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Top Tips for Stopping JRT Destruction - Jack Russell Crazy, Issue #07
April 21, 2010
Dear fellow Jack Russell Lover,

How To Deal With and Eliminate Destructive Chewing Habits

Hi again folks,

In this issue we're going to touch on an age-old JRT problem: destructive chewing. This is something every owner will face at some stage. First I'll answer a question about the best toys to provide to a Jack Russell who just keeps chewing through everything you give him. I'll then elaborate on a few other tips and techniques to keep chewing under control, followed by some more question and answer stuff covering JRT health. But first, here's an update on the newest content that has been added to the site:

New Content

Here's the newest article added to the site:

Jack Russell Pets - Ideas for Games and Pampering

Jack Russell Training: Destructive Chewing

Recently I answered this question related to destructive chewing:

Question: Best toys for a 3yr old destructive Jack Russell Terrier? He doesn't wreck furniture etc, just his toys!!

We need to find him something that he won't destroy!!

My answer:

Hi there,

The best thing I can recommend for your circumstances is a Nylabone. These are a sturdy, trusted brand of nylon bones. They have small raised nodules that help clean the dog's teeth as he chews. Make sure you get the right size - they make a huge range of sizes. Remember that nothing is really too big for a JRT - they seem to have no idea how little they are. But if you get one too small, there's a chance of it being swallowed, so just make sure it's large enough not to go down the throat.

Hope this helps,


There was also another post on the Jack Russell Lover forum related to destructive chewing problems, to which Robbin from Robbin's Rescued Russells provided a great answer:

Question: Hi, I have a 12 months old jrt dog. I am well aware that they like to chew stuff and rip it apart, but! Everything, and I mean Everything he chews on he will eventually end up eating. I'm afraid that his intestines will get blocked and he will have to go to the vet. There really is NO toy that i can leave him with to chew on, he even eats rubber! He will eat a tennis ball in a matter of 30 min. The only thing I could come up with for him to chew on (and eat) is large doggy treat bones. Please help! I don't know if he needs something.

PS. Nicolene

Robbin's Answer:

Buddy Eats Everything by: Robbin's Rescued Russells


Welcome to "living with a Jack Russell Terrier"! Jacks are famous for tearing things apart (toys with squeekies, tennis balls, etc). It is part of their genetic make up to "see their task until the end". There are toys and such that are all but impossible for a Jack to destroy.

Kongs (can be purchased at pet stores, or online) that are designed for "heavy chewers" work well as do "Nyla Bones" for heavy chewers. If you feel your Jack has swallowed part of something you might try giving them a dollop or two of canned pumpkin. Not the pumpkin that is used as pie filling but real pumpkin. Of course always seek the advice of a veternarian first.

I have a couple of my Jacks that I can't even play fetch with using a regular tennis ball because in a matter of minutes they "pop" them and then they split them in half. For those Terriers I use a "Hand Ball". A Hand Ball is made of a tougher rubber, and without the fuzz like a tennis ball. You can purchase them at a sporting good store and they come in a canister of three just like tennis balls. I compliment you for being aware of the dangers that can be associated with things that Jack Russells will eat!

Hope my suggestions are helpful. Robbin

General Tips for Chewing Problems

I wholeheartedly agree with Robbin here about Kongs and Nylabones. Kongs are a very useful distraction to keep your dog busy when you need to focus your attention on something else. As I said above, Nylabones also are an extremely effective chew toy which are pretty much indestructible (as long as you get the right size) and give your dog's jaw a workout and help clean the teeth.

Now, as for the root of the chewing behavior, this must be said: destructive behavior is always the result of boredom and lack of training. If you understand that, you can solve pretty much any destructive problem you come across with your dog.

Exercise of course is key. Burning up as much of that boundless energy as you can each day will take away energy that might end up being turned onto chewing objects.

Obedience training is also very important, not just to teach your dog to "Drop It!" on command, but to instill a basic understanding in your dog of what he can and can't do around the house. Solid obedience training actually helps your dog figure out how to behave when you aren't around. In this respect, obedience training, after time, is almost like giving your dog a "moral compass" for how to behave when no one is watching.

The Jack Russell Lover's Ultimate Guide To Training

To learn more about preventing and stopping destructive habits in your dog as well as solving other problem behaviors, building a foudation of obedience and getting to understand your dog's unique personality, get your copy of The Jack Russell Lover's Ultimate Guide To Training today.

The 7 Day Crash Course

Just as another reminder, it's completely free to sign up for the 7 Day JRT Training Crash Course, designed as a series of simply lessons meant to improve your dog's behavior in the next two weeks: sign up for the free Jack Russell Training Course here.

More Questions and Answers

Question: "My JR starting smelling something (which we cannot detect a smell) by our air conditioning vent in the wall. We thought she might have heard or smelled a rat in the wall (or some rodent). We changed the air filter, sprayed Lysol all around the area. She still smells or hears something because she still wouldn't leave the area after all that. We haven't heard or smelled anything and it is going on 4 days and she is still fixated on this particular area. She won't do anything else but sit there and look and pace. Sometimes she is whining and shaking a little. Obviously something is bothering her but I don't know what to do. Anyone out there know any suggestions or advice. Thanks so much"

My Answer: Hi Linda,

This is a very peculiar situation, although JRTs do tend to have their quirks. There's two possibilities that I can think of here. Either there is in fact something in the wall, perhaps a dead rat, in which case you'll either need to get it out or wait for it to decay on its own to solve the problem.

Another possibility is that there was something in the wall at one stage that's now gone, and your dog has become hung up/obsessed with it and thinks it's still there. In this case, training is the answer. You can try training the behavior out by distracting her attention away from the wall with games and basic obedience training exercises. Every time she indicates that she's trying to get at something in the wall, immediately break her concentration with a clap of the hands and move into a game or some quick training.

Another option is to set up an imaginary "out of bounds" area around the wall. I explain how to do this in my ebook.

Best of luck solving your JRT problem,


Question: "Hi everyone -

My lovely girl, Maggie, has ringworm at the moment. We've been through the whole drill, vet, disinfecting, treatment. However, the vet advised to keep cuddling to a minimum to miminize spread/contagion until she's cured. We both miss our cuddles soooooo much. She doesn't sleep in the bed, but we often curl up on the sofa together. What can we do?"

My Answer: Hi Allie

I'm not a vet, so you should obviously trust your vet's opinion regardless of what I say. But in this case I agree. It's best to minimize the risk of spread in order to ensure Maggie recovers as quickly as possible. Because of the life cycle of ringworms, it's important that all larvae be killed off as well as living worms. If you miss the larvae, the problem starts all over again. It may be tough to go without cuddles but it's in everyone's best interest in this situation.

'Til Next Time...

Any comments on this issue, or ideas for upcoming issues of the E-Zine? Don't hesitate to contact me. Simply reply to this email. Your question may even be featured in an upcoming issue of the newsletter!

Know of a friend who might be interested in this newsletter? Go ahead and forward it to them and encourage them to sign up. Let's continue to grow the Jack Russell Lover community together.

Thanks for reading and best wishes,

Tom McSherry

Click here to order a copy of The Jack Russell Lover's Ultimate Guide To Training

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