Dkrainwater’s Weblog

Training the New Jack Russell – Chewing and Growling

Posted on: October 29, 2008

When you bring that new Jack Russell home allow him to mouth, chew, and yes even destroy his toys. That is the reason dog toys were created. If you don’t like spending money on them you should have considered that factor before getting a dog. If you are still worried about the expense, buy cheaper toys. He will kill these toys that are why it’s fun. Allow him to mouth cold, wet, or frozen towels especially in the teething stages. Allow him to mouth his canine playmates. Remember that mouthing is okay, biting is different. Mouthing should not hurt the other animal, should not draw blood, and should not be done by your dog in a way in which he appears angry or snarling.

When he mouths things that are unacceptable there are different methods you can try such as spraying bitter apple or dishwashing soap mixed with water onto the objects he is chewing (and also on your arms and hands, if he is mouthing you). He’s not stupid, if it tastes bad and he learns that it consistently tastes bad, soon he’ll have no desire to have it in his mouth. Provide a substitute activity such as handing him a chew toy that he may mouth and then playing with him. Playtime should be used as a reward for mouthing and chewing the appropriate items.

If your dog communicates with you by growling in your presence you may need to work on building up trust with the animal. Teach him by showing that nothing bad happens when you gently roll him on his back. As a matter of fact, when he rolls on his back, give him little pieces of dried liver treats or small dog biscuits. Act happy and pleasant when he behaves appropriately with you. When he growls scrunch up your face and snarl. Dogs read our bodies much better than they understand our words.

Kellie Rainwater loves her Jack Russell Terrier, Trixie, so much that she co-authored the book, “The Jack Russell Terrier: Canine Companion or Demon Dog.” You can find this book and other Jack Russell toys, jewelry, and merchandise that is branded with the face of this tenacious canine at

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