If you share your home with a Jack Russell Terrier, you know how important it is to ensure your pooch is taught proper canine manners. However, by now, you are also aware that teaching your JRT to behave like a gentleman is no easy feat. Jack Russell Terriers are highly prized for their independent, spirited natures. These characteristics that made them so valuable in the field on hunts are the same qualities that can make them challenging to train. Still, the Jack Russell Terrier is a highly intelligent dog. With such smarts to its credit, the JRT can most definitely be taught new tricks; it just takes dedication, commitment, and a little ingenuity on your part to get the job done.
What is the Best Way to Train a Jack Russell Terrier?
Many an owner of a Jack Russell Terrier has been entertained by the antics of a silly puppy only to later discover what seemed so funny in a 10 week old pup was now a behavioral problem in an adult dog. Jack Russell Terriers are masters at training their owners do precisely what THEY want them to do. If you don’t establish boundaries with your JRT and teach your dog what is expected of them, it won’t be long before you’ve lost total control. Trying to get back the reins can be almost impossible as most often the dog has lost respect for you and trying to re-establish your position as a household authority will be challenging at best.
Jack Russell Terriers are fun loving little dogs. However, they are definitely a breed with a mind all their own and a strong penchant for stubbornness. A breed with a very high tolerance for pain, aversive training methods will only encourage reactive behavior from a Jack Russell Terrier. This dog type can successfully be trained, but there is a key to the most effective way to get the job done: you must be smart enough to make the terrier think what you want him to learn was his idea in the first place. Treats, praise, and short training sessions are key to your dog not only learning new skills but also to having fun during the process.
Since puppies are easier to train than adults, you should begin training your Jack Russell Terrier from the moment he first enters your home. The best way to help your JRT learn his canine manners is through the use of clicker/rewards-based training.
To get started with this method, you will need the following items:
- A clicker
- High value treats
What is Clicker Training?
Clicker training is a rewards-based system that marks a desired behavior with a click on a handheld device or through the use of a word such as “Yes!” to help a dog learn when what they are doing is pleasing to you. If used appropriately, it is an efficient system that dogs, including the JRT, respond well to.
The best part about clicker training is that it can be done just about anywhere. Choose a place that has the fewest distractions to begin your training sessions. This will help set you and your dog up for success.
What Commands Does Your Jack Russell Terrier Need to Know?
There are several commands that all dogs should be taught to ensure they are well-mannered as well as to keep them safe from harm. These include:
- Leave It
When preparing to teach your Jack Russell Terrier these important commands, there is one thing you must do to ensure your success: keep your training sessions short. The Jack Russell Terrier picks up new skills with ease when motivated to learn. This terrier becomes frustrated easily when asked to repeat commands the dog has already shown he understands. To avoid this trap, keep your training sessions to no more than 5 minutes. You can do several 5 minute sessions per day if you like; you just need to ensure ample time occurs between each training period to prevent boredom from setting in.
During your 5 minute training sessions, you will want to spend time working on each command. By including several in each training slot, you will have an easier time maintaining your dog’s interest. If at any point, your Jack Russell Terrier becomes frustrated or you are unable to get him to engage, it is best to end the session and try again when your terrier is more interested in working with you.
When teaching a new skill, lavish your JRT with praise and treats each time he does as you ask him to. Jack Russell Terriers respond very well to positive reinforcement, and most of them love treats. Treats and praise coupled with short training slots help to keep your sessions fun for both you and your dog. Over time, they become something you and your JRT look forward to and can help increase your bond.
What are Some Important Things to Keep in Mind When Training a Jack Russell Terrier?
As with all dog breeds, there are some things you should keep in mind when trying to successfully train a Jack Russell Terrier. Here is our list of top tips to help set you up for successful training sessions with your JRT:
- Be free with rewards for correct responses to commands.
Jack Russell Terriers are motivated to please you and to learn when they are rewarded for correct responses to your commands. Lavish your dog with praise, treats, and even games of tug or a toy. Whatever your dog responds to best can become your dog’s reward for a job well done.
- Be consistent.
Jack Russell Terriers are master manipulators. If you are inconsistent with them, they will sense it and exploit this weakness to their advantage. If you expect a certain behavior the first time a command is issued, accept nothing less than the correct behavior the first time you utter the word. If your JRT fails to deliver, you can end the training session and try again at a later time. Over time, your Jack Russell will learn that when you ask for a behavior, you expect to see it, and if the dog fails to do it, he will lose his reward.
Jack Russell Terriers are a breed that thrives on routine. If training is a part of your daily regime, be certain to stick to it for best results with your training efforts.
- Be patient.
Jack Russells can be wilful and are well renowned for their stubbornness. Often, their goals will be in direct opposition to your own, and rarely, does training proceed in a linear fashion. Patience will go a long way to helping you both grow and learn together. Bear in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it WAS eventually built. Your dog won’t learn everything you want him to in a day, a week, or even a month; no matter how smart he may be. But he WILL eventually learn.
- Keep sessions short.
Jack Russells bore easily and become frustrated if asked to repeat commands they feel they have mastered. Short, varied training sessions are the key to success with this breed.
- Always end on a high note.
Forcing your Jack Russell to continue working when he has indicated he has had enough will be detrimental to your bond and to your training efforts. Let the dog set the pace for your sessions, stopping when your dog disengages with you.
Can Jack Russell Terriers be trained? Absolutely! Armed with some yummy treats, lots of praise, and a little ingenuity, you will find training your JRT can be fruitful and lots of fun for you both!