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Posted by: Cands | 2012/06/14

Jack Russel-impossible

Hi, I have 2 Jack Russel''s one male(much bigger,longer legs than usual) and one female(short legs,petite)- the female around 3 months younger. They are 3 years old. the male is very badly behaved. He jumps all over you with excitement sometimes actually bites/nibbles us! he chews everything he comes into contact with! we had a pool net put on in the fear that they would fall in and drown-which has become his chew toy! he has chewed 2 of our leather lounge suites beyond repair,wooden furniture..to name but a few!we give them both cow hooves and hide chew toys, we have even left all sorts of balls for them to play with!they have ample running space-1200m2! we give them both lots of love and attention, they are a part of my husband and i- they even sleep in our bed with us-so it is not lack of affection or attention.Our male dog will lie on my chest or my face when my hubby or other dog comes close. We have tried to lock them in a different room to ours as when we try and move him during the night as he is sprawled across the bed.. he growls and bites us.They will mess in the house if we let them sleep with us but when we have put them in the other room there is no mess in the morning.We do not put them in the spare room as they howl constantly through the night-by the 5th night of no sleep we relent and allow them back into our room!as i mentioned earlier our male and female both get a toy each not to share..they will fight over one..our male will screech and whine and moan-almost throwing a tantrum- until they fight and he gets the toy.. he fights with the neighbours dog at the wall and becomes very agressive. I want to try and sort his bad ways out as we are trying for a baby and really dont want to have to give him away! he is mine and hubby''s life but is absolutely impossible and very spoilt! please help!!!!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDog Behaviour Expert

Hi Cands, nice to hear from you. OK, what is happening here is that because you do love them so very much, you are not acting in a manner that the dogs understand, and that is as a pack leader. You are, inadvertantly, giving them too much love and attention and just as children will do, they are taking advantage of this - why not, it works! When we bring dogs into our lives we actually create a human/canine pack, and a thing that is of paramount importance to a dog is pack hierarchy. There HAS to be a natural leader and that should always be the humans. Not to have a natural leader leads to insecurity for the dogs and they will try to take over and become the 'leaders' in the pack themselves, often with behaviour like above and worse. Many of us believe that one dog or another is 'top dog / alpha dog' and this is where we get it wrong - the humans, because we supply all the dogs resources and needs are and should be the pack leaders.
Once your dogs realize that you are taking charge, their behaviour will start to improve. If you think about it, in every aspect of our society there are basic rules, whether it be the one's put in place by parents, schools, work environment etc and exactly the same applies in the animal kingdom. Different members of the pack do different 'jobs' whether it is hunting, looking after the pups or whatever. There are the natural pack leaders that look after and do their best for their pack and this is what both you and your husband need to do.
To try and tackle the bed problem at this stage is useless, as the dogs will simply not listen to you . What you need to do is to start bringing in simple House Rules, and in your case, in sections and then you will be able to tackle the bed problem.
1. When arriving home, totally ignore the dogs. Do not talk to them, look at them or interact in any way. Stand still, fold you arms and look away. This, in dog language, means 'I am not interested in your behaviour'. When the dog stops (and it will) and walks away or sits down, call the dog, ask for a sit and then give all the love you want too. You are saying - I am in charge. You need to do this each and every time you arrive home and so does your husband. Not to be consistent will totally confuse the dogs and make the behaviour worse.
2. Attention is given on your terms or not at all! this one is really hard, but is based on the above and very effective and does not mean you love the dogs less, rather that as pack leaders you decided as to when attention will be given - just like kids! If the dog comes and jumps on your lap, for example, dont talk to it, look at it, or interact with it. Simple gently pick it up and put it back on the floor. The odds are that dog will jump up again, and again. Just keep on with this behaviour of ignoring and placing on the floor and the dog will give up. As above, when it has walked away, give it a few mintutes to absorb the changes, then call dog back and by all means 'invite' it to come back. As the dog gets used to this, you can extend the time. The same applies is dog sits on your foot, brings a toy to you etc.
3. Use management and spray all items the dogs are chewing with pure Citronella oil. On average this works with most dogs, but some may need a stronger adversive, and if it doesnt work let me know and I will tell you what to use. You will have to keep on re-applying for a while. If you catch the dog chewing, dont shout, look at the dog etc (you are then just giving attention), pick the dog up and put it out the door. Leave it there for 30 seconds, then bring it back in - no interaction. If dog does the chewing again, repeat.
4. With the toys, the golden rule is 2 dogs, at least 3 chew items.There is then always a spare chew toy. Also try and give to the dogs separately.
5. Get the dogs out daily for walks. this will release the stress/tension and frustration and give them something else to think about.

When all the above are in place and the dogs behaviour has improved, then I can give you more tools to work with the bed situation and the rest.
If you are experiencing problems with any of this, please feel free to contact me. Thanks Scotty

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Rudy | 2012/09/22

Hi, a bit of late advice... Jack Russels are high energy and very smart dogs... they need a lot of stimulation and attention and get bored easily. Lots and lots of excercise helps keep mine happy and healthy...

Reply to Rudy
Posted by: scotty | 2012/06/19

Hi there, the beauty about having ''problem children'' if that we learn so much from them! Please let me know how it goes and if you need help at any stage, shout! Good luck and I promise you that brining in the changes and being consistent will help. Thanks Scotty

Reply to scotty
Posted by: Cands | 2012/06/18

Thank you Scotty-will definately try your suggestions! Tanya-yes he is..we neutered him when he was 6-8 months old. I have spoken to our vet and he shrugs his shoulders and tells me i have a problem " child" .

Reply to Cands
Posted by: Tanya | 2012/06/15

Wow, sounds hectic Cands. Is this little boy dog neutered?

Reply to Tanya
Posted by: Dog Behaviour Expert | 2012/06/15

Hi Cands, nice to hear from you. OK, what is happening here is that because you do love them so very much, you are not acting in a manner that the dogs understand, and that is as a pack leader. You are, inadvertantly, giving them too much love and attention and just as children will do, they are taking advantage of this - why not, it works! When we bring dogs into our lives we actually create a human/canine pack, and a thing that is of paramount importance to a dog is pack hierarchy. There HAS to be a natural leader and that should always be the humans. Not to have a natural leader leads to insecurity for the dogs and they will try to take over and become the 'leaders' in the pack themselves, often with behaviour like above and worse. Many of us believe that one dog or another is 'top dog / alpha dog' and this is where we get it wrong - the humans, because we supply all the dogs resources and needs are and should be the pack leaders.
Once your dogs realize that you are taking charge, their behaviour will start to improve. If you think about it, in every aspect of our society there are basic rules, whether it be the one's put in place by parents, schools, work environment etc and exactly the same applies in the animal kingdom. Different members of the pack do different 'jobs' whether it is hunting, looking after the pups or whatever. There are the natural pack leaders that look after and do their best for their pack and this is what both you and your husband need to do.
To try and tackle the bed problem at this stage is useless, as the dogs will simply not listen to you . What you need to do is to start bringing in simple House Rules, and in your case, in sections and then you will be able to tackle the bed problem.
1. When arriving home, totally ignore the dogs. Do not talk to them, look at them or interact in any way. Stand still, fold you arms and look away. This, in dog language, means 'I am not interested in your behaviour'. When the dog stops (and it will) and walks away or sits down, call the dog, ask for a sit and then give all the love you want too. You are saying - I am in charge. You need to do this each and every time you arrive home and so does your husband. Not to be consistent will totally confuse the dogs and make the behaviour worse.
2. Attention is given on your terms or not at all! this one is really hard, but is based on the above and very effective and does not mean you love the dogs less, rather that as pack leaders you decided as to when attention will be given - just like kids! If the dog comes and jumps on your lap, for example, dont talk to it, look at it, or interact with it. Simple gently pick it up and put it back on the floor. The odds are that dog will jump up again, and again. Just keep on with this behaviour of ignoring and placing on the floor and the dog will give up. As above, when it has walked away, give it a few mintutes to absorb the changes, then call dog back and by all means 'invite' it to come back. As the dog gets used to this, you can extend the time. The same applies is dog sits on your foot, brings a toy to you etc.
3. Use management and spray all items the dogs are chewing with pure Citronella oil. On average this works with most dogs, but some may need a stronger adversive, and if it doesnt work let me know and I will tell you what to use. You will have to keep on re-applying for a while. If you catch the dog chewing, dont shout, look at the dog etc (you are then just giving attention), pick the dog up and put it out the door. Leave it there for 30 seconds, then bring it back in - no interaction. If dog does the chewing again, repeat.
4. With the toys, the golden rule is 2 dogs, at least 3 chew items.There is then always a spare chew toy. Also try and give to the dogs separately.
5. Get the dogs out daily for walks. this will release the stress/tension and frustration and give them something else to think about.

When all the above are in place and the dogs behaviour has improved, then I can give you more tools to work with the bed situation and the rest.
If you are experiencing problems with any of this, please feel free to contact me. Thanks Scotty

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