into existence particularly to serve as working dogs. Their sole purpose in the early 1900s was to serve as hunting companions. That means being fast and agile enough to chase foxes through their underground hideouts and being fearless in the face of fierce opponents.
The breed originated in England but continued to develop in Australia until it turned into the breed many of us own today. As a result, every Jack Russell alive has a natural protective instinct, a prey drive, and a territorial attitude.
The most attractive features of this breed are their loyalty and protectiveness towards their pet parents. This can translate into being territorial when it comes to their home. This is one reason why a Jack may bark its head off at times when it feels that others are threatening its territories. You will often note Jacks showing particular hostility towards little children and other pets in the house.
This is because once Russells form a deep attachment with their owners, they cannot stand to see others get close to the said owner. Apart from the jealousy factor, several other reasons could also cause your pet to bark excessively.
Terriers began as baying dogs, meaning they had to flush the foxes away with their barks. Thus, the breed today cannot help but be vocal. Moving objects, loud noises, other animals, small children, sensing danger, poor training, lack of attention and etc., are other reasons that make Jacks bark more.
Reverend John Russell bred these baying terriers in the 1800s to have the perfect fox hunters. These dogs came into existence to chase the cunning opponents away. Hence, they cannot help but have a tenacious streak in them.
If you would care about the hunting side of your terrier, you’d find it a remarkable hunter. Their inclinations, sharp intuition, intelligence, and others set them apart as a superior breed. Sadly, many mistake these fine dogs for being dangerous creatures and banish them from society.
Jack Russells Need to Release Energy
It is important to acknowledge these dogs’ historical background and understand the kind of inexhaustible energy residing in their bodies. Being pet dogs now, they cannot help but resort to various means to release their pent up energies. Often, barking is the only outlet available, and the dogs have no choice but to resort to it.
Jacks are hyper dogs, and each comes with a bundle of energy. The key to curbing this is giving the pet lots of physical exercise, playtime, proper training, and mental stimulation. This will ensure it never creates any unnecessary excitement in the form of crazy barking later on.
If your Jack feels danger is near or any unexpected noise or sight, it could send your dog into a frenzy. This is why it is imperative to give your dog all kinds of exposure and experiences to familiarize it with different sounds, sights, and environments. Once your dog feels comfortable and secure, it will not jump at every sound and sight close to it.
Boredom, Loneliness, or Attention May Cause Them to Bark
One important fact to acknowledge is that Jack Russells are working dogs, so a sedentary lifestyle just does not suit them. If your dog has hours of inactivity, if you leave it alone for too long and it is boring, then it will surely bark away.
Anxiety and stress result from boredom or loneliness for dogs. Hence, you shouldn’t be surprised to hear your Jack bark the house down when you return after eight hours at work.
Expressing Its Territorial Rights
Like I mentioned above, Jack Russell terriers are very territorial. Once they become committed to their pet parents, the dogs generally cannot tolerate other beings sharing their space. They are extremely loyal and fiercely protective dogs.
These two characteristics express themselves as boisterous and protectiveness, causing the dog to bark madly when strangers and other animals approach their only family and territories.
Being hyper dogs, Jacks also tend to get excited too easily at almost everything. They love playtime, and combining this with their local nature means crazy barking every time they’re at play with you or someone else.
If your dog finds something particularly fascinating, you will often find it excitedly barking when it comes upon that thing. Excitement tends to bring out the loudest side of Russell’s personality.
How to Curb Your Jack’s Barking
First of all, I have to warn you that there is no way to turn your Jack completely bark-proof. By nature, it is extremely vocal, and you cannot do anything to suppress this. It is best to learn to live with your dog’s loud nature, accept and welcome it. If you cannot do that, then it is best to look for a more docile breed for adoption.
However, there are times when Jack tends to bark unnecessarily, and you can adopt a few strategies to curb this. Let’s discuss the steps to contain that unnecessary yapping:
- For starters, you first need to stop encouraging its barking habits by rewarding it. If your dog barks when you’re busy or working, or to get a reward, do not cater to it. Interrupting work to pat him on the head, halting a conversation to attend to your dog, or rewarding it when it barks will only encourage the barking behavior in it. The best thing to do is not to look at your dog when it barks directly at you. If needed, you should stand up and walk away to emphasize the dog will not get attention if it barks.
- Never neglect your Jack’s physical needs. It needs to exhaust its energy, and I recommend at least one hour of exercise every morning to calm your hyper dog down.
- Jacks tend to bark at things they do not recognize. This is why you need to desensitize your pet from as early an age as possible. It is important to counteract the problem stimuli by turning it into a positive experience each time.
- Russells are highly trainable, and obedience training works like a charm. Begin by familiarizing your dog with basic obedience commands such as stay, sit, leave it and etc. Then slowly proceed to teach your dog to be quiet. You can find techniques online or learn from a trainer to teach your dog when it is fine to bark and when to be quiet.
By nature, Jack Russells are highly vocal, but even more when they are unhappy or dissatisfied with their routine. It is extremely important to engage your Jack, so it has an energy outlet. Releasing all its pent up energy through that outlet helps a Jack calm down and then be a very sophisticated dog for the rest of the day.
Jacks possess hunting instincts, due to which they cannot help but be more responsive to various factors. With proper training, socializing, and desensitizing, you can be quite successful in curbing the unnecessary and annoying barking behavior of your Russell.