The Jack Russell terrier breed is well-known for being energetic, excitable and athletic to the point of always being on the move from morning till evening, which comes as a surprise to many first-time owners considering the dogs small size. Such on-the-go nature is part of their constitution as Jack Russells are breed to be working dogs used in fox hunts.
One of the easily recognizable behaviours is Jack Russell terrier jumping, which can be seen as either a negative behaviour or a positive behaviour depending on the situation. On one hand, it is a negative behaviour when the jumping action is done with aggression in mind. For example, the Jack Russell jumps on small children, the elderly and frail individuals as well as jumps on its owner to test its dominance over the human. This is perceived as aggressive behaviour especially as Jack Russells will take any opportunity to challenge the alpha dog of the pack – you.
On the other hand, it is a positive behaviour when the jumping action is performed during agility trials and races for Jack Russells. We must take note that these agility trials and races involve the dogs jumping over hurdles so much so that the higher the dog’s jump, the higher the score.
Indeed, your Jack Russell terrier jumping behaviour should not be immediately seen as a purely negative behaviour. It is natural for dogs to jump to show their aggression, agility and excitement, which humans have the responsibility to transform into behaviour favourable for both man and dog.
Stopping the Negative Behaviour
Let’s deal with Jack Russell terrier jumping as a negative behaviour first since it can endanger the health of the recipient like the elderly around the house. We must emphasize that training a Jack Russell to counteract any bad behaviour, be it digging, jumping and biting, requires patience, perseverance and passion to carry out the process. Jack Russells are also known for their stubborn, feisty and dominant nature that has landed them in trouble with dogs and humans bigger than they will ever be in size.
There are many ways to accomplish the task of stopping the negative jumping behaviour of Jack Russells. All of these methods, however, have a common thread running through them – apply positive reinforcement techniques by rewarding the dog with modest treats and words of praise but never ever meting out punishment especially in terms of physical and mental kinds. Otherwise, the negative behaviour of aggressive Jack Russell terrier jumping will become more pronounced and, thus, more dangerous.
- Ignore the dog when it is jumping. Just turn your back, make no eye contact and speak no words until such time that it is down on its four paws.
- Issue the right commands at the right time. An experienced dog trainer should be able to provide exercises on the best way to say “Sit” and “Off” in order to be obeyed. It will take constant practice, a firm tone of voice and consistent dog training before positive results can be seen but the rewards will be well worth the time and effort spent on the exercises.
Just take note that jumping in Jack Russells should be a natural behaviour best left controlled by the firm hand of the alpha dog. Complete suppression of the jumping instinct is not healthy either as it goes against the grain of the breed. Besides, Jack Russell terrier jumping ability in agility races and trials are highly appreciated by their human handlers as it will bring home the trophy.
Turning Positive Behaviour into a Winning Action
So, how can the Jack Russell’s jumping capacity be turned into a winning ability? Well, the answer is simple – agility training. This training can be had either in the home with a homemade agility obstacle course in the backyard although we suggest training in an agility centre. At the very least, there are professional trainers around who can provide expert assistance, tips and advice on how best to harness the Jack Russell terrier jumping ability to greater heights, pun intended.
Just to give an idea of these agility races and trials, Jack Russells are made to flush out prey like rats from a trench, jump through obstacles and perform other feats of athleticism. See-saws, tires and other obstacles must be completed in the shortest time possible with deductions for violations of standards like pulling on the leash.
Indeed, the previously negative Jack Russell terrier jumping can be turned into a winning behaviour. Training with patience, perseverance and passion is the key in this case.