How to stop a Jack Russell barking – What is your dog actually saying?

Jack Russell Barking constantly

How to stop a Jack Russell barking

Do Jack Russells bark a lot? Well yes, it’s a fact JR owners know all too well, they are bred to bark to let the hunter know they have found prey. Barking is part of your dog’s character and, when it’s not excessive, is completely normal behaviour. But it can be a real problem when it’s constant or appears to be aggressive.

How to train a Jack Russell not to bark

Why do Jack Russells bark so much? It might be a sign of a nervous, bored or over-excited dog. Like with many behavioural issues, the key to a happy dog is a consistent calm approach to training, enough exercise and repetitive praise for the right behaviour. Many people that say “My Jack Russell barks all the time!” might not be actually listening to the dog’s problem. Maybe they aren’t getting walked enough, maybe there is a change to the family dynamic that they aren’t used to, maybe they are suffering from separation anxiety.

Firstly make sure your JR is getting the right amount of exercise and playtime to stimulate their brain and avoid barking out of boredom. Find a dog walker near you on Bark. How do you stop a Jack Russell barking at everything? By focusing attention on you instead of the cause the barking, you can distract your dog from the behaviour. Use phrases like “sit” and “calm” repeatedly until the barking stops, at which time good behaviour should be rewarded with affection or a treat. The number one mistake people make is to shout at the dog encouraging the scared, angry or protective behaviour. Stay calm, teach your dog how to deal with situations by example and reward them when they act in the right way.

What’s the easiest way to stop a Jack Russell barking?

Every dog is barking for different reasons at different times but the most common is when someone is at the door or walks past the window. This is purely protective and generally unnecessary barking. Use an “interrupter”. This is something like a small spray of water or a tea-towel thrown over the head to interrupt the unacceptable behaviour. Don’t use treats as it can seem like a reward for barking and encourage them to repeat it in the future.

how to stop a Jack Russell barking

Is your Jack Russell barking at other dogs? This is quite common with smaller breeds, what they lack in size they make up for in volume! It’s often fear that comes across as aggression, you need to let them know there is nothing to be afraid of. It can be as simple as remaining calm (not shouting at your dog), talking to the other dog walker, and continuing on thereby ignoring the aggressive behaviour. Socialising a Jack Russell is extremely important, the more they learn how other dogs behave the less likely they are to be afraid. Going to dog training classes is an excellent way of doing this. Always keep control of your dog on a short lead, and use a muzzle if necessary.

Should you buy a bark collar for a Jack Russell?

Anti-bark collars either spray the dog with citronella, or emit a high-frequency noise whenever it senses barking. They can be immediately effective but can also have a negative effect on your dogs mood. They aren’t as effective as positive reinforcement training as other noises can also set off the bark collars. This can understandably confuse the dog as they are being punished for nothing. 

Positive reinforcement works for dogs.

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MRI studies have shown that a dogs brain is better wired to associate positive rewards with behaviour that should be repeated. Ask yourself has shouting at your dog actually ever worked? All it will do is lead to your dog fearing you and associate you with negativity.

Why is my Jack Russell whining?

Whining constantly for attention can be a trait learned as a puppy. The way to stop this behaviour is to completely ignore it and offer no attention. You can also use a “interrupter” as explained above. If the whining is completely new and unusual for your dog it could be something more serious like joint pain and a vet should be consulted as soon as possible.

Why does my Jack Russell growl at me?

It’s so important for a dog to have its own private space. A bed or cage in the corner where they won’t be disturbed by anyone (including children), like us dogs sometimes just need alone time. Unlike us they rely almost entirely on body language for social cues. Read more about how your body language might be affecting your dog here.

Weird dog behaviours

You should also be careful to never get below your dog’s height as it confuses them as to who is the pack leader. You should always be the one calmly in charge, learn more about training a Jack Russell.

Wondering what to feed your JR? Nutrition can play a huge roll in mood, behaviour and general well-being. Read more about feeding a Jack Russell and why we choose Barking Heads for our pups.


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Author Bio Jo Williams is a freelance writer from London, England. There is nothing she loves to talk about more than dogs, good food and travelling. Coming from a family of JR owners, Jo shares generations of tips and advice for looking after these mischievous little dogs.