Jack Russell Terrier Training Tips

Jack Russell terrier training is crucial, especially if you adopt a puppy. Like most terriers, Jack Russells, or JRTs, are bred to hunt and kill rodents, so they have a lot of energy and need plenty of exercise, training and mental stimulation to live happily as a family pet.

Exercise, Exercise, Exercise

Jack Russells have lots of energy, especially in their adolescence, and it's almost impossible to train them without the proper amount of exercise. This can be up to 90 minutes of full-blown running each day, in addition to a loose-leash walk.

Without a job to do, JRTs will find jobs, such as tearing up those pesky couch cushions, pulling out all the plants in the flower garden and remodeling every shoe in the house. Thus, it's important to play with your pet and get him plenty of exercise. In fact, Jack Russell terrier training can become a great game.

Focus on Walks

Jack Russells are easily distracted, and without exercise, those distractions may cause non-stop barking, both in the house and out on walks. To avoid this, teach your JRT a focus command. This means that every time you say the chosen word, "Watch," "Look" or your dog's name, he must look at you immediately.

Start by saying this word 15 to 20 times daily in the house. If he looks at you, he gets a treat. Repeat this until your dog comes running every time he hears the word. Then, start practicing in the yard. Gradually, build up to more distracting environments. If at any point he can't do it, you're moving too fast. But with practice, he should be able to look away from even a dog or squirrel.


JRTs are bred to dig, so it should come as no surprise that your dog does. To teach him not to, you must be outside every time he is to redirect him from digging with a command like, "Leave it." If he leaves the digging pit, he's rewarded with a game. If not, he goes in time out.

However, consider giving your dog a digging pit. Find a remote corner or purchase a sand box and let him do what his instincts tell him. Make the digging pit more enticing by placing toys and bones in it, sticking out of the dirt a little. Make the non-digging pit less enticing by placing a layer of rocks, then a layer of your dog's stool, then dirt, then cayenne pepper in his favorite digging spots.


To eliminate chewing, you must restrict your dog's access to the house during the day. When you're home, you can redirect him from objects you don't want him to chew to objects that you do.

Teach a "Leave it" command by holding several treats. Let him have a couple while saying "Take it." Then close your fist and say, "Leave it." Wait for him to stop barking, biting and pawing at your hand. When he looks at you, praise and give him the treat. Repeat until you can hold the treat in your palm without closing the fist.

Then, move it to the ground. Use your foot the same way you used a fist. This time, when he looks away, reward from your hand and not the ground.

Once he can do this, start practicing with objects he tries to steal, such as remotes, toilet paper, shoes and the coffee table. When he leaves the object, reward him with a treat, bone or other proper chewing toy.

JRTs are great pets, but Jack Russell terrier training and exercise will make them even better companions!