How to Calm a Jack Russell Terrier? A Practical Guide for JRT Owners

How to Calm a Jack Russell Terrier? A Practical Guide for JRT Owners

Jack Russells are hyper dogs that have endless energy and a playful attitude. Sometimes, they have an aggressive attitude towards strangers and other animals. So, most JRT owners ask us ‘How to calm a Jack Russell Terrier?’ all the time.

As a proud owner of two Jacks named ‘Shaggy’ and ‘Lenny’, I thought to share my personal experience with you about calming a Jack Russell in this post.

Read – All you need to know about Jack Russells

JRTs have a predatory history. They used to be hunting dogs in the 1800s and still carry their hunting instincts with them. Therefore, Jacks have excessive energy and an overprotective mindset.

In that case, JRT owners consider a practical guide for calming their small-sized but extra-active four-legged friends. Once you finish reading this post, you will be able to calm down your Jack easily.

So, how to calm a Jack Russell Terrier? There are several physical and mental practices to calm down a Jack Russell Terrier. Gentle massage, belly rub, enough exercises, socialization, correct training, providing toys are some of the simple things you can do to calm a Jack. Also, you can use meditative music and calming dog products as well. However, Jacks calm down when they move to seniority, mostly after 10 years old.

I will discuss the importance of calming your dog, discipline a Jack, and practical solutions. I have listed the topics below for your ease of reading. Feel free to jump straight to the topic you want by clicking on it.

Let’s get started!

The importance of calming down your dog?

Have you seen that your Jack Russell changes it’s behaviors in certain circumstances? Sometimes, they may continuously bark, yawn, pace, shed, or you may recognize many other changes of behaviors and bodily functions.

Accordingly, a dog shows various changes in a situation where you need to calm him down. What are those signs?

  • Pace or shake

It is normal to see a dog shaking and rolling over the grass after having a bath. But, I have noticed that the dogs go here and there and shake in a situation where it has been agitated or stressed.

This can be commonly seen at the visit of the veterinarian. So, it is important to calm down the dog in such a situation to carry on the process of treating or examining by the veterinarian. 

  • Whining or barking

Typically, the self-expression of dogs is done by vocalization. But it can be thoroughly stressed in a situation where it has become afraid or under stress to have your attention or to comfort itself.

So, you have to understand the reason behind its continuous barking or whining. It is very important to calm it down unless he may become more aggressive.

  • Yawning or licking

Dogs yawn in times of hunger and tiredness. But a prolonged yawn may be the result of its stress. And, they may tend to lick more when they have become nervous.

So, as the owner, you must understand your pet’s feelings and calm it down with proper guidance; if not, it may be sick with prolonged stress and nervousness. 

  • Changes in eyes and ears

You can understand that your dog needs to be calmed down by looking at its eyes because, like people, dogs also blink rapidly with dilated pupils when they are stressed.

On the other hand, it may pin its ears back against the head by opening its eyes widely in such a situation. So, you can easily understand that your dog is in a condition that needs your help to calm down. 

  • Changes of the body postures

Usually, dogs are bearing weight in all four legs. If it tucks its tail and becomes rigid, you should understand that there is something wrong with that situation because; it shows those postures when it is scared.

So, you have to recognize the reason for that and calm him down. If not, it will be aggressive or may become sick. 

  • Shedding

Have you noticed that dogs are shedding at the veterinary clinic, when it visits a new dog park or when it becomes anxious?

So, if you do not calm down the dog, it may create a mess in the specific place. Therefore, you should be very careful in such a situation.   

  • Puffing

Commonly, it can be seen that the dogs are puffing when it is hot and after exercises or walks. But if your JRT puffs in the absence of these situations, it is uncommon.

It may be the result of its stress or excitement. So, it is very important to calm down your dog when it continuously puffs because it will bring health problems for the dog if you cannot control the situation.

So, these are some of the signs that you have to understand your dog needs to be calmed down. If not, the circumstances will be more dangerous for the dog and the outsiders.

Therefore, as the owner of pet dogs, you have to understand the importance of calming down your dog according to the situation.

How do I get my Jack Russell to calm down?

Jack Russells are hyperactive, hunting dogs. So, it is essential to know how to calm a Jack Russell terrier. There it would be best if you gave prominence to their mental and physical conditions.

And as the owner, you should make sure not to positively reinforce unnecessary hyper behaviors for your dog without realizing it. Accordingly, let’s see how to calm a Jack Russell terrier in detail.

1. Providing physical exercises

As this Jack Russell terrier is small, most owners think that they do not need much exercise. But the result is that you may own an aggressive dog because they are originally hunting and working dogs that need to spend more energy.

So, as the owner, you can help them, but do not just limit them to walking because you have many things to do. 

As hyper dogs, Jack Russell needs not to walk but to run when it comes to walking. They are quicker dogs. Jack Russell prefer hill walking, and it is an excellent way to calm down.

There they have a fantastic sensual stimulation with the odor of the wildlife. It is better to give it the chance to burn its energy in a way it likes freely.

You also can contribute to it by playing fetch with a tennis ball or a stick. It helps the dog to burn its energy and calm down through sprinting here and there.

Also, you can do this at your home garden and if you have even a tiny garden by making him sprint even 20 times in the specific area. It becomes funny to the dog when you change the location and object to play fetch.

It also helps them mentally engage as they prefer to chase small moving objects they love the most. 

Further, there are many other physical exercises that you can use to calm down the Jack Russell such as; running, hill walking, agility activities, swimming, resistance walking, cycling, etc.

It is ok to use any exercise you prefer, but you have to engage in it even for an hour per day. It can be varied according to age and weight. If you do this in the morning, you can keep it calm for the rest of the day. 

2. Provide mental exercises

Usually, Jack Russell is an intelligent terrier. Every day, they should have good mental stimulation to maintain their well-being, which keeps them alert, gives fun and enjoyment and chastens them as a peaceful member of the family. Also, they become calm under the mental exercises. 

Suppose you do not provide them with mental exercises. In that case, it will become a hyper and destructive dog who doesn’t even respect you because they want to release their excessive mental energy. You can use playing and training for the mental engagement of the dog. 

3. Training

You can use a short and consistent weekly schedule for the training because; dogs like short bursts more than longer schedules. If you make it longer, they will be more tired and dislike engaging in them.

This will become effective to provide it every second or third day as it can use the gap to retain what is learned. It has been found that dogs successfully withhold the things that they learn within shorter sessions.

Simply, the consistency and the duration of the session help for the success of the training session. 

4. Playing

Playing can be cited as the easiest and most enjoyable way to provide mental stimulation for your Jack Russell and calm it down.

Tugging is very popular among this terrier and helps to calm down an aggressive dog and chasten it as a socially effective dog. Hide and seek, fetch, Frisbee, find the treats, etc., are some other games they prefer. 

Fetch can be done by using a stick or any ball. And you want a Frisbee to play Frisbee. When talking about finding the treat, you may hide it anywhere in the house and order the dog to find it.

Also, you can do this outside by hiding the treat anywhere in the garden and ask the dog to feel the smell and find it by sniffing the scent of it. It provides mental stimulation by giving them the chance to be engaged when they are alone at home. 

When it comes to hide and seek, you may keep the Jack Russell in another room, and you may hide by asking another family member to encourage it to find you.

5. Do not encourage hyper behaviors

This is a great fault done by the owners because when you encourage your dog in hyper behaviors, they think that it is good and continue doing it.

As an example, if your dog jumps at you on your return home, you may praise it by giving an idea to him that it is better to always welcome you in such a way. 

So, your attention and praise encourage them to engage in those hyper behaviors. Accordingly, you have to discourage them in those activities by ignoring such behavior by putting your foot down and stopping them.

As an example, ignore the jumping welcome of the dog. Instead, you may engage in another activity even for about 5 minutes to ignore the behaviors. Then they understand that the hyper behaviors do not reward them. 

And also, you may turn back by conveying your dislike to play at the moment. As Jack Russell has a better understanding of the owners, they will for sure understand your dislike at the moment. 

Further, you can calm it down by gently rubbing the dog’s belly when it comes to playing with you. Then it will lie down near you and begin to relax.

6. Positive reinforcement in actions you prefer

And on the other hand, you should praise it when they positively reinforce their behavior by acting according to what you expected from them.

As dogs can’t distinguish between the behaviors you want to see in them and wish not to know, you must direct them towards positive reinforcement. Then they will calm down.

7. The diet of the Jack Russell

When Jack Russell is still not calm, you can try it through their diet. The food you buy from the supermarket for your dog may include artificial additives that lead to hyperactivity, like; colorings, chemicals, artificial preservatives, sugar, flavorings, etc.

So, it has a significant impact on the levels of energy of Jack Russell. Therefore, you must give them natural nutritional food. There you can include; raw meats, fresh fruits, and vegetables, etc.

Jack Russell may like to eat fresh fruits and vegetables like; bananas, apples, mango, carrots, strawberries, blueberries, peas, broccoli, spinach, green beans, Brussel sprouts, celery. 

Also, they can’t eat grapes and onions due to toxicity issues. So, it would be best if you were very careful when choosing new food for your dog. So, when they get enough nutritious food, they will be calmer. 

8. Keeping away the distractions of the Jack Russell

The Jack Russells do not prefer to be with cats or rats at the same place. So, if you are petting rats and cats or another dog, it is better to keep them in a different place. It will help your dog to calm down.

And if you want, you can introduce those pets later to Jack Russell. But I think it will be better to keep those other small animals in cages because Jack Russells are hunting dogs with active body functions. 

On the other hand, it also will be better to keep small children away from the Jack Russell as the touching and stretching of small children may result in making your dog aggressive instead of calming down. 

9. Giving chewable toys for the dog

Typically, dogs prefer chewing something, which is helping to keep it occupied and helping to maintain its dental health.

But, mainly it can be used as the best relaxing medicine. It may release endorphins to its brain by making it happy, calm, and relaxed. 

10. Using meditative music

There are many audios with mind relaxing music for dogs. You can try out one with your dog by letting it listen to music that has been created to calm and relax the dogs. 

Anyway, some health problems cause hyperactivity. There are hyperthyroidism and allergies. So, if Jack Russell still does not calm down, you may pay attention to their health conditions.

At what age does a Jack Russell calm down?

Initially, Jack Russells are intelligent, active, and independent because they have their origin as hunting dogs. So, the main problem of the owners of this terrier is how to calm a Jack Russell terrier? And you may think that he will not calm down quickly.

Accordingly, many people like to know about the age that this terrier calms down. So, let’s see about it.

Typically, a Jack Russell lives long up to about sixteen years old. And they are lively until about 13 years old. And it is not a secret that Jack Russell is speedy and high adrenaline.

Individually, some dogs are not aggressive and calmer than others. But most of the Jack Russells are calming down when they reach about 10-12 years old. There, it will drop its energy levels, and you may see that it is the place where it calms down completely.

Anyway, it is not a surprise to know that your Jack Russell may not calm completely even though it is in the old dog. You should take steps as the owner to calm down your dog through physical and mental exercises.

Mainly, as Jack Russell has hyper energy, you should help it release them daily, and then you will be able to deal with it.

How do you discipline a Jack Russell?

Jack Russell is a small terrier who has its origin as a hunting dog. It is very active and needs to release more energy.

So, there is a great duty within the owners of this terrier to calm them down in certain circumstances as they can become aggressive. So, how to calm a Jack Russell terrier? And how can you discipline it?

Accordingly, the following tips will effectively work out in this process; 

1. Only rewarding positive reinforcement

This effectively works out for Jack Russells as most of them prefer positivity and rewarding good behavior. I think the punishment is not as effective as the dog may not even understand the reason for its punishment.

As Jack Russell is a type of intelligent dog, you can discipline it well. So, it is better to turn towards disciplining the dog by positively interacting with it. Also, they like to please the owners and remain very loyal to them.

Therefore, you may treat him as a child by not going to punishments that will effectively work out. You may give it clicker training which includes the tricks like; shaking and laying down.

It will be a mental stimulation where it learns positive behaviors instead of undergoing punishments after making mistakes. 

2. Being consistent

You can effectively discipline your dog by starting to reward it with good behaviors and consistently doing it from the very date it arrived at your home.

You should be consistent in actions and behaviors if you hope to give it clicker training. As Jack Russells are smart, if you remain consistent with its training and disciplining, the dog will indeed become well disciplined.

3. Become lovely without being aggressive

This is an effortless thing that you all can do. But it will be more effective than other ways. Jack Russell’s love to be praised and have your attention; if you give both entirely to the dog, it will be well disciplined.

You may pay attention to it and convey to them that you like and want to see its actions. When you reward it for its good behavior, it will always give affection to its owner by disciplining well.

4. Keeping calm

Your calm interaction with the dog is important for him to adapt to the new place. It may be challenging to maintain calmness if you have small children at home, but you should try to carry it further.

Despite always being playful with the dog, it will be better to keep on relatively calm interaction with it, especially in the puppy stage. It will help the dog distinguish between the playing time and the time of chill being part of their discipline. 

5. Giving exercises

Jack Russells learn anything very fast. If you remain active with the dog, for sure, it will be the best partner to proceed with you.

And finally, you will be able to own the disciplined Jack Russell that you always wanted. There, you may include the activities like; swimming, running, fetching, etc. 

Conclusion – So, how to calm a Jack Russell terrier?

We have discussed; how to calm a Jack Russell terrier in detail with practical examples. I think this article will effectively workout for all who have Jack Russells as their pets as I have discussed all the related information like; the importance of calming down your dog, how do I get my Jack Russell to calm down, at what age does a Jack Russell calm down and finally I have discussed how do you discipline a Jack Russell.

Jack Russell is a small terrier many people love to keep as their pet because they are very active, funny, and lovely dogs. However, they have their origin as hunting dogs. So, sometimes they become aggressive.

It would be best to calm down the dog using effective methods like; physical exercises, mental exercises, not encouraging hyper behaviors, etc. They have a long life of about 16 years old, and you have to take steps to calm it down as they have no specific age to calm down. Also, you can discipline it by being consistent, keeping calm, rewarding only with positive reinforcement, etc. So, it is crucial to calm down your dog to make it an influential member of family.

Thank you for reading this post. Stay tuned with Jack Russell Owner for more interesting posts about our four-legged friends.

Cheers from Shaggy and Lenny!


  • George Brown

    George B. is the founder of the JRO Organization. He believes in creating a better world for domestic animals. He believes domestic animals are more vulnerable than other animals, especially dogs, since they have been used to depending on their owners for generations. So, he started JRO to share his ideas and insights while helping vulnerable dogs worldwide. George runs multiple projects on street dogs in developing countries, especially Sri Lanka.

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