Are Jack Russells Easy To Train? The Ultimate JRT Guide!

You’ve done your research.

You’ve narrowed it down.

There are two final contenders vying for the vaunted place as your next pet: The joyful Jack Russell, or the glum goldfish.

Nothing against goldfish, but a Jack Russell would seem to win this one by miles.

However, there’s just one niggling concern ever-present at the back of your mind. Are Jack Russells easy to train?

You’ve heard some horror stories, for sure. Cautionary tales about uncontrollable canines. You want to make sure that you’re not biting off too much dog than you can chew.

In truth, Jack Russells are pretty much like any other dog when it comes to training. Sure, they have their own built-in, inherent attributes that are more strongly presented due to their background and history as a hunting breed.

However, any negative traits such as destructive behavior, unruly toilet habits, or endless barking or yapping can be easily corrected with consistent and proven training. Treat and reward them fairly, and like any other dog they will respect your commands in return!

Table of Contents

Is The Jack Russell A Good Family Dog?

The Jack Russell is a lovely dog breed that the majority of pet lovers would not have a problem owning. However, when looking for a family dog, you always want to know whether the breed is a good fit for that purpose in addition to being an amazing pet.

Contrary to many stories that you may have read online about Jack Russells, the reality is that this dog breed actually does make good family pets.

They are loving and affectionate, and if trained and handled in the right manner a Jack Russell Terrier can and will establish very close bonds with your family members. Besides, this dog breed is inclined towards pleasing their owners, making them loyal and protective.

Unlike other dogs, however, the Jack Russell can be a little bit more enthusiastic when doing various things, which is why it has gained the reputation of being a bit wild and crazy at times.

As mentioned earlier, the way you train, handle, and teach your dog makes all the difference!

What Makes The Jack Russell A Good Family Dog?

Jack Russell lounging with owner reading a book

The following are the main reasons why the Jack Russell is a good family dog:

Extremely Loyal And Affectionate

Just like other dog breeds that are praised for their ability to be excellent family dogs, the Jack Russell is also just as loving and loyal towards you and your family.

Contrary to some of the stories that you may find online, the Jack Russell breed interacts well with children and can be good play partners.

Excellent Guard Dogs

The affectionate, enthusiastic, and alert nature of Jack Russells makes them amazing guard dogs for a family.

These dogs are energetic and will do whatever they can to protect their owners from different kinds of threats. They have the ability to bark a lot and can be very vocal when they sense something out of the ordinary!

High Level Of Intelligence

The Jack Russell Terrier is a very intelligent breed, and this can make them easier to train and able to handle a significant amount of mental stimulation. You can also rely on them to handle dangerous situations, such as an emergency or attack.

Besides, an intelligent dog is fun to be around!

Healthy And Long Lives

One of the main concerns that the majority of people have when looking for a good family dog is the lifespan and health concerns of that specific breed.

Known as an exceptionally healthy breed with a relatively long average lifespan (13-15+ years), the Jack Russell Terrier will give you fewer reasons to worry about their health and wellbeing over time.

The most common ailments that affect Jack Russells are deafness and inherited eye diseases, both of which rank quite low in terms of severity.

When You Should Avoid Getting A Jack Russell

If you are looking for a family dog, avoid getting a Jack Russell if you don’t want to deal with:

  • Holes being dug everywhere
  • Constant shedding (you will have to groom this breed quite often!)
  • Having to provide interesting things to do, longs walks, and lots of exercise
  • Strong chasing instincts
  • A lot of barking
  • Possible aggression towards other animals
  • Destructiveness when not provided with enough exercise or other exciting things to do
  • A pet that is not great with kids under the age of 3

Are Jack Russell’s Easy To Potty Train?

Jack Russell terrier lying on grass

One of the main questions that you might ask yourself a lot before adopting a Jack Russell as a family dog is whether or not they are easy to house train. After all, the last thing that a pet parent wants is a dog that is still not toilet trained at 6 months of age!

The answer to this, fortunately, is that Jack Russells are indeed easy to potty train due to their high intelligence and desire to please.

There are three different methods that you can use to potty train a Jack Russell, though one of them requires a clicker. You will also require a stock of tasty treats or your dog’s favorite food broken into small pieces.

It goes without mentioning that you will also require some antibacterial spray, potty padsand a little bit of patience, of course. Here is a brief guide on the three main methods that you can employ to potty-train your Jack Russell.

The Routine Method

To potty train your Jack Russell using the routine method, here is everything that you should know.

Step One: Mealtimes

For best results, you will want to feed your pooch at the same time every day.

What this does is it establishes a regular body clock routine in your Jack Russell. This way, it becomes easier to predict when your pooch is likely to use the toilet next.

Step Two: Top Up The Water Bowl

It’s crucial to also keep your dog’s water bowl filled with sufficient water at all times.

The main reason for this is to ensure that the pooch maintains a regular peeing routine. Remember, a dehydrated pup will have unpredictable peeing habits!

Step Three: Morning Toilet Sessions

Once your pup is up in the morning, take him outside to the potty location before giving him breakfast.

After he has had his morning meal, put him on a leash and take him outside again! It’s all about repetition- and, you guessed it- routine.

This way, it becomes easier for your dog to learn to go to the toilet outside when he needs to and prevents problems like your dog being unwilling to poop outside.

In addition, it’s easier for your dog to hold it in at night when they know that they will get a chance to use the toilet in the morning.

Step Four: Lunch Potty Time

During lunchtime, secure your doggie on a leash and take him back to the potty spot. This way, they will continue thinking of the potty as their preferred place of answering their calls of nature.

Step Five: Evening Potty Session

After dinner, allow your pup to rest for about 15 to 20 minutes, and then take them outside to their loo. You can also take them outside once again before bedtime.

In truth, puppies will have to go out several other times throughout the day. The best course of action would be to take it outside to the toilet every 1-2 hours. If your dog uses the potty more frequently, they will develop the habit of only going to the toilet outside in no time!

Verbal Cue Method

Jack Russell Terrier in the park

Here’s what you should know about the verbal cue method:

Step One: Potty Time

You will want to take your Jack Russell out to the potty several times each day. Give him the ‘potty time’ command just when he is about to go so that he can learn and get used to the verbal cue.

Always ensure that you use the command in a lively tone so that your dog responds even more positively.

Step Two: Don’t Stare

When your pooch is busy relieving itself, turn around or avert your gaze so as to avoid making them feel uncomfortable. They need privacy to feel safe and unhurried, so be sure to give it to them.

Step Three: Reward

Dogs repeat actions that they associate with happiness, so be sure to reward your pooch for doing the required action successfully. You can choose to use treats, verbal praise, or even give him his favorite toy so that he can play.

Step Four: Use A Clicker

Using a clicker, you can quickly and effectively communicate to your Jack Russell puppy that it has done the right thing.

So, whenever your dog uses the potty, use the clicker immediately before rewarding them with a treat. This way, it will become easier for them to know what the desired habit is.

Step Five: Be Consistent!

After you have successfully completed the first cycle, be sure to use the same command whenever your dog has to use their potty in the future!

With time, your dog will eventually go to the toilet whenever you instruct them. How great would it be to be able to use the command every time that you need your dog to go outside?

After the dog has finally become comfortable with the instruction, you can phase out the treats in a gradual manner.

“Attractive Potty” Method

Jack Russell waiting to play

To train your Jack Russell using the “Attractive Potty” training method, here are the steps that you should keep in mind.

Step One: Same Spot

Make sure that you take your pup to the same spot every day. Being in the same spot more than once makes the dog feel relaxed, and it will be easier for them to go there again.

It’s also advisable to choose a spot that is relatively close by with minimal distractions.

Step Two: Yesterday’s Potty

If your pooch seems quite unsure going to the chosen spot, you can wipe the remains of the previous day’s potty visit onto the chosen spot. That will make the pup feel that he has been there before, allowing him to let go of any tension.

Step Three: Privacy

Even though your dog has no way of telling you, they do appreciate some privacy when going about their business! For this reason, always look away and allow your dog to have their potty moments in peace.

Step Four: Reward

Giving your dog a treat after he’s done what you want him to do is a good way to encourage it to repeat the desired action again in the future.

Reward consistently at first, and once he has gotten the hang of it you can then gradually start to reduce the treats.

Step Five: Clean Up Any Accidents

Accidents are pretty normal when potty training a puppy, and they should not upset you!

Whenever such situations arise, be sure to clean the accident spot thoroughly. This prevents a situation where your dog smells the spot and uses it as his toilet since he feels that he has been there before.

I’ve always found good success using essential oils or house training sprays to discourage my dogs from going in the wrong spot again in the future.

Are Jack Russell’s High Maintenance?

White Jack Russells with black collar

As far as beauty and grooming is concerned, the Jack Russell Terrier breed is relatively low-maintenance.

They may not require regular baths since they are instinctively inclined to keep themselves clean. However, they may need a weekly brush to handle their heavy shedding.

On the flip side, however, Jack Russell’s are high maintenance as far as their need for attention is involved.

Since they are naturally active, you will have to offer them a range of interesting things to do and plenty of exercise. Failure to do so will potentially unleash the destructive behavior of the dog since they will have a lot of pent up energy.

Do Jack Russell Dogs Bark A Lot?

Yes, Jack Russell’s are a baying breed and do tend to bark a lot.

These dogs are naturally protective, bred to hunt, and territorial, making them more inclined to barking.

Besides, their loyal and protective nature induces them to bark a lot if other humans or dogs come visiting since they want to keep their home and owners safe.

Here are other reasons why your Jack Russell may be barking a lot:

  • Loneliness/boredom
  • They just want to release some pent-up energy
  • Excitement
  • Seeking attention
  • Fear

What You Can Do To Stop The Barking

If your Jack Russell keeps barking unnecessarily, here is what you can do to bring the habit under control:

  • Avoid rewarding your pup’s barking
  • Give your Jack Russell an outlet for their abundant energy
  • Train your dog to remain quiet when needed (you may have to train them to bark first)
  • Desensitize the pup to a problem stimulus that causes the barking (Use treats to make them associate the problem with a positive experience)

Follow the steps outlined below to train your dog to be quiet:

  1. Find a stimulus that gets your Jack Russell barking. (Knocking on a wall or door should work!)
  2. Stimulate your dog to bark using the preferred method, and when they start barking, say “Speak”, while using a distinctive hand signal at the same time. Then, give them a treat.

    Your goal here is to progress gradually until your dog is able to bark when you command and signal them.
  3. Repeat this 3 times every day (no more than 15 minutes) until your Jack Russell is able to bark on command with full confidence.
  4. When you’re sure that they can ‘Speak’ on command, it’s time to teach them how to be quiet. The most effective way to do this is to command them to bark, and as they stop gradually, say “Quiet”, and offer them a treat once they stop.
  5. Teach your Jack Russell to be quiet on command, 3 times every day, paying attention not to exceed 15 minutes. Eventually, your dog should be able to stay quiet on command!

Do Jack Russell’s Bite A Lot?

Handler shows teeth of a Jack Russell to expert

Jack Russell’s are not known as particularly bad biters as adult dogs, but they will chew and nip a lot as puppies largely due to lack of training. In addition, a Jack Russell Terrier will bite and nip a lot during the teething stage.

If your Jack Russell has a habit of biting you, the following may be the reasons why:

  • They are exploring their world
  • They are trying to get you to play
  • They are teething

How To Teach Your Jack Russell Terrier To Stop Biting?

Even in circumstances where your dog bites because they want you to play with them, you should make it known to them that biting is not acceptable.

The following are the things that you can do to stop the behavior:

  1. Socialize your Jack Russell while they are still young, and do it often.
  2. Teach your puppy how to respond to the words ‘No’ and ‘Ouch’ This also works for adult dogs!
  3. Whenever you stop your dog from biting, give them a chew toy instead so that they can interpret it as the accepted behavior.
  4. Keep consistently training and disciplining your Jack Russell, especially when they display the unwanted behavior periodically.
  5. Provide sufficient exercise. Jack Russell’s can develop negative behaviors such as biting due to lack of an outlet where they can channel their excess energy.

Jack Russell Terrier Training Secret: Ten Top Tips!

stylish dog with floral sunglasses licking its chops

Even though training a Jack Russell is truthfully not that much different from training other dog breeds, there are some training tips that will come in handy specifically for the breed.

For a well-behaved dog, here are some of the secret Jack Russell training tips that you should know!

Secret Tip Number One: Start Training Early

Begin training your Jack Russell as soon as you get them home, regardless of their age.

Don’t limit the training to basic commands only- make sure that they learn other things such as the boundaries of what they can and cannot do. They are an intelligent breed, so challenge them!

Secret Tip Number Two: Don’t Neglect Socialization

Don’t underestimate the power of socialization when training your Jack Russell.

Good socialization makes it easier for your Jack Russel to learn how to play and interact nicely with other dogs. If incorrectly socialized, Jack Rusells can start bullying others regardless of how big they are.

Secret Tip Number Three: Give It Enough Attention

Even though there many ways to keep a dog happy, love is something they can’t do without – especially Jack Russell’s!

Since the Russell breed is loving and personable, you have to show your pup plenty of affection for it to be a happy, satisfied dog.

Secret Tip Number Four: Understand The Signs Of Alpha Behavior

Jack Russell wearing sunglasses side profile

Despite being small, Jack Russells can be plucky and confident even around the larger dogs.

Given the chance, your little Jack Russell will not hesitate to take the alpha role within the household.

To avoid this, be sure to identify the potential signs of dominance in your dog such as growling and marking so that you can put an end to such habits early on.

Secret Tip Number Five: Don’t Allow It To Get Bored

You must always keep in mind that Jack Russells are dogs that don’t thrive well without sufficient mental stimulation.

A bored Jack Russell will not respond well to training and can be a problem to the owner over time. To avoid this, be sure to spend enough quality time with your dog. If you have to be away during the day, keep it occupied by giving it puzzles or chew toys for it to play with!

Secret Tip Number Six: Provide Plenty Of Exercise

Jack Russells are active and lively dogs, even if they are relatively small in size and look like they would want to spend the whole day indoors.

Due to their active nature these dogs require plenty of exercise to keep them happy, and most of it should be in the outdoors where they can have a good run around.

Secret Tip Number Seven: Be Consistent

Just like with other dogs, Jack Russells also respond positively to good, consistent training. Remember to keep your rules fair but strict and avoid breaking them unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Secret Tip Number Eight: Don’t Underestimate The Jack Russell’s Learning Capabilities

Jack Russell wearing harness outdoors

They might look small and incapable of grasping complex commands, but if you would only give your Russell the chance you would be amazed to learn that they are capable of so much!

They can understand and follow complex commands, learn amazing tricks, and even potentially become service dogs!

Secret Tip Number Nine: Appreciate Their Natural Tendencies

Jack Russells are naturally meant to be hunting dogs, and what that means is that it may not be able to resist the temptation of pursuing smaller animals (such as birds) when you take him out for a walk.

However, you can always work with your dog from when they are young to help them minimize these habits.

Make sure to teach them commands such as “Leave” and good recall, but if they still try to chase even after you have trained them not to, don’t be too upset- it’s only natural after all.

Just keep letting them know that it is not a desirable habit, and they’ll eventually get the hang of it!

Secret Tip Number Ten: Remember- They Are Dogs!

Being small in stature does not mean that you should treat your Jack Russell like a puppy even when it’s fully grown.

Avoid doing things such as lifting them out of the way when you see larger dogs or carrying them around everywhere. Allow your Jack Russell to live a normal dog life and they will thrive.

In Summary

If you were wondering, “Are Jack Russells easy to train?” This article told you just about everything that you would need to know about training and living with a Jack Russell Terrier as part of your family.

From being consistent with training methods, to providing enough exercise and allowing your dog to be a dog, there are a variety of methods that you can use to effectively train your Jack Russell.

When trained and handled in the right way, Jack Russells are indeed adorable pets that will interact well with other pets and kids as well. If need be, you can always enlist the assistance of a professional dog trainer!

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