How to Train a Jack Russel Terrier

Written by rena sherwood
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How to Train a Jack Russel Terrier
Jack Russells were originally bred to hunt rats. (Image from Wikimedia Commons.)

Jack Russell terriers are high-energy, highly intelligent and highly vocal dogs. They get bored easily and can develop bad habits just for something to do, so training them requires providing them with an outlet for their physical and mental energy. (Even Moose, the Jack Russell who played Eddie for on "Frasier," was once abandoned because of his rowdiness.)

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Enzyme cleaner (for accidents)
  • Fenced yard or dog tie
  • Leash and collar or chest harness
  • Treats
  • Toys
  • Dog crate or room with closed door
  • Clicker (optional)

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  1. 1

    Determine where his outdoor toilet area will be before bringing a Jack Russell home. Place him there and wait until he does his business before bringing him inside for the first time. Now he'll know where to go. Always take him to the same spot if he begins walking around in small circles, sniffing or if he lifts a leg in the house. If he has an accident, clean the area with an enzyme-based cleaner, which will remove any urine smell (dogs will urinate in areas where they smell traces of urine).

  2. 2

    Train him not to bark and reward him for quiet behaviour. Jack Russells were bred to bark to notify a hunter when they go underground or into heavy undergrowth. Clicker training (in which you use a clicker to make a sound that indicates good behaviour) and positive reinforcement work best.

  3. 3

    Make sure Jack Russells get regular exercise and play time (remember, a tired Jack Russell is a good Jack Russell). They need at least one half-hour brisk walk every day and a good romp in the yard. If you do not have a fenced yard, you can tie him to a stake. Jack Russells will wander off if not tied. Also, they love to dig. To keep him from digging everywhere, bury treats in one particular area and praise him when he uncovers them.

  4. 4

    Keep your pet in a dog crate when he's left home alone. Put in some toys and something soft to lie on. You can also keep him in a closed room (preferably one with a window). Keeping the television or radio on will help keep him from howling.

  5. 5

    Interact often with your Jack Russell: talking, petting, playing. More attention will keep him happier and feeling like part of the family.

Tips and warnings

  • Look into dog sports or activities that you can do with your Jack Russell. They do very well with tracking, agility, flyball and obedience trials.
  • Jack Russells never get too old to learn new behaviours. Anything a puppy can learn, an older Jack can learn.
  • Get the Jack spayed or neutered. This will not only cut down on aggressive behaviour and mounting in males, but will cut down on wandering or escaping.
  • Hitting a Jack Russell, or rubbing its nose in its own faeces or urine, will not train it. In fact, it will make him more hostile.
  • Don't use his crate as a place of punishment. It should be seen as a safe, comfortable place, or he will try to avoid using it.

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