How Not to Train a Jack Russell Terrier
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Peter has two Jack Russel Terriers, named Oliver and Maggie. He loves them despite all the trouble they give him.
Despite the fact that I have read just about everything there is to read about training Jack Russell terriers (JRTs), I have yet to be able to put that vast knowledge to any productive use. But, I love my JRT, Oliver, anyway.
What I am, apparently, is an expert in how not to train your JRT, so here goes:
1. DON'T: Let them sleep outside their kennel.
No matter how much they whine at first, do not let your Jack Russell terrier get in the habit of sleeping outside of his or her kennel. You will have the most excrutiating time trying to get them to return to it later. Also, unless you want your dog wedged as a permanent fixture between you and your spouse at night in bed, do not let your JRT sleep in your bed. You have to be firm when training your Jack Russell.
2. DON'T: Let them feel dominant.
Do not let your Jack Russell terrier get into the habit of standing on top of you with his or her paws on your chest. As much as you might love playing with them on the floor, they will very quickly begin to feel a sense of dominance. Pretty soon, they are the boss. It is hard enough to persuade them that you are the boss anyway!
3. DON'T: Give praise right after discipline.
When you discipline your Jack Russell, do not immediately follow the discipline with love and affection. As guilt-ridden as you may be for having to tell your dog "No!", do not confuse your Jack Russell with mixed emotions. He or she needs to learn the difference between praise and discipline. This is essential.
4. DON'T: Let your JRT demonstrate dominance over other dogs.
There are several well-trained, considerably larger dogs in my neighborhood, but Oliver firmly believes he is twice the size of all them (put together). Luckily, those dogs are well-behaved. As much as your Jack Russell will love to show off that he set another dog running with his or her fierce bark, you must correct this behavior. It will help when he or she comes across a dog who is not so well trained. It is essential that you socialize your Jack Russell during their training.
5. DON'T: Let them get comfortable on your furniture.
Do not let your dog get accustomed to being on the furniture at will. Train your Jack Russell that you determine when it is okay for him or her to be on the sofa, or on the bed, or on the kitchen table (no joke). It is easier to train your dog properly first than to try to retrain it later.
6. DON'T: Let them ride in the front seat.
Do not let your Jack Russell ride in the front seat of the car with you. There are plenty of good dog seats that buckle easily into your rear seat's seat belt. Use them! Trust me, if you don't, you will have a co-pilot sooner than you think. I mean it, hands on the steering wheel and all.
7. DON'T: Give them table scraps.
Do not respond to your dog's begging for table scraps. All it takes is once, and your quiet meals at home are history (dinner parties, history; holiday meals, history; barbecues, interesting). Our Jack Russell would voluntarily start doing tricks at the prospect of a human treat. Be strong!
8. DON'T: Let your Jack Russell become the pack leader.
As much as it has become normal to have one pet, dogs are still pack animals. They instinctively behave as they would in the wild, as they would in a pack. As much as you want to spoil your JRT rotten, you have to be the alpha dog—otherwise, your dog will walk you, not the other way around. Quite literally, your JRT will become the leader of the house: playing when they want to, waking you up when they want to, tagging alone when they want to, you name it.
9. DON'T: Forget that they are a dog—not a human.
Do not forget that your Jack Russell is still a dog. As lovable and fun and fantastic as they are, they are not human, but trying convincing them of that! If you can remember your JRT is not human, it will be easier teaching it that he or she is not human. This is probably the toughest one. Remember, your Jack Russell is a member of the family, but not human. If you treat your dog like a human, it will think it is human, and a dog cannot have a full life living as a human.
10. DO: Love your dog.
Enjoy your JRT; they are loads of entertainment. They are smart, tricky, full of life, friendly, and they think this world was made just for them.
Here is an example: Our first JRT (Maggie) completely developed her own soccer game. She loved to play catch with tennis balls (yes catch, I would throw—up, over-the-shoulder, fast-pitch, slow-pitch-you name it—she would catch). One day while I was cooking supper, she decided (notice I said she decided, see number three above) it was time to play ball. So, she threw (yes, threw—she could throw the tennis ball by moving her head) me the ball, and I, being preoccupied with pots, pans, oven doors, etc., kicked the ball back to her. It got past her through an open door, and the game was on. She then became a doorway soccer goalie. If you kicked the ball past her, she got mad, if she defended the goal, she was victorious and would return the ball so you could try again. Any doorway was fair game, any hall, in anyone's house. It was great.
Yes, I love my JRT, and I would highly recommend them as pets for the right family. But, I am not much more than an oversized plaything for mine, as my experience clearly indicates. So, learn from my mistakes and enjoy your Jack Russell.
Jack Russell Terrier Links
- Jack Russell Terrier Club of America (JRTCA)
- Dog Owner's Guide to the Jack Russell
- Jack Russell Terrier Rescue
- Jack Russell Terrier Wikipedia Page
A Jack Russell and a Vacuum
My Jack Russell Terriers
Morgan on June 23, 2020:
I rescued a JRT 2 years ago and when we adopted her we had already had a 8 year old lab and a 3 year old Great Dane. She quickly adapted and beside a few behavioral issues (we are still working) she’s a great dog. We let her sleep in our beds, lay on our couch, and sit in the front seat just like our other dogs. She has not missed behaved in the house and is very well trained there are right and wrong ways to train dogs but I’m sorry I’m going to have to disagree with your points from experience
[email protected] on April 17, 2020:
Why does my Jack Russel get more angry ever morning with the postman and even recognises his van on its way and even when the door opens.hes furious and barks axx x if he’s going to kill him,he wrippscall my post and I’m lucky I have a nice postman or he could upset as myomere when he’s like a mad wolf .it wakes the whhoke house barking and growling it’s not good he’s 9 now but is there a reason why it’s only the postman and is there any tips to stop the earlie caps please.help
Kirk on March 09, 2020:
you are an awful pet owner. dominance theory has been debunked. you are simply not allowing them to enjoy life for absolutely no reason.
LB Pickering on October 26, 2018:
Your Maggie and our Sasha could be twins! And the video on this page of the JRT and the vacuum is spot on. Sasha is our first dog ever and she is perfect for our family. A crazy frenetic addition that has turned our mundane family into a true pack of energetic hunters - if you need to reset your family dynamic a JRT will do it !
Claudia on September 27, 2018:
Omg. im on my 3rd jrt amd i have to say they slept wherever they wanted the furniture was theirs they stood sat and whatever on me. Oh they were agility champions one twice over champion other no 1 dog in nation in certain agility events. Both jacks did commercials and appeared on tv. They lived to 19 and 17. Sorry. Love them and they will do what us ask.
Steph on February 24, 2018:
I have a13 week old Jack Russell Yorkie. He is still being house trained. He pees3at times in the house on the pee3pad and today he pooped on the floor. I could use help with this, this is the only issues have with him. He's a good dog.
Natasha Miller on December 15, 2017:
I have a little JRT x Pug named Bailey and my goodness he is a handful. Although he’s only 15 weeks I’ve got him into a terrible habit where he can not be apart from me. He screams almost in his crate when I’m not in the room but at night time he sleeps in there peacefully so long as he can see me in bed across the room.
I understand discipline and it’s importance but I’m a sucker I guess I just can’t hear him distressed so I always give in and let him out to do as he pleases even if it means finding a puddle of pee in the dining room occasionally.
My biggest advice is patience. You have got to have patience when it comes to JRTs because they are as stubborn as they are intelligent and could play for 24hours if let. But getting irritated and yelling or aggressive with them does not work. I admit I had an awful day where I was yelling at him for every little thing and I’m telling you he listens more when I talk to him. Make sure you burn their energy take them for walks me and Bailey do hill climbing and tug of war as we haven’t quite mastered fetch. Although he usually still wants to play after all that he is noticeably calmer indoors.
The only regret I have is that he is very clingy because of my clingy ness when I first got him. Make sure you enforce boundaries from a young age or pay the price when he/she is older.
Carolynne on November 08, 2017:
We have a jack russell an all he seems to do is shred his bed an heidis bed, chewwing the furniture hes doing all he can to distroy everything. Im sick of being told hes a pup hes 9monthes old, he has toys an gets a bone weekly im at witts end with him.
John Baxter on June 08, 2017:
Well, I do have to say our Maggie got very little discipline from us, yet was quite easy to live with. I think she had an innate sense of all this stuff. Once, when she bit a neighbor for entering the yard and taking materials that belonged to him (though I suspect her heart was not in it and that she did not bite very hard), she obviously felt guilty later. Also, in spite of having slept in bed with me many times, I was readily able to get her to sleep in her bed the last time she visited. Yes, she could be very independent and even almost defiant, but that was rare. I think she responded well to our asks because she got lots of extra petting and affection. Greatest dog ever, and completely irreplaceable!
Dayna on June 05, 2017:
Thank you! I just adopted a puppy JRT that is deaf. He's all white. He such a cutie but he is keeping me on my toes! Thanks for the advice!
Max Taylor on June 26, 2016:
This is an Obituary to our dearly beloved Jack Russell (Nelson) the most fantastic dog I have ever loved he developed dementia which got worse and the vet said time to put him to sleep life will never be the same without him ,he was 15 years old was deaf and blind and had difficulty walking but we remember the happy times he fell off the boat 5 times but was A Good swimmer I had pneumonia and was freezing cold he slept next to me for 2 weeks and kept me warm till I recovered Thank you Nelson RIPxxxxxx
Sasha the JRT on April 24, 2016:
We have had a female Jack since about 10 weeks old. She was super easy to train and we chose to clicker train her. At the moment we are a one dog house but considering getting a rescue Jack (Male). What I am interested in is why all of the how NOT to train your Jack rules have to be bad?. Our girl sleeps with us every night. She has her own pillow and mostly we would not know she is there. She sits on top of us when I ask for a cuddle...do I think she is in charge? Who cares...because at the end of the day she does what she is told 99% of the time). We have a large acreage and she could escape anytime she wants but she never has. I do get mad with my husband if he is outside washing the car and he is letting her sit outside the gate in the sun because I know that if something caught her eye across the road she would instinctively run across and may be hit by a car...so I shut the gate.
She digs very occasionally loves to chase a stick or ball. Jumps up into our arms on command and loves riding in the car. We can't even spell the word B E A C H because she knows what it means and LOVES it. She runs off at the beach, socialises but always stops to see where we are and if we stop she comes back to see what we are doing. I have always been in the habit of praising her for doing the right thing and when she is just sitting doing nothing I go to her and praise her for being good. She barks at people walking past and lets it be known if we have a visitor (saves having a door bell and keeps the door knockers away).I don't know...what am I missing? we pretty much do ALL of those "How not to train a Dog" things and we have a happy healthy, well adjusted intelligent loving dog. Maybe we got lucky?
Gee on March 17, 2016:
I found the answer to JR's and just running off (while looking after the father of mine for friends) .... just open the car door :) They hate being left out of a car trip and usually dive headlong into the car and you have them cornered !
Mine was an idlebones russell when not actually out for a walk for eg, just put her basket down anywhere you were busy and she was happy just to admire the scenery with one eye on me. As you said though, she soon became a co-pilot even telling me where I should be changing gear and stamping her paws on the dashboard if held up in traffic.
We cannot have dogs here and I still miss my little shadow of 16years. I know she still walks beside me in spirit.
Leah O on October 15, 2015:
My two children and I have been claimed by thee most adorable, loving, smart, stubborn, snugly, hardworking, playful Jack Russell mix ever. I walked past him for two days at our humane society because he was 8 months old and I didn't want the hard work of a puppy. Dang if he didn't act all sweet and good...so I took him for a walk and he was naughty as hell. Pulling like crazy, jumping, nuts. But I swear when I returned him to his kennel he played me-lookin' all sweet and nice. He is a handful for sure, and with two children ages 8 and 10, I am training times 3. But he is so so worth it. I have been scouring the Internet looking for tips on teaching him that I am not a climbing gym. He will quite literally try to climb right into my heart when we snuggle. And I let him. But morning comes and he is walking on my head to get a glimpse out the window. While I'm still sleeping, mind you. The good news is he is very trainable. My kids and I watch videos and read books on training together so that they are on board, and we make sure that this crazy dog gets to run and play every afternoon. He is a lot of work, this one. Wouldn't trade this lovely Sammy for the whole world. He has brought such joy into our lives.
annie on January 10, 2015:
How to show your jack russle he is not the alpha dog when there are other males in the house he peas on their shoes and where thy sleep
Sharon Berry from Michigan on October 28, 2014:
You have a great sense of humor and I loved reading this Hub. All of your tips (the don'ts and 1 do) could apply to any breed of dog. I've never had a Jack Russell but always thought they were adorable. I've always had larger breed dogs, 3 Great Danes, 1 Poodle and 3 German Wirehaired Pointers. I currently have a German Wirehaired Pointer named Joey and he brings me much joy.
stella vadakin from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619 on October 12, 2014:
Hi, Just want to let you know I enjoy reading your Hubs. I did not think a JRT would become dominant, I have a beagle and she is so sweet. The JRT sound very enjoyable.
Matilda on October 07, 2014:
Hi there, I have recently brought two little kittens home. I have a JackRusell , thought he has grown with two other cats, I 'm a bit worry he might do something to them. I keep them supervised at all times and separated when I'm not home. I'm very firm with my dog and correct him at all times. I hope someone can advice me a bit more in what not to do or dos in this matter. Thanks
Trina St Michael on September 17, 2014:
We have had Jack Russel's in our lives for over 20years. I don't think we'd ever get any other breed. They are too smart, crazy, demanding, tenacious, have temper tantrums and the list goes on and on. But they are the best dog in the world. They are loyal, lovable, smart, cute, have super personalities and on and on.
Spitfire lived until she was almost 18 years old.
All our dogs want to be with us and I guess we are lucky but all our dogs listen when we call them after leaving them off leash in a field to run free. Most of the time they do not run far from us and always seem to keep us in their view.
TXSchlewitz on September 15, 2014:
Hello! I am a JRT wannbe owner. You experiences are real fun to read, ha, ha! It seems to be the most extreme challenge in dogie ownership to have a JRT. I feel I am up to it so one of these days I will be sharing with you my experiences. Adios from Texas.
Brian on March 05, 2014:
I got Tyson when he was 7 years and 56months old. He is crate trained. He sleeps with me every night. he goes to his crate on command. All I say is crate and he's there. No muss, no fuss. So, I guess he's the exception to your rule No. 1 as he'll be 9 years old next month ?
Anna Thomas-Holland on January 09, 2014:
We have an already failed.... *hangs head* Ours has taken to sitting on our faces in bed with his sole purpose to get his backside in direct contact with our noses. Our lives regularly flash before our eyes. We don't perceive this as respectful behaviour....
Lamar on November 19, 2013:
HAHA! I have a Jack and it literally feels as though you just described my life....
Hurkimer on September 01, 2013:
The JRT in the video with the vacuum cleaner looks EXACTLY like my little Roxie.
Fran on September 01, 2013:
Hi from Cornwall UK we loved your piece & thought it very good advice.
For all the people stressing with puddles a crate is your best friend with a JRT.
My two pieces of advice are to invest in a crate from day one, fill it with cool stuff, hand feed your pup his meals inside it, hide treats under a blanket inside it and get him to LOVE it.
Why? Because your pup will not defecate or urinate in his crate so long as it is the same size as he is. This means you can be in charge of toileting not him.
Here's how it works, out of the comfy crate and straight to toilet area, no playing and no excitement, you say toilet over and over again until pup goes, reward this with a tasty treat and a heart felt standing ovation, then it is play time, lots of play, followed by a drink and a second calm toilet trip, follow the same routine of saying toilet over and over (sounding a little crazy to the neighbours) but when he goes another ovation and a treat, back to the crate, put another treat in the crate and a chew toy and its down time until next toilet trip and play time.
Your pup will cotton on really fast that AS SOON as the crate is opened its toilet time FIRST and then play time, trust me he will be racing to go toilet on command.
Any whining in crate, take pup CALMLY outside to see if toilet is needed & if not back to crate and whining is to be TOTALLY ignored (this is hard) but doing it will save you so much hassle long term and you won't end up with a yipping pain in the arse who drives you bonkers by trying to change YOUR routine to his or her timetable.
The second piece of advice is to never ever give your JRT anything for free, every treat, cuddle, bit of couch time, play, toy, fuss has to be earned with a sit down on command and a calm demeanour. This takes patience and speed on handing over treat the INSTANT a sit is achieved
If you INSIST on a calm doggie who is sitting before handing over the goodies you will GET a calm well behaved doggie who knows how to get his or her own way via clever use of good behaviour. Again they are SO SO smart they cotton on to this real quick too.
These two things will give your JRT a great start for being a good citizen in your home and will also give them the power to earn what they want by learning how to most please you.
JRT's LOVE to please their owners & if they are taught how from day one you will have a very happy, aware, pup with a very tight bond to you.
As all the comments above show these little guys are the sharpest knives in the block and there isn't much they can't learn, it's up to owners to teach them the things that will best benefit their JRT by keeping them safe and working their brains in positive behaviour.
I'm not suggesting there should be no fun, but for a JRT fun is learning and getting lots of treats for being the cleverest dog ever, they are huge show offs and love stealing every other dogs thunder by being the best at sitting, staying, rolling, jumping, finding and loving.
I love mine so much, this breed brings so much heart into everything they do. Enjoy !!
Terrilynn on July 03, 2013:
these are great postings! My jrt...Jumpin Jack Flash (and yes, he is a gasgasgas) is 6m old and considering everything i've read about them , is doing extremely well and is a constant work in progress! One thing for sure...must be the alpha at all times and he comes around to my way of thinking....or so he lets me think ...hahaha
Sara on October 22, 2012:
well im sorry but i could never allow my jack to sleep alone, he has to sleep with me, and i cant stop giving him scraps, i feel guilty if i dont and really nothing wll make me change the way i treat my dog, also I cant stop him from going on my furniture, the table one thing, but not the chairs or sofas, my home is his and all my other dogs. Really not to be mean but I wont agree with everything you say, this is my opinion and I do think they should be treated like humans, but u knw thats my opinion i guess
elbeem2000 on October 22, 2012:
After reading your "hub" about JRT's - I can identify 150%. I had a JRT, and soon learned how to spell words whenever he was in our presence. We could not say the word "car", "walk", "beach" - and a few other words in his presence. My Sport suffered from a serious case of "Napoleonitis", especially when affronted by other dogs twice and more his size!! All in all, he was my "son". I miss the little one terribly, and not a day goes by, I do not forget him. I have promised myself, that I will have a JRT in my life again. This time, I will be well prepared, armed to the teeth with whatever it takes to love, cherish, and be confident that I will NOT be ruled ever again by 15 lbs of muscle and brawn!!
He was 13 when he passed from pancreatic cancer - thankfully he went down fast - in one week.
My favourite memory of him was when he wore down my husband from having him to throw my JRT - over 30 times - from the top of the stairs (a four flight stair case) on to the sofa!! My poor husband was worn out, and my Sport kept bounding off the sofa, up the short flight of steps to be picked up again, and hurled on to the sofa!!
The other memory was when I had to rescue him from a fight with a killer dog ... I was in the kitchen when I heard the ruckus, opened the door, only to see my JRT UNDER the killer dog, trying to bite his legs, and the killer dog trying to bite my JRT and at the same time, keeping his legs out of my JRT's jaws. The killer dog sensed my presence, looked up at me, then turned tail and ran, with my JRT in hot pursuit!! I now, began to run after my JRT, all the while calling his name to come back (yeah, right!). Then I realised with horror that the killer dog was running to its own back yard - this made me run harder, and just as I was within reach of my JRT, I lunged, fell on my chest, and just barely had time to grab on to my JRT's hind legs ... and I pulled!!! Well, needless to say - he upset that I messed up his vibe!! I had to hold him at arms length all the way back to my house. He tried to bite my hands several times - still in a rage!! My JRT did not speak to me for two days!! Gave me wide berth when we passed each other in corridors, he refused to eat the food I set down for him, etc, etc. My husband looked at him and said: "Sport is not a dog!"
Max on October 09, 2012:
When we scold our JRT he scolds us back. Any tips on how to stop this?
jess4657 on June 10, 2012:
My dog keeps whining and hiding underthings, any ideas what could be causing this?
patch on June 09, 2012:
Just thought is give it ago. Missus just got a jack staff cross, can't really see the staff in it. Shes a bitch called Molly and isten months old. She's taken to her training like a pro already mastered the basics. Had two bitches when I was a kid called peach and demo who were brilliant jacks. Molly gets on great with the kids. Steals their toys too. Can't wait to see how much she will learn.
Liza on May 22, 2012:
Pet fences do work with JRT's, my Henry is three years old and I trained him at 12 weeks. He doesn't even have to wear the collar any more. A few zaps and that was it. He never leaves the yard.
psrpippy on May 19, 2012:
I am pulling my hair out. I have just got my JRT back from a 2 year separation while I was overseas. He has been cared for by friends who have basically let him rule the roost. I am now sitting listening to him cry, bark and try to dig his way out of his cage that he shares with my other dog a Mini pincer who has a developed a habbit of peeing in the house, hence the cage. Please, short of me sleeping on the floor nex to them, how can I break this cycle. I have now given up and left the cage door open so as not to make them associate it with a punishment and more a sanctuary and am now letting them roam around the kitchen, running the risk of the pincher peeing everywhere. I feel that these dogs have been spoiled rotten and allowed to rule the roost. They are also so disobedient now, they don't come when called and just do as they please.
What can I do.
Tired and soooo emotional in the south of England
Melissa on April 29, 2012:
We have had Ben for a year now - he is 2 years old. My greatest fear is that he will run away. We let him out off leash earlier this evening to let him chase a red squirrel up a tree in our front yard. As soon as the squirrell was well up the tree he took one look at us and took off down the road at full speed. My husband sprinted off after him yelling his name but Ben just kept on running. I grabbed the white container he knows holds his dog bones. My husband got him to slow down and sort of come to him by playing dead and then dragging his feet in the gravel road. By then I caught up to them and called Ben, showing him the white tub, which made him run to me. He hesitated a bit, probably figuring he was in trouble, but I grabbed him and carried him home. We didn't know if we should scold him or praise him. We know it is only a matter of time before he gets off leash and we lose him. Clearly we need to do a much better job teaching Ben who is boss and training him to 'come' on command. He is a funny, loving, smart, hyper, adorable, barking bundle of energy. The best companion we have ever had. Oh, and he is a puller on the leash but I have been working with him and he is getting better. We live in an open area with about 10 houses and lots of open fields and woods so loads of things to get and hold his attention - squirrels, birds, other dogs, kids, the UPS truck, mailman....
Summer on April 27, 2012:
OMG- this cracked me up! You explained my Emma perfectly and sadly everything that she does!
George on April 13, 2012:
We have 2 JRTs and during walks one of them would literally choke herself pulling us and the other would go nuts barking at other dogs. We found the Gentle Leader which attaches to the leash and it really works by keeping them more in control. Highly recommend it! Check it out, it really helps.
Doreen on April 07, 2012:
This is very useful to me. I have five dogs now (I know I am mad). One golden retriever (9) very placid male, one border terrier x jr, two jackchows. Now a lovely little white jr. He is nine weeks and I was just starting to do all the things you say not to do :) After reading this I am placing him in his crate. He has cried a bit but its a battle I now realise I need to win. I have had him in bed with me, now he will be placed in his crate and I did have him sleeping on my chest. Things will now change. My other dogs are well behaved. Although the younger dogs did growl at him at first but I destracted them by praise and giving them a slice of ham so they seem to be accepting him. Thank you for this article it will help me a great deal. Doreen
Meagan on March 29, 2012:
I guess I'm just the crazy one that decided to adopt not 1 but 2 JR & Beagle mix pups! What was I thinking?!
Karen on March 12, 2012:
How do I stop my 2 year old rescue Jack Russel male from jumping around and whining in the car.
cpnhook on March 07, 2012:
I recently adopted a new JRT after having to put down my 16 yr old JRT. He was a part of our family and we all felt the loss greatly. Hence HAZMAT entered our lives. I forgot how much work and frustration it was to train a JRT puppy. Needless to say he is named appropriately but I would not change it for the world. He never fails to make me laugh, even after he decided that that pizza we left on the kitchen table smelled too good. I think he was just making sure we didn't overeat. lol. To everyone who feels that crate training is cruel to a dog I will dispute that. It is one of the best things you can do for your dog. It becomes their home and safe place. If my dogs are frightened during a storm that is where you will find them. It's their place and they know it. Hazmat is 5 months old now and the potty training is still a challenge. I know with time and patience I will bring him around to my way of thinking. His ball is his crack and when he goes outside he gets to play with it. That is his reward. You may find this strange but his favorite pasttime is shoving it under couches and tables and then sitting and howling till someone gets it for him. Believe me it gets a little tiring. If you have lots of patience and time you will never regret your "terror".
Lori on February 22, 2012:
I just came across this and enjoyed your 10 things NOT to do! I have always had large dogs I was never a little dog person, until I met "Brutis" I met him the day he was born after my neighbor asked if she could give my daughter a JRT puppy to repay her for helping her with her children. He was 1 of 4 and it was love at first sight for me! I went everyday after work just to hold him he calmed me down! I took him home at 4 weeks old. He was easily housebroken, as with every dog I have ever owned I would pet him while he was eating so he never had food aggression, I would take his toys away and give them back so he never guarded his toys.My biggest problem was he never liked any treats! He does love cheese! Turns out he is allergic to cheese! He will sit,speak,dance and fetch. He won't lay down on command!. He "tips off" a basketball. He rarely chews anything he shouldn't as a puppy when he did I would say "no" take the item away and give him something he is allowed to chew on.He will "bolt" but when I take him to the beach he will come for a stick! He loves to swim! I rarely recommend "items" to people but if you have a Jack I highly recommend a "Jolly Egg" you can see dogs with it on you tube! It gives them a lot of exercise and they can't pick it up in their mouths because of the shape. I actually have to hide mine because he will wear himself silly! He is the best dog! I feel bad when people say the are terrors! I wouldn't trade him for anything! I pretty much did all the "Nots" he definitely has me "trained"
glen on February 11, 2012:
I have had 3 JRTs and Zoe, my current JRT is by far the most fun, the most well behaved of the 3. I rescued her from the humane society and she has thanked me every day since....6 years now. She has never had an accident in the house, she has never been bad, however we do 4 miles each and every morning walking, and she is with me almost all the time. I have broken every "dont" rule there is, but I wouldn't have it any other way. She is my best friend, my constant companion, and a big hit with all my customers in my small retail shop. I sometimes think I will cry when thinking of just how good a dog she is. I know this breaks all the rules of the traits of a JRT, but she is just that good. Her antics are always precious, I could write a book. She is just too smart for her own good. Just remember what dog spelled backwards is.
Laurie Mich. on February 02, 2012:
I recently adopted two JRT from the shelter,Toby and Buddy. Had them both neutered and looking forward to the training process..............
Dee on January 31, 2012:
Omg if I knew then what I know now! My husband found a giveaway ad for an 8 mo female JRT and brought her home to me. I was concerned when I learned we were her 4th home in 2 months but more I felt sad for the dog. Let me just say I understand! She hates being left alone even if just a quick run to the store...she goes in her crate now. I would never have believed the damage she could do in 20minutes! So far in 4 months she's found n eaten 6 shoes..oodles of socks(her fav) boxes of Legos , enough stuffed animals ...not hers , to fill a store bin, a couch, 3 chairs, a window sill and yes a mattress!!! She sleeps with my husband n I , then each of our boys . I've tried chew toys....she favors ours! A quiet dinner has long since been given up on too. During the day it's just her and I and we have no potty accidents. After hubby n kids get home I find puddles n piles all over ...and yes she actually goes outside more when they are home. My husband has put his foot down...find her a home. I guess if u saw my living room furniture...all of it needs replaced as it bears her mark. I live the way she uses her frt paws to grab my arm to pull to her...pet me she's saying. I love her with all my heart but on a fixed income I have no idea how I'm going to replace all our furniture . I'm afraid she will go to another bad home as its very obvious she has been abused before we got her. I'm trying everything I can think of to keep her. I'm disabled and she is my bright spark of fun n laughter during the day and I dread not having her with me. You are right in that if she runs don't chase her and she usually comes rt back. Oh I wish I could find a fix !!! I'm still working with her but the damage may be permanent I'm afraid. Open to all suggestions...quickly before hubby finds a home for her.
John Moye on January 23, 2012:
Our hearts are broken! I had to find our 6 year old make JRT a new home about 3 months ago. He bit my 18 year old son on the lip, 12-15 stiches and still needs to have plastice surgery to repair his lower lip. Axel was a sweet heart, had a few food agression issues as a puppy and he still displayed them when protecting his bones, but never bit any of our family. Until a he bit my son, who was trying to sit with him on a chair, bit him on the hand, broke the skin. A couple of weeks later, my son was in his room and Axel was cleaning up my son's dinner plate he left on the floor. My son picked the plate up and got close to Axel's face and he bit him. I never thought he was capable of doing that to anyone in the family, complete surprise!!
John Moye on January 23, 2012:
Menchie_JRT on January 23, 2012:
My Menchie loves sleeping in the bed with me and my husband. She also loves laser pointers, and has litterally chased one until she threw up! When she was a little puppy, we'd take her out in the yard, and when she started to wander off, we'd call her and start running or walking away, so now she loves to chase us and never lets me out of her sight when I'm home. I can hardly imagine life without my bundle of crazed energy! One thing I have found is a Thunder Shirt or even just a shirt or sweater (depending on the weather) helps calm her down, and a gentle leader helped a lot with leash pulling. Though, if you have a puller, and don't want to shell out the $30 for the gentle leader, a harness helps the dog not strangle itself. I keep a collar on Menchie just for her tags, and a harness for going on the lead.
Helena on January 21, 2012:
My JRT Lucky is such a sweetheart...He will be 9 years old this feb 6,2012 he is so lovable!!!! He has alot of toys, and I kid you not..I give every 1 of those toys names...and Lucky knows every name...and when I ask Lucky to go and get 1 of those toys by name...such as tigery..which is (TIGER) from whiney the pooh...he will bring me back that toy...I know you probably do not believe me but it is true!!! I LOVE MY LUCKY LOU HE IS MY BABY BOY and I will forever HUG him ((((()))))!!
sheila on January 19, 2012:
Thank you for the reply on picking up the puppy by the collar. It is very difficult when it is your friend that is doing these things but will try to dicourage her from doing this, any advice on how to handle this situation?
Sally Branche from Only In Texas! on January 17, 2012:
Sheila - that is not OK. It will choke/strangle the dog and may seriously damage its trachea causing a chronic cough. Your friend should pick up the puppy by its body as you suggest. Picking it up by the collar is cruel and abusive.
Harry Yorke on January 17, 2012:
I came by chance upon this site and have enjoyed the many experiences of Jack Russell owners. I have four,a blind 19 year old and her three offspring. I have made all the mistakes you all say don't make, they sleep on our bed, we have an extra large one, and they co-drive the land rover. They are bomb proof with children and the farm animals and fowl, but iffy with strange dogs and cats and fatal with rabbits and rats. They are not fussy eaters and are wonderful companions. The one thing I have tried to insist on is that they immediately come when called no matter what. They are an ideal pet for a country man and I love mine to bits.
sheila on January 16, 2012:
I have a friend who recently got a jack russel puppy and she picks it up by the collar instead of its body, can anybody tell me if this is ok or not.
Deanne on January 13, 2012:
My husband and I just welcomed a 4 month old JRT into our lives, we named him Carlos.
I have enrolled him in puppy school and he starts in a couple of weeks.
We are both a little shell shocked, the last dog we had was a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. JRT's are a handful however my husband and I have found that activity (a walk in the morning an a walk at night) seem to work wonders. Dxg200 is right - activity is the key.
maglette from London on January 11, 2012:
Great Hub I have a Jack Russell too...... they are great dogs!
Timothy Green on December 31, 2011:
My JRT is a bad boy.Found him when he was left by someone when he was about 5. I'm retired and spend 24/ with him. I love him,but he is very alpha around male dogs,and I dont care if its a Rott or Mastiff he wants to fight. They are the most loyal dogs you will ever find. Mans best friend.
Helen on December 18, 2011:
Move anything you value, provide a huge bone and make sure upon your return you reward good behavior and if the dog has chewed anything not allowed take him by the
Scruff, show him the offending article and speak severely to him so he is in no doubt that you are not pleased! Jack russels love you to be pleased with them and do not deliberately want to upset you , they are very sensitive to discipline and will not want to risk your displeasure again. Most of all remember to provide them with lots of attention on your return, they get really bored on their own
sharon on December 04, 2011:
how do you get them from chewing everything,when you are at work???
dxg200 on November 26, 2011:
Many people feel that crate training for JRT's or PRT's is not advised. I disagree with this simply because it is more about their activity when they are not in the crate. We have 3 PRT's and 1 JRT. The key with training is activity. They need to run and run a lot. This maybe one reason your Jack is restless. If you have a big yard this can help. As others have said though, beware of falling in a 6 foot deep hole if you are not careful. We have the fortune of having a large Almond orchard behind our home, so we let them run the orchard as much as possible. Only activity will keep these little guys somewhat mellow. On those days where it is raining, snowing etc. We have trained them to run on a treadmill. They of course can be stubborn so it takes some practice, but once they get the hang of it, they love it. The key here is activity. We also have trained ours as performance dogs. Specifically flyball and splashdogs. Wikipedia it and you will get the idea. They are a great breed but will test you to the limit. As someone said earlier if they get aggressive it is imperative to get control of them quickly and putting them on their back holding your hand on their chest is a act of dominance that helps them become submissive. They are hole diggers because they are hunters. They can climb fences like nobodies business and as said earlier they will take on bigger dogs.
Having said all of this they are great, great and I mean a great breed. They are smart, funny, loving, loyal, guard dogs and behave with other dogs much more than what people think. Remember dogs are instinctively "Packs". Once again with this breed it is about the activity. Give them the activity and there will be less issues with in fighting.
Lastly a comment about dog collars "AKA" shock collars. I believe that they should not be used unless there are serious dicipline issues. Having said that they can be useful. Many people are against them because many people use it as a punishment method which is not humane. In otherwards they are to lazy to train the dog so when it does something naughty buzzz with noooo reinforement of training after the act. The key with collar training is that if it becomes necessary when you do have to buzz, that when your pet comes back, you should praise them for the positive action. Then they know WHY it happened in the first place.
Kudos to all of you with this breed. They are awesome dogs that love to live life.
pat phillips on October 21, 2011:
my jack russell is not sleeping in his crate at night with out yawning loudly which is his way of letting us know he is awake he has slept sucessfully in his crate since we brought him home he is four months old and just recently he will not settle at night please help
Kathy on October 11, 2011:
We adopted a nine month old, broken-coated Parson a year ago and she has been the best. She came to NH from a kill shelter in San Antonio, TX. The fostering family did a wonderful job with housetraining as she has never had an accident indoors. She loves her crate and she will let us know when she wants to go to bed. She is 'nose to the ground' walking on a leash and I realize that it will be a challenge for us to break her of this annoying habit. In the northeast, autumn is a wonderful time especially since chipmunks, squirrels and the like are everywhere. Just recently I took 'Roxie' for a walk and I couldn't understand why she was behaving so badly, pulling and straining to breathe. About 100 yards down the road, a squirrel had been smashed by an oncoming vehicle. Needless to say, 'Roxie' has a great nose for smaller four pawed animals! I don't believe that I will ever be able to have her off leash as this 'seek and destroy' instinct is alive and well.
LizziJRTowner on October 10, 2011:
I have been reading all the posts and some make me laugh and some make me sad. I have an 11 YO JRT named Bunny. The first time I saw her at the JRT breeder she was solid white and jumping up and down like a little rabbit so Bunny just seem to become her name.
I have had many dogs over the years and my Bunny is by far the best dog I have ever trained. JRT are smart and have outstanding personalities. The thing is if you do not have the time to spend on these animals it is cruel to even buy one. They require attention, time and training. They want it. They are so easy to train if you just put the time into it.
I studied the breed before buying one and made sure I had a fenced in yard with doggie door ready for her when she came home. They are not crate animals. They require wide open spaces and running room or they get depressed and pent up energy that will come out in either over excitement or aggression.
I potty trained Bunny as if she were a baby. I made sure she did not eat or drink after a certain time of night (when we went to bed) I set my alarm and got up every two to three hours to take her outside. I would sit behind her and coax her to the dog door and outside...then I would go outside and say go pee pee. Naturally eventually she did and I would reward her with petting or a treat and so she associated pee pee with going to the bathroom. I did this for about a month...no sleep but well worth it. She has been fully potty trained since a puppy. The only time we have ever had an issue is once we forgot to unlock the dog door and she went in the house.
As far as dogs biting, nipping, rough housing...in my opinion NEVER rough house your dog with your hands and never allow her to bite on you...NEVER NEVER NEVER. When Bunny was a puppy she was allowed to bite a play toy that we held and nothing else...not my hands...not socks...nada. If she ever tried to bite or roughhouse my hands I would calmly grab her nose and hold her mouth shut and firmly say "NO". I never backed up discipline with love...ever. Just say NO and mean NO.
She was an alpha female and loved to run away once she was loose. The only way I ever broke her from this was a firm and vicious spanking ONE TIME in her life because she jumped out of the car on a major road and near caused several wrecks and killed herself while I yelled NO at her she just kept running so needless to say when I caught her I gave her the spanking of her life with me yelling NO NO NO the whole time. After that...she never ran again and if she even gets to far away I say NO, come here and she obeys. The only other time I spanked her was when she moodily bit my son because they were napping together and he decided to move and disturb her. I spanked her badly telling her NO immediately after and she has never bit anyone again. I have never had to spank her again either. Some people may think that my tactics are cruel but I am not an animal abuser. I have spanked her badly twice to show my dominance over her like a pack leader would do...it worked. It is a good thing too or she would most likely be run over by a car or put down for biting.
Oh for the person curious on how to keep them from digging out...put a layer of chicken wire at the bottom of your fence and bend it under and cover with dirt so your pup cannot dig through it. I had to do that as well when she was young. BTW they can climb chain link too.
Bunny is the best and most sweetest tempered dog ever. She is not overly hyper or dominate but she is very self confident and happy in a home where she knows I AM the pack leader. Dogs are happy when they know their place and do not live with confused emotions or doubt. She understand many human words and commands. I can walk her at the park without a leash. It took time and training but I put time into her like she deserves because I love her. Be patient and keep on it. It may take a year but it will be well worth it. People tell me constantly what a wonderful, well behaved dog she is and are very surprised she is a JRT because she is not spazzing all the time. I love her so much and hope she lives to be 20.
Take the time to think like they do and find ways to firmly train them and you will have a dog that your neighbors envy. =) OH and they are cute too!! lol
John on September 23, 2011:
Oliver is the spitin image of my pup
Moira on September 18, 2011:
Cool dont tips, enjoyed the read. cheers
Tracy B from Canada on August 05, 2011:
Adorable dogs! And I totally know where you are coming from. As I too have two Jack Russells.
Kattalyna on June 25, 2011:
I just received a JRT 3 days ago and he already sleeps with my boyfriend and I (his choice, not mine as his dogs he had before we got together always slept with him).
Buddy is 5 months old and a laugh riot when he sees the large German Sheppard on the next street over. He goes crazy trying to get to see her but she ignores him and just travels back and forth in her yard.
I am guilty of spoiling Buddy but he is such a sweetheart. He loves to cuddle with me and my boyfriend when I wiggle in place too much.
Buddy is my walking companion who hopefully will help me lose weight and help manage my diabeties more easily.
He loves to go for truck rides and loves walks. He is surprising wellbehaved with the leash. He does pull when he sees larger dogs but he thinks he is protecting me. I was worried when he pulled the leash out of my hand the first day I had him and had just brought him home but he just went over to check out the neighbours and came back as soon as my bf called him. His previous owner (an elderly lady) had said he was good on that - with her tho, when he went to visit the neighbours, he would take half an hour or more to come back.
Samantha on June 18, 2011:
I just found this, when looking to see why my 12 week JRT hates going outside, This is an amazing and funny link, thank you al for the stories and tips. Eddie is my little ball of crazy, and he has been so funny and strange. He is like a cat and hates to leave the house, we have been taking him to the park and he begs to be picked up and is so happy when we come home.
Sally Branche from Only In Texas! on June 15, 2011:
Very cute and informative! Jack Russell terriers are really a handful! They are so smart and lively - definitely a dog that needs a job! Voted up and funny! :D
Alice on June 12, 2011:
I love the tips you gave about how to train a JRT. I recently adopted a male, who we named Rusty, with my boyfriend and he is the most loveable thing in the world.However, if anyone can help me, Rusty has the worst habit of destroying everything in sight: wood flooring, cables, walls, and even his own kennel. You name it, he's chewed through it. I don't know how to stop him from that habit. Also, he's extremely attached to anyone, mostly my boyfriend and I. When we leave or even go to the bathroom or bedroom, he will cry and whine so loud that people have called the SPCA on us for pet abuse. We don't know what to do since we might move to an apartment soon and the noise and destruction he's creating will get us kicked out.
ellen on June 09, 2011:
Not sure where Francis got his dog, but mine (an adorable jack/chi) we call "Jack-Jack" is exactly as you describe in your "don't" list! In fact, as i try to write this i am battling to keep him off my keyboard... He is almost 6 yrs old & i continue to be amazed & amused by him on a daily basis. There are so many entertaining "Jack-tales" i could tell but most who share their lives w/one have been there! For all who would be JRT owners, pay heed to the "don't-list" because it is spot-on! Thanks for sharing - after owning my dog i am a lover-for-life of JRT's!
Heidi on April 23, 2011:
I wish I would have read this 6 months ago lol. I have a wonderfully obnoxious jack russel/ chiuahua named Topsy. I do believe she got more Jack Russel than Chiuahua. Looks and all. It is like having an unruly child. She keeps me on my toes for sure.
Unionjack on March 08, 2011:
I had to put my last JRT to sleep at 15 years old. It was time and I know that but it broke my heart. I got him at 8 weeks and 1 weeks after my collie was put to sleep also at 15 after a stroke.
But Ive just put a deposit on another JRT. And will be picking him up in 2 weeks.
I must admit to not actually training him strictly but he was such a happy, well behaved soul full of life and did so many tricks I found I didn't need to.
But I think this time I shall. The only fault I had with Max was I could never keep him with me off the lead when other dogs were around.. He would be off like a shot being friendly. And as I go fishing alot and taking the dog with me I will be making sure my furry son will be at my side. So right now Ive 2 weeks to cram as much info and take notes to give him the training he needs. I can see already this dog (a rough coat - my Max was a long coat) is a character who actually chose me not me him lol
michelleolds on January 19, 2011:
my jr is veary lovabale i dind't know what kind of terrier he was untell 3 weeks ago can i train him that it's not ok to sleep with me anymore. When i frist got him he sleped with me now i know this is a no no on my part especialy on me and my other sinant but as soon as i do my dog surely knows how to make me upset he go potty in the house after he has went outside for long walks. He makes it know he's mad not to be with me now i must retrain him again.
joy on January 09, 2011:
my 3 old JRT mix also chews up designer shoes while I'm at work all day and I live in an open floor plan house so I can't contain her (showed fear of crate early on and I submitted) Housebroken, sweet, obedient, energetic yes, but constantly obsesses to "go hunting" unattended off leash which is unsafe and uneighborly. I know she isn't getting enough exercise. any other suggestions to deal with constant whining to go ratting I would appreciate. I'm only physically able to go for inadequate short walks and she also feared invisible fence. help!
Irene on December 07, 2010:
Kizzy is 16 months old .. she had major surgery at 1 weeks old and other procedures but is the most loving dog you could wish for .. she will only eat lamb chops and a good lamb & rice kibble in late evenings .. 9pm to 11pm .. she loves eating on the run while out for her park walkies twice a day .. our pockets are always full of kibble ... she runs and chases her 'friends' has a whale of a time over the local park twice a day. She comes to work with me once a week ..I am an occupational therapist in a residential care home for alzheimers & dementia .. my residents love her & she loves most of them .. staying very clear of those who kick out at her.. she leaps up at the serving hatch and barks at the cook who refuses to spoil her .. she had 6 jacks at her stables so knows you never start anything with a Jack if you don't want it to carry on .. but kizzy trys it on at every visit. She has firm commandssuch as from us .. here .. stay .. this way.. stop..hush..quiet..no.. she recognises the words ..daddys park shoes... daddys coming home.. din dins (dinner) bedtime now (she lays on our bed until light out).. down..leave..gentle(when play biting my hands) ..she sings to the coronation st tune thats very funny.. she dances with me.. loves her balls thrown.From a puppy she's had a waste paper basket full of her toys and she knows every one by name eg sqeaky.. ropey.. ball.. her understanding of vocabulry is amazing. When given a treat I ask her to say please mummy and she lifts her paw ..sweet. Just as you dispair with your JR it will win your heart forever ... I call Kizzy my little snow Angel as she loves the snow is pure white with large ponted wings of dark velvety ears.. JRs win your heart every time .. have fun. Ps thankyou for the laser hint ..we'll get one for our summer hols.. she loves running through the New Forest and along the beach.. Kizzy has two healthy fit owners now with all that walking ... lol :o) All JRs need is your time and love :o)
vincent on November 14, 2010:
i got a jrt,not out of choice,but its mother had another little and she was getting pushed out by the family by the new pups ,we took her in our house shes is a very good dog very terrortoral(?) we live in a house that has 4 other people in she has a problem with men apart from me if any man walks in my house she will bark at him if he stands up ,althought she is getting better with training ,the main problem i am having is that she has never been house trained ,she is still using puppy matts which mean all over my house there are matts shes now 2 years old and i have not had her for that long i have had her for about 2 months and i already in love with her so getting rid of her would cause alot of upset by myself and by my girlfriend so if anyone has any ideas how to break her on this ?
Billie on November 01, 2010:
My JRT Is a Parsons JRT LOVE him to pieces, he has been well trained he knows his Do's & Dont's, Althought it did take upto a year and half to get him night trained =/ But apart from that fun and loveable hes so CUTE!!
Lucy on October 12, 2010:
I have a JRT and he is almost 10 weeks. He is loving but bites, dig holes in the grass and when I walk him, he wants to be the leader. He also bit my 9 yrs old girl when she was trying to put him back in the kennel. I am looking for help!
jaybrd219 on September 28, 2010:
My little Saco will head off to doggie school next week to have all my bad habits hopefully removed from his memory bank. yikes I hope it works...
jess182008 on August 12, 2010:
I have a JRT and its so hard to train her, it's easy to train her in the sense of 'sit' 'paw' 'laydown' and 'high five' (tehe) but if she does anything wrong and I dicipline her, she runs to the nearest person with her ears down and constantly gets cuddles FOR BEING MISBEHAVED! it drives me nuts.
She pees when someone comes home because of excitement (she's 1 in September), pees on my side of the bed but not my partners.
When we're out on a walk or chilling on the beach she constantly runs away and has no respect for me. And just constantly barks at the littlest of things!
As much as I love her, I didn't realise what I was getting myself into. Thanks for this post! I'll show everyone in the house, then maybe she'll be a better behaved dog. :)
bobbi on July 15, 2010:
i have a jrt. i got her from a friend of mines who i use to dog-sit for. she is 1 1/2-years-old and spent all of her time in a cage before i got her. she was only out of the cage long enough to use the restroom and eat. is it possible that she can still be taught how to be good and obey me?
vmdame on June 27, 2010:
ALL entertaining stuff. just got rocky aweek ago, wow, this is going to be interesting...but he's so sweet and evil and lovable...such a jrt. good boy
Sara and Soffie from Utah on June 24, 2010:
I got my JRT on a whim while driving by a crate of puppies on my way to babysit my niece and nephew. I thought, "What a cool thing to take for them to play with!" (My dog of 15 years had died only weeks before and I was missing a dog in my life.) The crate, or fenced circle on grass, was full of different puppies, probably 12 of them. I picked up the little white one with tan ears and fell in LOVE! She was so sweet and cuddly, I didn't even know what kind it was. The seller told me it was a JRT and I said, "like Wishbone!" PERFECT! I paid for her and was on my way to babysit!
Almost a year later... I have learned SO MUCH about JRT. I have fallen head over heals for my little Soffie. She is my best buddy and I adore everything about her. She was a joy to train, (most of the time). She still runs away when off leash, which I think is pretty common and I love the different techniques shared here. I do the same thing, hide, run the other way, squeak her toy, ignore her, etc. The bolting issue has been the hardest part about raising her so far. I am grateful to the person who mentioned the invisible fence. I bought an invisible fence a few days after I got Soffie, but was afraid it would hurt her. I think I'm going to try it now that she's a bit bigger.
We go to a dog park almost daily so she can RUN and RUN and RUN and get all of her energy out. She loves to play with other dogs and seems to be fearless, even towards the most fearsome looking dogs. One of her favorite indoor activities (mine too) is playing with the laser. She will run and chase the laser for at least 30 minutes at a time. It's great for wearing her out in the winter months and when we just can't get to the dog park. They are most defiantly FULL of energy and want to play ALL. THE. TIME. Great with kids!
Another thing I struggle with, how to keep her from jumping up on someone when a new person is around. Any suggestions? We have been to obedience school and worked on "DOWN", but she doesn't seemed fazed by the command when she's excited.
I love my little JRT. She has been the best dog. I'm single so I do let her sleep with me and I'm not ashamed. I like knowing she is there. When I'm at work she's crated so she doesn't chew my shoes. (Learned that lesson after 3 pairs were destroyed.)
Thanks for your top 10 list of what NOT to do! Very helpful and good reminders... For those of us who give in to table scrap begging, standing on chest, and driving the car!
Paul on June 13, 2010:
I have just bought a JRT tonight. Its the cutest little pup ever. Thanks for all the advice, it looks like im going to need it, i can't wait :D
Ann on June 13, 2010:
I have just bought two lovely JRT sisters; Rosie and Sophie. Rosie is the boss and hard to house train. Having said that she is the most affectionate. Sophie is quieter and much more timid with people. Sophie almost house trained herself.
I am a little worried that they both engage in 'fights' that sound very ferocious. Should i stop them or is this normal behaviour? After a 'fight' they will cuddle up together in their shared basket, so it certainly loks like no hard feelings exist!
I would be most grateful for any advice.
Jeanette on June 05, 2010:
I, apparently, am absolutely crazy because I bought two Jack Russell sisters (the runt (Portia)and the alpha female - Brandi) nearly two years ago. I had had a Toy Fox Terrier and a Min Pin for 16 years prior, but I was not prepared for this! I thought it would be better to get two dogs since I work all day, and I was right about that part. Although I had to break Brandi from dragging around Portia by her neck! When Brandi was a pup, she would get mad at me and pee right in front of me - even on my bed! I found that "timeout" alone in a sectioned off corner of kitchen where she couldn't see out proved to be effective. But I had a hard time not laughing as she HOWLED for 15 minutes or so. I kept her in there until she got quiet, which was harder on me! Portia would rarely get into trouble, but she is my little obsessive princess predator, who endlessly searches for lizards... Brandi was such an alpha dog that I had to put her on her back and speak firmly to her to show her I was boss! But I exposed them to people and pets since I got them through parks and doggie day care once a week, which really helps to make them tired. They love other pets and people. When loose, I will run the other way and yell "BYE" or hide behind a tree, and they both come running back to me. I love both my JRT's and can't imagine life without them. They are so much fun!
Melissa on June 04, 2010:
I've only been a JRT owner for a week, but I've read about training them for about five hours a day since we brought our rescue, Dharma, home. Across the board, I'm reading that you should never trust a JRT off-leash outside. Our little Dharma is an angel inside--doesn't really play, jump, bark, anything. But outside, she loves chasing things. I've found that if I make a loud, high-pitched sound (ba-ba-ba) and run the other way, she'll usually stop chasing whatever it is and run after me instead. Then, when she gets to me, I say come and give her a treat.
We don't have a fence so I love, the idea of the zip line....
Larissa on May 16, 2010:
Yea my dog loves to pull me and tell me where to go i pull on the leash and he eventually stops but he is terriable with other dogs!
Kristin on January 23, 2010:
When we first got my JRT, Zoey, he pottied trained HERSELF! I admit...we've spoiled her rotten ever since she was little, but she's not a bad dog. She loves her attention and we love paying attention to her. When my mom, dad, and myself come home from a long day, we can expect an excited, happy, little dog that waited all day to see us. There is one thing, though, that I'm concerned about. My parents tell me if I leave for school or my friends' house, she will NOT eat until I get home. She'll just lay on the couch and mope. She obiously is very attached to me as well as everyone else, but I'm afraid she's TOO attached and goes into depression. I anyone knows anything on how to help me it would be greatly appreciated. :)
Mendenhall Family on January 05, 2010:
We have a 5 month old jackapoo named Sierra. She was a gift to my 17 year old daughter. LOVE HER! She's been so much fun. Very smart. Already loves to play ball. Very energetic and loving. She's mostly house trained in that she goes when we take her out but occasionally will have an accident if you go too long in between times taking her out. How can I get her to let us know when she needs to go out? My lab barks at the door to let us know when she needs to go out.
Also, when I take her out on the leash if she doesn't have to use the bathroom she wants to RUN and sniff everything. I'm afraid she's going to break her neck. She runs so hard and fast she has actually pulled the lead right out of my hand.... and then good luck on getting her back. If I chase her she just runs even harder and faster. Thanks for all the info and funny stories.
Jarryd (South Africa) on December 23, 2009:
i found your write-up via a google search and i must say, it's probably been one the most helpful sites thus far. My wife and i have just welcomed a 2 month old JRT into our home and he is awesome. I just have one question though - is play fighting (i.e. wrestling and 'ruffing' him up) any good? or am i simply encouraging him to bite or be unruly? I had a stafie when i was younger and he loved a good ol' wrestle every now and then as long as it wasn't completely one-sided (i.e. me dominating him completely). Advice?
sobrie on December 22, 2009:
I have a one year old jack russell terrier name keymia that has been to home to home.at first i didn't know much about these dogs.But when i got her,she was sweetest thing i set my eyes on.but when i took her home she didn't like my pit bull sophia not one bit.each time sophia came near her or me keymia was on her in a spilt sec.luckily sophia wasn't trained to fight.but after a while she got used to sophia.but now she's destroying stuff,doing her business in the house,destroying kennel after kennel,and eating anything she can put in her mouth,she like a small versoin of marley and me,but for some reason me,my 3 sisters and my dad still love her to death.
Betty Villar on May 28, 2009:
Really appreciated your article and comments from Jack Russell/Pointer owners. Please keep any info you have on them coming. My "Peppy" is 7 months old and we need all the training we can got. Love him dearly and enjoy him very much. Thanks
The Delacruz Family on May 18, 2009:
Please give me some pointers on how to potty train my 5 month old JRT.. I love him with all my heart, but he sure is stubborn.. When he was a baby he would cry and I we would let him out.. Very few accidents then. But we recently moved to a new home, and now he is out of whack. He urinates all over the house. He poops everywhere too.. not just in one area. My husband won't let me keep him in the house because we have new carpet.. :( he's been sleeping in the garage.. i've tried the whole kennel thing, i've tried the puppy pads (what a waste of money, he just chews them up and plays with them). i tried to keep him outside during the day. he actually digged a whole and escaped under the fence.. I couldn't believe it.. he is so smart. but yet hard headed.. Please any advice u can give me would help.. I want my puppy to be inside with us.. oh yeah another thing. how can I get him to stop biting. Well its more like nipping and he does it when we play with him. but he bites at our hands our feet and even our face.. usually a NO well make him stop for a lil bit, but after he forgets he does it again.. and bath time. he makes it so hard to give him a bath.. he hates it.. THANK YOU.. THE DELACRUZ FAMILY
Trisha on May 14, 2009:
I have a 5 year old JRT, Dexter. We adpoted him without knowing much about JRT's and at about 6 months old we were thinking maybe we made a mistake. We use to call him "the Jack Russell Terror!!!". He was a crazy nut!! But everyone kept telling us that once they got past their terrible two's that they start settling down, and they were right. He's such a joy!! Still very energetic and playful like a puppy, but he surely loves just hanging out and napping too. I am shocked at how lovable they are...my husband and I have to bribe him with a bone to get any "alone" time. We also have 4 cats and we were worried this may be a problem because I have read that JRT's sometimes attack cats...but he is like the little brother to them. He plays with them at times but is quite gentle about it. He's aggressive to big dogs...but playful with smaller dogs. And you know the saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks"? I think JRT's have proven that one wrong...we teach him new tricks every day as they are extremely intelligent!! If we adopt again, it will definitely be another JRT.
Rebecca on April 18, 2009:
We have a female JRT and had no trouble at all training her with the invisible fence. She learned early on what the boundries were (the system comes w/ flags you place around the perimeter) and it only took one time of taking her over the boundry with the colar on. They get a preemptive audio prior to the shock as a warning. The only trouble has been, she is so smart, she will sit right next to the boundry and let the colar beep and beep which wears down the batteries.
Lynn on April 10, 2009:
Jessica, I am SO with you! I too was just last week on JRT rescue websites looking for a new home for my dog, Cooper. My husband was away for business for 3 months and I was at my wits end with this dog. He is gone for a half a day at a time. He either comes home on his own or a neighbor will kindly knock on the door, dog in arms. We live in a neighborhood with one acre lots and farmland all around. It's a JRT paradise. I had spent 10 days retraining him on the invisible fence. He played me the whole time and just blew right threw it. Shock or no shock. DO NOT get this containment system for your JRT! He was trained as a younger dog with the fence...and our older german shepherd...to stay in the yard but got more and more daring until now he just goes where he wants. We cannot have fences in our yards (he would dig or climb his way out anyway.)
My two kids play with him constantly as do my husband and I. We throw his ball ALL THE TIME. He gets plenty of exercise every day so I don't know why he is prone to those adventures. Aside from moving to a house with more than 5 acres, I'm not sure there is anything we can do. I hope the neighbors continue to be as tolerant as they have been. He is very sweet and scours the neighborhood looking for anyone to throw his ball for him. The only time he is mean is with other dogs.
love on April 03, 2009:
I have a JRT his name is Waylon like the singer because as a puppie he loved to sing but he got old and stoped. I miss that some times.:)
Daniel on February 09, 2009:
I also have a JRT 9 weeks old.............. your information could come in very usefull as i have given in to all 10 commands. Thanks.
owner of a jack a poo on January 30, 2009:
Thank you so much for posting this page. We have 1 1/2 year old jack a poo but is pretty much a small JRT. We took out of an abusive home when she was just 6 months old with intentions to find her a new home. However, she was so bad that we had a hard time giving her away to a family we thought would keep her and not go from home to home. Now almost 2 years later we still have her and love her but can be so bad! We call her Mollie the Terror! I had no idea about JRT and their attitude. But even though she is bad she does really good with our 2 year old little boy. She tries to dominate our 15 year old cocker spaniel and anything else that comes in her way. Lately she has been so bad that today I was actually on the internet trying to find a rescue shelter to give her away too. But then I found your website and read the comments and realized why we do love her and encouraged me to try harder with her. I don't have a lot of time for her since I have 2 children (2year old and 5 month old) So thank you for your information so now I can try it.
I am having trouble with her sleeping with us! We have a nice sized cage for her and our other dog to stay in but she goes into extreme panic evertime we put her in it. I'm afraid that she'll hypervenilate or something. Any suggestions? Also I know she's not getting enough exercise but I barely have time for me to exercise....any suggestions on how to give attention and exercise that won't take up my day? And any suggestions on how to discipline her when she growls and tries to dominate the other dogs? Sorry for all the questions but I do love her and would love to keep her but am at my whits ends!
Gloria in the Carolina's on November 12, 2008:
This site came up from a search I did looking for help to explain some weird behaviour in our older (10 yr.s) JRT.
What I found was the cutest story about your JRT! Thanks it was great reading and it gave me the answer for this problem. He is just too smart and he is dominating me..oh boy has he! lol
Thanks again, Gloria
3 Steps To Getting Your Jack Russell Terrier To Not Jump On People
#1 – Stop Rewarding The Jumping
Every time your Jack Russell Terrier jumps on someone that person needs to ignore her completely. The best thing to do is turn around and walk away. Even if they shout “down,” “no,” and/or push her away – negative attention is still attention. The trick is that every single person, 100 percent of the time, needs to do this. One person saying “oh I don’t mind” and then giving your Jack Russell what she wants will make the behavior stronger, so insist upon your rules.
#2 – Ask For A Conflicting Behavior
Most people ask for a sit. Your Jack Russell can’t sit and jump up at the same time. There are two ways to do this: wait for your dog to offer a sit, or give the cue Sit and then reward her when she responds. The reward should be whatever your Jack Russell Terrier was jumping on you for in the first place – petting, a toy, a treat, even his food dish! Anything your Jack Russell normally jumps up on you for, she now only gets if she is sitting. If your JRT is very young or really overzealous, you may need to start by rewarding a calm “four on the floor” first, then work towards a sit as your Jack Russell learns self-control. You will need to wait until she is standing quietly and then reward. This takes some training and patience, but it will work because- as mentioned above- dogs repeat behaviors that get them what they want.
#3 – Management
This is the last piece of the puzzle, and it’s what you have to do while your Jack Russell Terrier is learning to sit for things- which won’t happen overnight. You can help your Jack Russell by holding them lightly when greeting new people, as long as they are comfortable with it and the attention they are receiving. Having your JRT drag a leash from his harness can also help with jumping for a couple of reasons. It’s useful when you meet that pesky person who allows (or worse, encourages!) your JRT to jump on them – or maybe you are in a situation that is just too exciting for him at this point in his training to remember his manners. You can just step on the leash so he can’t physically practice the behavior or you can lead him away from the person altogether, let him calm down, and bring him back to try the greeting when he is more settled.
Dogs are always loyal to their owner. If you can train them properly, they will become your best buddy. They will be protective enough towards you every time. They are the most hyper among all other dogs. But with the change of age, they become calm automatically. But of course, you are not going to get your Jack Russell Terrier at its old age.
So from the very beginning, you need to learn all the things that make your Jack Russell Terrier calm whenever it gets calm. So if the question arises about how to calm your Jack Russell Terrier, this article might help you in all the ways.
Why Jack Russells growls and what it means
Growling is just one of the ways your Russell Terrier communicates with you. So what causes the growling? Although to find out the exact reason, it is advisable to visit the vet, here are some common reasons why your pet could be growling at you.
Fearful dogs can turn aggressive and growl in case they feel threatened by something or someone. Any past traumatic occurrence in the house can cause your Jack Russell Terrier to feel unsafe and anxious, resulting in growling. This is their way of saying “back off”.
Jack Russells are excellent at reading emotions, so they’ll pick up on your vibe and act accordingly. Therefore, if they feel any nervous energy around them, they might respond in a similar manner and become agitated.
Certain other situations such as noise phobias, separation anxiety, or an overreaction to a perceived threat (i.e., doorbells, other dogs walking by, the mailman, etc.) can make your dog anxious, which can lead to growling.
Cowering, lip licking, and baring teeth are some of the physical signs that might indicate their anxiety.
Possessive tendencies can develop as your Jack Russell Terrier transitions into an adult from a puppy. It may be possessive towards food, territory, or family members.
While this behavior is common, proper training and love is required to stop your dog’s growling if it is due to possessiveness.
Lack of exercise and boredom
As you might be familiar, Jack Russells are an active and intelligent breed, always eager for some action, and if they don’t get it, they become irritated. They always have an urge to explore and hunt.
If you own a Jack Russell, look forward to leading a busy and active lifestyle. If not taken care of through daily exercises and activities, your dog can be quite destructive.
Jack Russell Terrier Care
If you’re thinking about adding a Jack Russell Terrier to your family, be prepared to expend the energy necessary to keep this pup happy and well-balanced. Jack Russell Terrier puppies are almost too cute for words, but these dogs grow into an active and athletic dog that requires a major commitment in terms of exercise, mental stimulation and training.
The Jack Russell Terrier is extremely smart. They learn tricks easily but can also be quite naughty. It’s imperative that you instill proper pack order in the mind of your dog from an early age and set clear boundaries within the house. However, a heavy hand and overbearing manner won’t bring out the best in this friendly dog. Instead, use short, frequent training sessions to engage the active mind of your JRT and positive reinforcement to train your dog to work alongside you—not against you.
No discussion of the care of a Jack Russell Terrier would be complete without a strong advice regarding exercise. These dogs may be small, but they have major exercise needs. Don’t confuse the JRT with your average lap dog. While they do make great family dogs that love human companionship, they were bred to hunt. A dog that is only 10 to 15 inches tall but was bred to run with horses will give you an idea of what type of activity outlet these canines crave.
Plan to give your JRT several substantial walks a day. In addition, it’s almost imperative that you have a yard to let your little terrier run and stretch his legs. Speaking of stretching his legs, the JRT has an impressive vertical—this breed can jump up to 5 feet high. So be sure that any enclosure is of sufficient height to prevent escape. Also keep in mind that these dogs have a reputation for being notorious diggers, so make sure that you don't allow digging escapades to turn into a terrier great escape.
The Jack Russell Terrier excels at agility work and go-to-ground trials. The latter are timed trials that test the speed and agility of this working breed as it completes a tunnel course. Obedience work can also be a great challenge for the mind and heart of the JRT.
Runners looking for a jogging companion will be surprised to find that the pocket-sized Jack Russell Terrier makes a capable partner.
While Jack Russell Terriers often make great family pets, it’s important that they are taught proper obedience and that children are taught proper boundaries. These dogs are playful and fun-loving, though, making them a great companion for active families. However, their strong prey drive can be problematic in households with other small pets, including cats. They also can be dog-aggressive. It’s important to socialize your JRT early and often for a well-balanced pet.
Grooming is fairly simple with a Jack Russell Terrier. The short coat is easily combed to remove loose hair and an occasional bath will keep dirt and dander under control. The coat of a Jack Russel Terrier can be smooth or rough, which is wiry in appearance. A third coat is referred to as ‘broken’ and is a combination of smooth and rough patches of fur. Like all dogs, give regular attention to nail trimming and ear cleaning to keep this dog happy and healthy.
Jack Russell Terriers: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em
Jack Russell Terrier temperament, personality, training, behavior, pros and cons, advice, and information, by Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books
If any dog can top the high energy level of a Fox Terrier, it might be a Jack Russell.
If any dog can top the hard-as-nails hunting skills of a Border Terrier, it might be a Jack Russell.
And if any dog can top the strong prey drive, determination, and intensity of a Jack Russell Terrier – well, that could only be another Jack Russell.
This bright, clever, athletic breed is on top of everything that's going on in his environment. Nothing gets by him.
A solitary or sedate lifestyle is not suited to a Jack Russell Terrier. He requires full participation in the family and vigorous daily play sessions, especially ball chasing, which he tends to be passionate about – even obsessive. Too little exercise, too little companionship, and too little mental stimulation will quickly lead to boredom, which will in turn lead to destructive behaviors. JRTs are not apartment dogs, nor are they suited to people who work a lot.
Most Jack Russell Terriers are happy-go-lucky and friendly with strangers. But in the presence of strange dogs, keep them close and under control. If the other dog minds its own manners, the Jack Russell will usually adhere to a "live and let live" philosphy. But some Jack Russells are so brash and fearless they will take on a Rottweiler if it even looks cross-eyed at them.
Two Jack Russell Terriers (regardless of sex or age) should never be left alone together. All may appear to go well for a while – even a long while. But with this breed, a seemingly amiable relationship can suddenly flare into deadly combat over something as innocuous as possession of a chew toy. If you keep two Jack Russells, it is safest to separate them when you leave the house.
As you've probably guessed by now, small pets that run, squeak, or flutter probably won't last an hour.
The exploratory and hunting instincts of Jack Russell Terriers are legendary. These dogs will "go to ground" after anything that moves and they will stay in or by the hole for hours, even days. Obviously, JRTs are enthusiastic diggers and barkers!
The Jack Russell Terrier is highly intelligent and can learn almost anything – very, very quickly. The hardest part of training a Jack Russell is convincing this cheerful but assertive little guy that he actually has to DO what he has learned, when you say so, even when he's not in the mood. Fortunately, if you are offering the correct mix of physical exercise, mental stimulation, companionship hours, and confident leadership, the Jack Russell is usually willing to oblige.
Now it is possible to find a mild-mannered, laid-back Jack Russell. When you're looking for an adult dog from a rescue group, they might have a purebred or mixed Jack Russell who is more mellow. But this temperament is not the norm for the breed, so if you get a puppy, he or she is likely to grow up to have the active go-getter temperament I've been describing.
- Is small, sturdy, and natural-looking
- Is one of the most energetic, most determined, and most intense of all breeds
- Is extremely alert and makes a keen watchdog, yet is still sociable with strangers
- When handled properly, is the brightest and most trainable of all the terriers, loves learning tricks, and EXCELS in competitive activities such as agility and flyball
A Parson Jack Russell Terrier may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with.
- The dynamic terrier temperament (see full description below)
- Providing plenty of exercise and interesting things to do
- Rowdiness and destructiveness when NOT given enough exercise or interesting things to do!
- Very strong chasing instincts
- Digging holes
- Constant shedding (lots of white hairs everywhere)
- Mouthiness – chewing on things, carrying things around, mouthing your hands in play
- Potential aggression toward other animals
A Parson Jack Russell Terrier may not be right for you.
Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament is less predictable than the inheritance of physical traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.
- You can avoid some negative traits by choosing an ADULT dog from an animal shelter or rescue group. With an adult dog, you can easily see what you're getting, and plenty of adult Jack Russell Terriers have already proven themselves not to have negative characteristics.
- If you want a puppy, you can avoid some negative traits by choosing the right breeder and the right puppy. Unfortunately, you usually can't tell whether a puppy has inherited temperament or health problems until he grows up.
- Finally, you can avoid some negative traits by training your Jack Russell Terrier to respect you and by following the 11-step care program in my book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy.
More traits and characteristics of Jack Russell Terriers
If I was considering a Jack Russell Terrier, I would be most concerned about.
- The dynamic terrier temperament. Most terrier breeds are remarkably similar. The same words are used over and over -- quick to bark, quick to chase, lively, bossy, feisty, scrappy, clever, independent, stubborn, persistent, impulsive, intense.
- Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Jack Russell Terriers need regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. These dogs are so smart that I hate to see them in homes where they're expected to just hang around the house and yard. Jack Russells were never intended to be simply household pets. Trying to suppress their drives to hunt and explore, without providing alternate outlets for their energy, results in a frustrated and bored Jack Russell – and frustrated, bored Jack Russells can "act out" in ways that you won't like.
Jack Russell Terriers thrive when you find interesting things for them to do that challenge their minds, such as agility training (obstacle course), advanced obedience training, flyball, or "earthdog" training (where terriers dig and tunnel after small critters who are secured in a sturdy cage so they can't be harmed). See my book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words (below), for a dynamic training program that will keep your Jack Russell on his toes!
About the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.
To help you train and care for your dog
Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.
The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.