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Your Jack Russell Puppy Care Checklist - Jack Russell Crazy Issue #21
September 18, 2011
Chew on This: Preventing Your JRT from Destroying Your House
How to preserve your shoes and furniture (aka "How to stop chewing")
I'll be the first to admit it. I have lost many shoes to my beloved Jacks. Somehow, I always managed to get dogs that love to chew. Was it my fault for leaving a tasty leather slipper out in the wide open or a sofa edge without a slipcover? Yes. But it was also my fault for not taking complete control of my Jacks' training. Learning the hard way can be expensive on the wallet!
At their core, dogs and especially Jacks are chewers. They chew to grind up food, learn about the environment, relieve boredom, play and to reduce tension. Also, confinement, hunger and lack of exercise and stimulation can lead to household damage. If you have a Jack Russell puppy it is important to start training at a very early age. Older dogs that are chewing may be exhibiting stress or anxiety. Therefore it is important to learn the ins and outs of why your Jack is chewing and what you can do to help.
Why dogs chew
Puppies, like infants and toddlers, explore their world by putting objects in their mouths. And, like babies, they teethe for about 6 months, which usually creates some discomfort. Chewing not only facilitates teething, but also makes sore gums feel better.
Adult dogs may engage in destructive chewing for any number of reasons. In order to deal with the behavior, you must first determine why your dog is chewing—and remember, he's not doing it to spite you. Possible reasons for destructive chewing include:
As a puppy, he wasn't taught what to chew and what not to chew. He's bored. He suffers from separation anxiety. His behavior is fear-related. He wants attention.
Here are some chewing Do's and Don'ts.
DO's: Do have a rotation of chew toys. Just like children get tired of toys, dogs can also get bored with their toys. I keep about 8-10 toys in the mix. My favorite being the Kong. Kongs are heavy and rubber with a behive like look to them. There is a hollow inside where you can stuff treats like peanut butter and biscuits (a favorite in my household). Having to manipulate the toy to get to the food takes time and energy for your Jack.
Do rotate your toys on a weekly basis. Also, move toys on a daily basis so that your Jack has to search for them. You can heighten your Jack's interest in interacting with toys by lightly coating them with a meat or cheese spread.
Do give your Jack plenty of vigorous exercise preferably right before you leave the house. Tired dogs have less energy to destroy. Making sure your dogs have plenty of mental and physical exercise can go a long way in cutting down many household issues. Also, sneaking out while your Jack is occupied with a treat or toy is a good way to cut down on separation anxiety.
Do praise your Jack when he is chewing on an appropriate toy. If you do find a Jack chewing an unacceptable item, scold him with a sharp no and replace the object with an acceptable toy and praise him when he mouths that one.
Do crate or confine your Jack until they can be trusted alone. Practice short departures and gradually increase the time away. Have toys for him in the crate to keep him occupied.
Do discourage a dog from chewing on a forbidden object with commercial bitter or hot tasting spray.
Do consult with vet or behaviorist if the destruction does not seem to lessen after a certain period of time, especially with older dogs.
Don't play tug of war with your Jack. It can be confusing for him and he may attack other fluttering objects (like curtains).
Don't give your Jack items like old socks shoes or other household items. It's hard for dogs to discriminate between old objects and new ones.
Don't punish a dog by hitting him.
Don't discipline or punish your dog after the fact. If you discover a chewed item even minutes after he's chewed it, you're too late.
Remember, have realistic expectations. At some point your dog will inevitably chew up something you value; this is often part of the transition to a new home. Your dog needs time to learn the house rules and you need to remember to take precautions and keep things out of his reach.
Need a more detailed guide to every aspect of raising, training and looking after a Jack Russell puppy. The Jack Russell Lover's Ultimate Guide to Training is the only resource you need – and it's available for instant download for only $14.95.
We absolutely love receiving photos of your JRTs. That's why we are holding our third, September cute JRT contest. Send us your most adorable JRT photos with a brief explanation of who your JRT is and what your JRT is doing/thinking/scheming about in the picture. It's okay if you've already entered in the past, just send us a different picture of your JRT than the one you've previously submitted. The winner will be announced on September 20th, will be featured on our homepage, and will receive a prize from our new JRT Amazon Store. Submit your photos here!
'Til Next Time...
Take care - and take care of your JRT!
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