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Canine Behavior/bed time behaviour


Hi, I have a 16 month old jack Russell. I thought I had purchased him at 8weeks old but my vet was sure he was younger. When I got him home he continuously suckled on my fingers, or my parents fingers when he chose to doze off on them. My vet said this was because of how young he actually was and he would grow out of it.
Well he's kind of grew more into it as he's got older. He now lies on his back, against me, holding my hand with his front paws and gently chews my thumb until he is asleep. My parents joke that they know when he's ready to go to bed because he will find me and litterally hold my hand until I sit down on the sofa or bed and let him chew away. I've tried withholding my hand from him, ignoring him when he's trying to get my hand. I use my hand palm down and flat when commanding him to not jump up, which he follows except in this case. All efforts end with him following me around the house or sitting staring at me, whining for hours.
Apart from this situation he is an example dog; learnt commands quickly, very social with other dogs and people, was brilliant in his puppy classes. He has a lot of energy so I walk him for an hour twice a day.
I also have a 7 year old jack Russell bitch who will sleep the majority of the day, and shun a second walk.
I would love some advice on how to deal with this needy bedtime behaviour??

Allow it.  Every living creature is important and I know the "world" does not follow my lifetime observation.  This dog was separated from his dam (mother) at far too young an age, or perhaps was in a large litter or a first litter and this is harmless. IT IS A JUVENILE BEHAVIOR and you need to do NOTHING except allow it.  The dog requires it for a reason I could write many paragraphs in answer.  The end result: benign behavior, dog requires it, it does you no harm.  Allow it.  And refuse the advice and criticism of those who apparently have no empathy.  Just do it.

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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