Want to know how to train a Jack Russell puppy? Here are some key pointers to get on the right track from day one.
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Jack Russells are known to be intelligent dogs and start learning their life habits at a young age.
Toilet training a Jack Russell as well as basic training essentials such as recall and discouraging biting can seem tough at first, but will pay off in the long term.
We all want a well behaved JR and, although you can teach an old dog new tricks, the easiest time to start good habits is from an early age.
Looking after a Jack Russell doesn’t have to be hard work if it’s done right.
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How to train a Jack Russell puppy
Training a puppy Jack Russell takes time and patience. From the day you bring home a new dog you should be clear what you want from them.
Use repetition, clear commands and find the strength to resist puppy eyes!
The most important thing with your dog is to be consistent.
They don’t understand if we tell them one thing is OK one minute and punish them the next. They are constantly taking cues from you, if you act like bath-time is a chore they will hate it.
If you are scared to cut their nails they will fear it. If you laugh when they chase the cat or tear up toys they will think it’s good behaviour.
It takes no time to create a bad habit but it’s a lot of hard work to change it. Take note of how you are acting around your dog and take the time to learn how to train a Jack Russell.
How to potty train a Jack Russell puppy
There are a few simple tips on how to potty train a Jack Russell puppy. Firstly you need to keep them in a small area where accidents are OK like hard flooring, because they will happen. And that’s OK.
Next keep an eye on them and learn the signs. Some of the signs to look for include whining, circling, sniffing, barking, or any sudden behaviour change. When you see any of these signs, take them outside.
Next interrupt them when they do go inside, a firm no or a loud clap will be fine, never get angry as they will end up scared and try to hide the behaviour from you.
Reward them with happy language when they go outside. Learning how to teach a puppy not to pee inside takes a calm approach. Pick an area outside to use so it start’s to smell like a ‘toilet’ and use the same simple command each time you take them out like “go” or “wee wee”.
This will avoid any confusion as to why they are outside.
Make sure to immediately clean up any accidents inside to avoid the smell as it may encourage more frequent toileting. You can also use white vinegar to counteract the smell of ammonia.
Puppies may need to go every 20 minutes or so, so take them outside regularly especially after drinking. Also take them out after meals as their digestive system is fast acting!
Learning how to house train a Jack Russell can be stressful and there is no specific time limit, just be patient and consistent.
Jack Russell puppy toilet training tips
- Be proactive, watch for signs and take them outside regularly.
- Reward good behaviour.
- Set up “splash zones” to reduce damage inside and outdoor toilet zones to leave a scent.
- Interrupt any inside toileting and clean up immediately.
- Stay calm and consistent.
How to train a Jack Russell puppy tricks
Our Number 1 Tip – Throw out the food bowl! Measure out food for the day and use it for rewarding good behaviour.
Training should be fun, if you start to get frustrated, stop. Try not to call your dog to you and do something that they may see as negative. That can be done by teaching your pup “Leave it/Ta.”
Below are some classic puppy training techniques, for a bit more fun read the best Jack Russell puppy training games here.
How to teach a puppy to sit and stay
Say the command “sit” followed by a tap on the back legs. Try against a wall to avoid the dog backing up if necessary.
As soon as the dog makes a move resembling a sit give the treat, working on the duration of the sit as you go.
As you go on try just using verbal rewards instead of actual treats to instil the good behaviour.
Keep using the command when out walking and crossing roads etc. Dogs, like us, can forget things if they aren’t reminded now and then.
Be firm and only give praise or treats when the dog is doing what you ask. If it’s not working stop and try again another day.
How to teach a Jack Russell to come back
Recall is one of the most important and possible one of the hardest things to master when puppy training.
Especially when it comes to Jack Russells who love to chase anything small and fluffy!
You can start inside, go into a different room and call your dogs name followed by “come”.
Reward the dog with praise and even treats when they come, making sure to to touch their collar first.
Continue this outside, using the same instructions and touching the collar before giving a reward.
If the dog is hesitant, start to run the opposite way inviting a ‘chase’ that they can’t resist, reward them again once you touch the collar.
How to train a Jack Russell puppy not to bite
A firm no and ignoring your JR should be enough to stop a puppy from biting, as they hate social isolation.
Another method is to yelp, as the other pups or mother would if they were hurt by a bite.
You can use taste deterrents like rubbing white vinegar on your hands if biting is persistent (be careful with essential oils as Tea Tree Oil can be very harmful to dogs).
Teething is part of testing out surroundings and pushing boundaries.
Use a tug toy to allow this playful behaviour without it being acceptable to bite humans. A rope toy or rubber ring is perfect for Jack Russells who have a natural instinct to tug and shake things, if the game gets too rough and you get nipped stop the game.
It’s a fast lesson as they are desperate to play again.
Toenails, teeth and bath time
The same rule applies to all three of these sometimes stressful activities.
Dogs can sense if you are worked up, then they get anxious. These exercises should be as normal as going for a walk as they are just as important.
Choose a time your dog is relaxed, after a walk is perfect, and give lots of verbal encouragement when they are calm. The more frustrated you become, the worse the situation.
Cutting your dogs toenails doesn’t need to be a big event, cut them a little and often, avoiding over-cutting and getting your dog used to the experience.
Make sure the clippers are kept sharp to avoid pulling or discomfort. Start brushing your JRs teeth from a young age, like with nail clipping it gets easier the more you do it and the earlier you start.
While chews can help with dental hygiene they can’t replace brushing several times a week.
Get a pet toothbrush and remember to use doggie toothpaste (as there are sweeteners in some toothpastes that can be harmful to dogs).
Bathing shouldn’t be quite as often as it can actually damage your dogs fur and cause moulting if you are washing your dog too much.
Make sure to use a special dog shampoo, like the amazing “Fox Poo Shampoo” by Animology, to avoid any harmful ingredients and test the water is the right temperature with your elbow first.
Many dogs actually enjoy this process as extended grooming time!
What is the best food for a Jack Russell puppy?
Puppies need food that is small and easy to chew but also high in nutrients to support their early growth.
Jack Russell Terrier puppy food needs to have a high moisture content while they are switching from their mother’s milk to solid food, much like babies, it takes their digestive system time to adjust to an adult Jack Russell diet.
We’ve collected all of our best tips and advice in this handy eBook, giving you a step by step guide to training a Jack Russell puppy;