Biting and Nipping With Jack Russell Terriers [+How To Stop It]


If you recently adopted a Jack Russell Terrier, you are likely familiar with the nippy and biting side this puppy may display towards you.

While it can be cute initially, it begins to transition to annoying. It can even be slightly painful and often leads individuals to wonder if biting is a behavior that will continue with their new Jack Russell’s.

I have been raising a Jack Russell Terrier for the past 3 years, and here is what I can tell you on this topic.

Are Jack Russell’s Biters?

No, Jack Russell Terriers are not biters. When Jack Russell Terriers are puppies, they will chew and nip due to lack of training and lack of knowledge that this is not the desired behavior. A Jack Russell Terrier will also bite and nip at this age during the teething stage.

That is the truth about what you can expect with a Jack Russell Terrier. It is also essential that you understand how to prevent biting and nipping moving forward with your dog.

That is what the rest of this discussion will explain in-depth for you.

All the reasons a Jack Russell Terrier may be biting or nipping and all the solutions you can implement to make sure it stops.

Here is how I intend to lay this information out for you today:



Are Jack Russell Terriers Considered Biters?

To slap a tag on a dog as a “biter” would require a lot more evidence than what you are likely experiencing with your Jack Russell Terrier.

How do I know this?

I have been in your shoes and raised my female Jack Russell Terrier for the past 2+ years.

I know what it is like to take one of those sharp young puppy teeth to the finger, and I know what it is like to train this behavior to stop.

No, a Jack Russell Terrier in no form is a biter or an aggressive dog.

They are a dog that behaves in the same sense as any other dog breed. Especially when it comes to biting and nipping and they need guidance from you as the owner to ensure this behavior does not continue.

Before you even start diving into the possible solutions for the biting and nipping problem with your Jack Russell, you need to be aware of some of the reasons they are likely biting and nipping, to begin with.


Why Does My Jack Russell Terrier Bite Me?

The reasons your Jack Russell may be biting, and nipping could vary outside of the list we will present for you today. In most circumstances, the few reasons we will discuss below are likely the cause for the biting and nipping.

I want to look at those now.


Exploring The World

You need to understand that young puppies, including your Jack Russell, that their mouth serves as their primary tool to begin learning the world around them.

A lot of the beginning socialization process occurs when a Jack Russell is young, and they like to test different objects and begin this learning phase using those sharp puppy teeth.

Maybe this is to explore your shoes, and perhaps this is to chomp down on your hand.

It is just how dogs figure things out.


Teething With Jack Russell’s Will Cause Nipping and Biting

Another common cause of biting and nipping with a Jack Russell Terrier is the teething phase.

In a nutshell, your Jack Russell will begin losing those baby teeth. Their new adult teeth will start coming in, placing significant pressure on their gums, causing pain and discomfort.

The number 1 way a dog will typically deal with this discomfort is to chew on anything possible.

Yes, this will make them nippier with your hands, ankles, and even with your favorite pair of shoes.

Ensure you have plenty of chew toys and items they can use to relieve this pain in a positive way and to reinforce that using teeth on the skin is not okay.

I always recommend at least having one of Kong’s (Link to Amazon) handy.

These are great to reduce biting and nipping in the teething phase because of the ability to place treats and other items inside the Kong and freeze it overnight.

It keeps their sharp little teeth from biting you and gives them a few hours of fun and enjoyment.

Okay, we have a decent understanding of some of the reasons why a Jack Russell Terrier may be biting or nipping.

Now we need to fix this behavior and get them to stop biting and nipping.

Here is how you get that job done.


How To Stop Biting and Nipping Behaviors With A Jack Russell Terrier


#1- Socialize Your Jack Russell Terrier Early and Often

One of the most beneficial things you can do for your Jack Russell Terrier is to socialize them and socialize them right away.

This includes making sure your Jack Russell is exposed to various social situations. This can be situations such as being around other dogs, your friends, and family, and yes, make sure they are introduced to your young children right away.

While this will not necessarily eliminate play nipping and play biting, it can help avoid aggressive biting behaviors in the future.

This is because they have been exposed to these situations and feel comfortable around other people.

Make sure that if you want to guarantee your Jack Russell does not become a nipper and biter in the future, begin to socialize your new puppy right away after you complete the adoption.


#2- Teach Your Jack Russell The Word No and Ouch Right Away

Maybe you have heard of this approach, and perhaps you haven’t.

It is a great approach and training technique to use with your Jack Russell.

Make sure that when your Jack Russell bites on your hand or bites anywhere with skin present when they are young, that you say ouch in a loud voice.

It should almost startle your JR puppy and get their attention.

The point is that they have no desire to hurt you, and if you can get them to believe that this is happening, they will learn that they shouldn’t be doing this.

Additionally, your Jack Russell learning the word no can help with nipping and biting behaviors.

In all reality, the word no will help you with a big chunk of training and needs to be a word your dog learns right away.

Be sure to stay consistent, be the alpha, and get your message across if you are struggling with these nipping and biting issues.

Jack Russell’s are brilliant dogs.

They will catch on sooner than you think.


#3- Replace Negative Biting and Nipping Behaviors

This is an often-overlooked tactic when it comes to training a Jack Russell.

Make sure that instead of getting mad and telling them what they can’t do, you also let them know and understand what they can do.

Let’s say that they bite down on your hand when they are younger.

Use the ouch approach we discussed a second ago.

However, don’t stop there.

Make sure you then replace that behavior by giving them a chew toy that they can use, and that is safe.

When they begin playing with this toy and biting on that, instead, reward them and ensure they understand that this is the correct behavior you want to see.

Dogs love rewards, and your Jack Russell will want rewards again in the future.

Again, ensure that you remain consistent with this message and stick with it until the nipping and biting ends.


#4- Always Have Plenty of Toys Your Jack Russell Can Use

For you to make sure that your Jack Russell can chew on the correct things and not bite your hands, you have to have those items available.

You need to make sure you have toys that will keep your Jack Russell Terrier mentally engaged.

The more you can enforce that this is what your dog should be using to get any chewing, biting, and nipping out of their system, the better.


#5- Never Stop Working Your Jack Russell

A lot of dog owners seem like they can get the potty training completed, get initial commands out of the way, and that’s the end of providing discipline and training.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

If you want your Jack Russell to continue maturing and developing into the best dog you can adopt, you need to be working with them indefinitely.

Keep enforcing what is wrong and what is right, and keep challenging your Jack Russell.

Biting behaviors and other negative behaviors, in general, will be dramatically lower if you consistently working with your dog.

It is that simple.


#6- Always Provide Exercise

The last tip I have for you today is about the power of exercise for a Jack Russell Terrier.

I am not saying that a Jack Russell that gets less exercise is more likely to bite.

I am saying that the more negative behaviors and pent up energy can typically be a direct result of lack of exercise and a lack of ability to release some energy.

Maybe biting and nipping never become the issue your specific Jack Russell displays due to a lack of exercise, but I certainly would not rule it out as a possibility.

Consider getting more active with your Jack Russell and doing activities such as the following:

The more you can do with your dog, the more tuckered out they will be, and I promise you, you will be in a much better position because of it.


What If I Believe My Jack Russell Is Aggressive Or Has An Issue?

If you have read through this guide and believe your Jack Russell Terrier is biting or nipping for other reasons not discussed then perhaps your Jack Russell is having more of a behavior issue.

This could be a form of aggression and may need a professional trainer or more in-depth training to remedy.

I would recommend speaking with a trusted vet in your area to get initial recommendations and next steps if you believe your Jack Russell is having aggression problems.


Use A Muzzle If Your Jack Russell Is Biting Or Nipping In Certain Situations

One last recommendation I have for you is to ensure you always have a muzzle handy.

In all honesty, you should have a muzzle for your dog, even if they are not known to be biters and nippers in any fashion.

Sometimes situations arise where you need to make the people dealing with your dog comfortable.

This could be for situations such as taking your dog to the groomer or taking your dog to the vet.

Especially if your Jack Russell has anxiety or social issues around strangers or specific situations.

I personally always recommend the Gentle Muzzle Guard (Link to Amazon)

This new favorite muzzle allows full breathability and chewing ability and is comfortable for your Jack Russell.

If you prefer something less restrictive, you can also consider a Muzzle such as the Bronze Wire Basket Muzzle (Link to Amazon)

Either of these muzzles will get the job done so you can ensure no biting and nipping takes place with your Jack Russell in the situations we mentioned previously.


With Patience And Training, You Can Resolve Nipping and Biting With Your Jack Russell

Biting and nipping when Jack Russell Terriers are puppies is, unfortunately, difficult to avoid.

All dog breeds learn the world around them by using their mouths, and this should be expected when you decide to adopt a Jack Russell Terrier.

Teething is also something that cannot be avoided, and you need to be compassionate towards your Jack Russell during this time.

Work with your Jack Russell and be patient and show love and affection. I promise some of those nipping and biting behaviors will be begun to fade away.

Jack Russell Terrier’s can make for great family pets with training and discipline.

Luna and I wish you the best of luck with your Jack Russell Terriers and the journey you have ahead of you. We hope the nipping and biting comes to an end soon!


What Tactics Did You Use To Get Your Jack Russell To Stop Biting And Nipping?

What other tactics can you share with the readers you recommend using to get a Jack Russell Terrier to stop biting and nipping?

Be sure to share those thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below.

As always, Luna and I appreciate you stopping by and reading today, and we will see you again next time.

Josh Martin- Founder and Creator of Terrier Owner

Josh Martin is the proud owner of a female Jack Russell Terrier Named Luna. Josh founded TerrierOwner.com to share the stories of owning a Terrier and to help all terrier owners with the struggles, excitement and common questions that come with being a new terrier parent.

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