Jack Russell terrier training can simultaneously be a rewarding and frustrating experience. On one hand, a Jack Russell is an innately intelligent dog that can follow instructions easily. The owner will then be able to develop a strong relationship with his dog.
On the other hand, its high energy level, natural inquisitiveness and dominant character can be a source of extreme frustration during training. When the commands are given weakly or when distractions are too much for the dog, the pace of training can be relatively slow.
With such double sides, owners are highly advised to apply the virtues of patience, perseverance and passion for training their Jack Russells. Otherwise, the dog may very well find itself abandoned at the animal shelter or, worse, by the wayside. Unfortunately, this is true for both experienced and inexperienced owners.
General Tips on Training
With that being said, here are a few tips regarding Jack Russell terrier training. Keep in mind that the specifics of the training methods will vary from one Jack Russell to the next due to the factors of age, environment and individual personality. And although Jack Russells are intelligent dogs, one must never assume that it is more intelligent than a human or than it actually is. The reality is that its animal instincts will want it to be part of the pack and yet still be free to do its own thing. In short, it is a delicate balancing act that an owner must tread when training a Jack Russell, or any other dog, for that matter.
- Begin training as early as possible preferably after getting the puppy home. In this way, the puppy has yet to develop the destructive behaviours that will make training at a later age so much more difficult. We are talking of behaviours like barking, digging and biting, all of which are actually part of the natural traits required by Jack Russells as working breeds used for foxhunts but are considered destructive when done in an extreme manner.
- Assert dominance early on. As in the case of other dog breeds, Jack Russell terrier training involves the human becoming the alpha dog of the pack. Otherwise, the pet will run circles around and run roughshod on the master. In fact, owners should teach their Jack Russells to listen to the commands and follow it. Doing so may just save their lives.
- Use positive reinforcement in the sense that good behaviours are rewarded while bad actions are ignored. Never yell at and use physical force at a Jack Russell as it only reinforces its latent aggressive instincts.
- Provide opportunities for socialization but only under certain instances. For example, obedience classes are excellent ways for a Jack Russell to socialize. However, you must never leave two Jack Russells in one room so as to avoid leadership conflicts and you should never place adult and puppies together lest physical harm comes to the latter.
The most important part of Jack Russell terrier training is to be consistent. Dogs may appear smart especially a Jack Russell but their training depends largely on the environment in which the commands are given. Consistency in the environment ensures that the Jack Russell knows that commands will be given no matter the circumstances in which the orders were provided to it. Think of the way that parents discipline their hyperactive children – consistently, firmly and lovingly – and you will get the picture in Jack Russells.
Types of Training
Jack Russells are trained with techniques appropriate for their age, level of training previously acquired and the specific problem being addressed with the training. Dog trainers recommend the following types of Jack Russell terrier training, which any owner can adapt in the home with competent instruction.
First, crate training addresses the dog’s need for a snug space that it can call its own and, thus, can provide for a measure of security and protection. It is not designed to punish the Jack Russell, far from it.
Second, leash training provides opportunities for the Jack Russell to be calm, controlled and composed even when distractions are present. In the process, your pet can respond to the commands at the appropriate time especially when out for a walk.
Third, obedience training establishes the alpha dog position for the owner. This is also the venue where the right kinds of commands and the right delivery will be taught to the owner by the trainer.
Indeed, Jack Russell terrier training may be frustrating at first but the rewards are well worth the sacrifices in the end.