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Canine Behavior/Jack Russell Biting issues


Dear Madeline, I have read you biography and I promise to read and rate your response within three days.  I understand that your time is valuable, that you are most likely spending at least 45 minutes of your time in response to my question, and I understand too that when questioners read and rate your responses fairly that you make random donations to animal shelters to help homeless animals.  In the interest of being appreciative of your time AND helping shelter dogs and cats, I agree that I will rate your response and give you fair feedback.

We have a one year old spayed Jack Russell female. Molly bites our children at least 6 times a day. she will be laying on the sofa one of our kids will walk by her and she bites them. She is now doing this to our other animals, her sibling from another litter, our older pekingese and our two cats. We are concerned. How do we break her of this. We love her very much. Thank you for your time in reviewing this.

Christina Ayers

Hello, Christina,

Thank you for taking the time to read my bio.  I'm happy to try to answer your question.

Before I answer, I have some questions of my own:

First, does your Jack Russell terrier (JRT) bite the children at any other times?

Does your JRT play well with your children in other instances?

What do the children do when your JRT bites them?  How do they react?

Is the JRT biting at their clothes, or their skin?  Or, both?

What are the children doing at the time the bites occur - are they running, shrieking, playing loudly?

What does your JRT do when the children are calm and approach her calmly?  Is she otherwise friendly and affectionate?

What is your JRTs age?

Is there any growling accompanying the biting?

Are the bites severe enough to cause broken skin and/or bleeding?  If not, do the bites cause bruising?

What does your JRT do if one of the children tries to sit on the couch, or move the dog?

Does your JRT tend to "guard" resting areas such as beds, or guard her food, or toys?  If so, does this guarding resemble to you what is happening when the kids pass the dog when she's on the couch?

Have you owned terriers before?  If so, when, what type, and what happened to these dogs?

How much activity and mental stimulation does your JRT get daily?  I need to know about walks/runs, training, play time and type of play and for how long, who plays with her, what types of toys she has and acdess to toys, and which of your children play with, walk, and train her.

Your reponses may raise a few more questions, but they'll also enable me to provide the best response I'm able without actually seeing what's going on.

For now, I'll just say that I've lived with terriers my whole life.  They can be extremely entertaining and loving dogs but are a lot of dog for the small package that many of them are in.  First time terrier owners tend to have the most difficulty understanding the breed, particularly if they've owned other, less challenging and more laid back breeds before, such as hounds.  But, if you can learn to understand and appreciate the unique qualities that make terriers, well, terriers they are an absolute joy to live with.

Looking forward to your responses.  Please make sure you answer all the questions so I can get the best "picture" of what may be occurring and provide the best possible response.  Don't feel shy of providing as much detail as you feel you need to.  I am volunteering because I'm here to help.  :-)

Best regards,

Canine Behavior

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Madeline S. Friedman, M.A.


I respond to public questions only. I'm not a veterinarian & do not respond to medical questions.Suggestions: Submit a question in one area of priority, as what I am able to address in this venue is limited. Provide as much detail re: the behavior & issue as you can. Tell me how & if behavior is a change from previous behavior & when the changes occurred. Let me know what you think may have triggered such changes & what you have tried so far to resolve it, & what the results were. Let me know what you want help with & what are your concerns & questions about the behavior. I have set up a payment/donation to myself for responding to questions. I donate most of it to animal shelters & rescues. I keep a small portion for my time. The minimum donation is $25.00 on PayPal. When I see that a donation has been made, I will respond to your question. You will be prompted to make the donation before submitting your question. When you have read & rated my response fairly, which must be at the time you read it, I will refund $5.00 back to you IF YOU REQUEST that I do so in your rating comments. If I ask for more details, please respond as a "follow-up" & not as a new question. If I don't respond to your question, I will refund your donation less $5.00. DO rate me fairly at the end of our exchange. I will be pleased if you DO nominate me for volunteer of the month - why not, if I was generous in my response? I may suggest something you were not necessarily ready to hear, but I am honest in the interest of helping your dog, & that is my goal. Please keep that in mind. Please do NOT contact me privately about Allexperts questions through my e-mail or website unless I have invited you to do so. That is an invasion of my privacy - thank you for respecting it. If you would like to contact me for actual dog training & behavior consulting, you may contact me through my Web site.


Own & operate dog training & behavior consulting businesses, Hoboken Dog Trainer, and ny-njDogTrainer, in the NYC & NYC Metro areas since 2002. Work with thousands of dog owners & their dogs, & shelter & rescue dogs. Active volunteer in dog shelters and rescues (rescues being "no kill" and shelters being municipality-run urban shelters that can and do euthanize dogs). AllExperts volunteer in "Dogs, Category 701" and "Dog Training" and "Canine Behavior" since 2006. When you submit a question, please make sure it's being submitted in the appropriate category as I volunteer in two different categories. Make sure you agree to the Virtual Contract (the instructions I outline for question submissions) and agree to read and rate my response when I answer in the body of your question. I make donations to various animal non-profits based on YOUR ratings. If you don't rate my response, or rate it unfairly, you have just denied a dog rescue org or shelter a donation. Keep that in mind.

Professional Member of APDT for five years Founding Member of Animal Behavior Associates Behavior Education Network Former Board Member of IAABC, appointed by Founder Former Member of IPDTA in Canada Founding member of Behavior Education Network

Chronicle of the Dog (APDT, peer publication, numerous articles) Popular Dog Series magazine, numerous entries AOL in Tonowanda News Morris County News Vermont News Boston NOW New York A.M. Polo Trace Newsletter The Dodo AOL

Counseling Psychology, Caldwell College Animal Science, Rutgers University Master of Arts Degree Permanent New Jersey State Teaching Certification (teach public school and university level) Numerous workshops, lectures, and seminars on dog training and behavior Ongoing self-motivated study in my area of expertise

Awards and Honors
Best Canine Coach Award, 2006, Rondout Valley Instructor's Training Course Society of Illustrators, second place international competition Jellybean Photographics, second place international competition Fashion Institute of Technology "Commitment to Illustration" award

Past/Present Clients
Testimonials from a number of clients appear on my Web site at under "Reviews." My customers include: Puppy owners wanting to get their puppies off to the best start; owners of mature dogs who want their dogs to have more obedience skills; fosters and owners of rescue dogs or shelter dogs; customers with special needs who need to train or retrain their dogs; housetraining and housebreaking; owners who have behavioral issues with their dogs such as house accidents, aggression towards humans, aggression towards other animals, inattentive dogs, unmotivated dogs, overly-exuberant dogs; and, more.

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