Because of the breed’s innately intelligent nature, Jack Russell obedience efforts can be well-rewarded with a well-behaved dog with equally well-adjusted socialization skills. Still, we must emphasize that it can also be difficult to teach Jack Russells their proper manners around canines and humans because of their feisty, bossy and scrappy qualities, all of which have been known to land the small terrier into fights with bigger dogs, even pit bulls if necessary.
Potential Causes for Misbehaviour
Just like humans, Jack Russells have individual personalities of their own. It will be to the owner’s detriment to assume that one Jack Russell is similar in all aspects to the next Jack Russell regardless of age, environment and other lifestyle factors. There are, however, certain qualities for which Jack Russells are famous for – or infamous, depending on one’s point of view – which have significant effects on obedience training.
- Aggression against other dogs, whether it is a Jack Russell or a different breed, is common especially when these canines are unfamiliar. Jack Russells appear to have no sense of their own small size and, hence, will take on even larger breeds to express their aggression. In fact, Jack Russell obedience training often arises out of the need to control such aggressive tendencies.
- Behaviours related to fox hunts specifically chasing, digging and barking are hardwired, so to speak, into the breed as part of their roles during fox hunts. These actions are valuable in the field but are destructive to the health of humans, canines and things in the daily setting.
- High levels of energy, relatively short attention span and easy-to-distract nature can frequently get in the way of obedience and agility training, which demand control over movements, attention to the commands and focus on the master.
These are just a few of the causes for misbehaviour in Jack Russells, of course. It is up to the owner to determine the exact nature of the dog’s failure to obey commands at will regardless if the command means to stay put or to run to a designated place.
Potential Actions to Address Misbehaviour
The best way to successfully address the misbehaviour is through Jack Russell obedience training. This can be performed either by a professional dog trainer in a special facility or by the owner himself in the comforts of home or both. We recommend going for the two routes as a professional dog trainer is better-equipped to handle a Jack Russell while the owner must be able to establish dominance over the dog. When properly combined, the Jack Russell should be able to follow commands even when off the leash.
Early training is essential in the matter of Jack Russell obedience although we must also emphasize that no puppy less than 8 weeks old should be trained. Or for that matter, no puppy less than 8 weeks old must be taken home from the breeder’s kennel since physical and psychological contact with the mother dog is critical in proper development at this stage.
We also suggest providing for formal obedience training classes as well as agility courses early on. In this way, the natural energetic nature of the Jack Russell puppy can be harnessed for its own good. Plus, formal training will also provide the human owner with the valuable opportunity of knowing how to deal with future problems especially where aggression is concerned.
During Jack Russell obedience training, the owner and the Jack Russell will be able to establish the dominant nature of the former over the latter. Yes, we may want to spoil rotten our pets but, ultimately, it will be to our detriment since we can be the subject of destructive, aggressive and just plain annoying behaviour like barking, biting and chewing. So, be the dominant alpha dog in the Jack Russell’s pack and both human and canine will benefit from such a relationship.
Furthermore, formal training classes must be reinforced by home training. We recommend positive reinforcement techniques that involve providing for moderate praises and treats for good behaviour on one hand as well as isolation and ignoring the dog for bad behaviour on the other hand. We cannot overemphasize the importance of not hitting, shouting and punishing a Jack Russell lest your own actions reinforce the bad behaviour.
Indeed, the matter of Jack Russell obedience is an important consideration in ensuring a healthy dog companion for the next 15 years of its natural life. Be sure that you are up to it since Jack Russells are not exactly the most docile dog breed around.