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5 Simple Jack Russell Training Tips That Get Results

Updated on March 1, 2010


There's a lot of advice floating around on how to train Jack Russells (JRTs) - most of it's bad. This article will explain the most important points to keep in mind for Jack Russell training. Most importantly, this advice is all really tested on JRTs, so it actually works. It's not "just a theory".

1. Keep training positive.
Your best weapons when it comes to training Jack Russells are treats and games. JRTs respond best to the promise of a reward for good behavior. On the flipside, harshly punishing bad behavior can have the opposite effect from what you want - it can actually make bad behavior worse. This is because Jacks are so independent and strong-willed that when you try to stop them from doing something they want to do, it just strengthens their desire to do it. So focus on getting your dog to do what you want, and rewarding with a highly motivating food treat or game.

2. Develop routines.
This is absolutely crucial. All animals need a routine. It gives them comfort in life. In the wild, a break in routine means danger and the possibility of death. Routines mean a safe and stable life.

You need to control when certain things happen in your dog's life. You should be in control of bedtime, feeding times, play times, and training times. Controlling when your dog eats, sleeps and exercises will help you to control her mood and energy level at different times of the day. It also does one other very important thing: it helps to establish you as "the leader of the pack."

3. Be the pack leader.
If you've read any training advice before or watched "The Dog Whisperer," you've probably heard this line before. Lots of people throw the term around without really understanding what it means or how it applies to Jack Russell Terrier training.

Being the pack leader doesn't mean dominating your dog or forcing her to do what you want. That will only create resistance in a JRT. It simply means taking the lead. Creating routines is one way to do this. Being in control of all food treats and toys is another. But you can't do this by domination - you have to win your dog's respect. Which brings me to my next point.

4. Be a team player.
Your aim is to be the team captain, not a slave driver. Read that sentence again - it's extremely important to understand this if your Jack Russell Terrier training efforts are going to be successful.

Training should be fun for both you and your dog. If either of you are getting frustrated, it's time to relax and ease up with a game. Obedience training is something you and your dog build on together. It's like a shared project. It's not something you should ever get frustrated or angry about.

5. Keep training fun.
Training should be broken up by regular games and play. You can also use games as a part of training, or as rewards. If your Jack Russell gets bored or overwhelmed by training sessions, it will make it harder to train her in the future. She will start to view training as a negative thing, so she will avoid it.

Likewise, training should be fun for you. Training a Jack Russell is a win-win scenario for both you and the dog. Remember - your dog will follow your lead. If you enjoy training, so will your dog, and when you're both having fun you'll both learn faster.


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