The Jack Russel is a well-known dog breed in the world of cinema and television in general!
We remember, of course, Milo in the movie The Mask or, more recently, Uggie in the film The Artist or the famous Jack Russels of the presenter Christophe Dechavanne who followed him (and still follow him) on all his TV sets.
This notoriety has unfortunately given a false reputation to this breed. Indeed, it is considered as a docile and easy to train breed (“yes, you saw in The Artist, it’s crazy what the dog does, and look at the dog of the presenter, it does not move what”). Yes, but these are “exceptional” Jack Russels who, moreover, are over-trained by professional trainers during hours and hours of education. In real life, unfortunately, in a majority of cases, Jack Russel owners don’t make it!
You should know that Jack Russels are the dogs with the highest abandonment rate at the SPA, even without having reached adulthood. This means that some owners realize very quickly that they did not make the right choice of breed!
To avoid this kind of situation, I propose to you all the necessary information about Jack Russel and the tricks to manage to educate them well.
Who is the Jack Russel?
The Jack Russel is a terrier initially intended for hunting and more specifically for fox hunting. Jack Russel has a strong character, he is not afraid of anything, and his intelligence can sometimes overtake you, in the sense that he will constantly try to test you and do as he pleases. He has many passions such as digging holes (say “goodbye” to your beautiful garden), following tracks, rabbits, gambier, etc. (say “hello” to a competition fence to prevent him from running away to follow a super lovely smell and “goodbye” to walks in total freedom in the forest).
How to educate a Jack Russel?
As far as education is concerned, there is no unique magic wand for Jack Russels, and there are simple rules to be put in place with an adapted and fair attitude, just like for all dog breeds. We will, of course, go through housebreaking, learning to be alone and basic instructions such as walking on a leash and recall (an essential education, especially for all hunting dogs).
However, what will eventually differentiate the education of a “lambda” dog (even if a lambda dog does not exist) from the education of a Jack Russel is the expense and the response to his needs.
As with many working dogs, Jack Russell has a lot of energy that is beyond the norm. So, as a responsible and caring owner (don’t you agree), you owe it to yourself to provide your dog with activities that meet his physical, mental and olfactory needs.
How do you meet the needs of a Jack Russell?
To meet your Jack Russel’s physical needs: a short walk in the morning and evening to relieve himself in the neighbourhood will not be enough.
It would help if you offered your Jack Russel walks rich in stimulation, smells and games so that they are productive. The more tired your dog is, the better because this means that you have succeeded in evacuating his excess energy and, therefore, in meeting his needs.
So, if you live in the city, don’t hesitate to take the car to open spaces where he can let off steam. Of course, if you have not acquired recall, keep a lanyard (10, 20 or even 30 meters long, why not) attached to your dog’s flat collar or harness for simple safety.
Then, during your walk, offer your dog play sessions with you, small tracking exercises, etc. This will strengthen your relationship and allow him to exercise his mind and nose (with tracking).
Another tip to keep your dog busy, even when you are not there, is to leave treats, toys or bones all over the garden so that your dog can have fun and look for them. You can also set up a specific area where he can dig at will (of course, you’ll have to teach him beforehand that this area is dedicated to him through conditioning).
Games to play with a Jack Russell
As far as games to play with your Jack Russel, it would help if you indeed preferred tracking exercises (treats to look for, etc.) or even tugging movements with a knotted rope to work on his self-control and calmness on your indication.
In addition, you can also offer your Jack Russel an activity that he is sure to love: Agility. Whether you go to a club or set up different obstacles in your garden, your Jack Russel will love to run the course. This activity will not only strengthen your relationship but also, and most importantly, will give your dog a great workout.
On the other hand, you should avoid the silly and nasty ball tossing games, as this only serves to reinforce the dog’s instinct to chase, and, as you will have understood, the Jack Russel does not need this instinct to be supported.
Nevertheless, if your dog likes throwing games, you can control them and make them much more “educational” by asking your dog to move while you throw the ball, such as asking your dog to do a new exercise before getting the ball, etc.
In summary, to educate a Jack Russel, you must :
Please don’t wait until he is an adult before starting the first training: cleanliness, solitude, recall, etc.
Do not wait until the dog is an adult before learning the first things: cleanliness, solitude, recall, etc. Insist on the indication of memory because Jack Russels are still hunting dogs and have an extraordinary instinct to pursue.
Do not adopt a Jack Russel just because you have seen one on TV that is well behaved. First of all, be well informed about your compatibility with the breed (environment, time to devote, characters, instincts, etc.)
Do not be manic. Accept the holes in the garden (otherwise, take a cat.)
Do not be sensitive to hearing, and yes, the Jack Russel will take great pleasure in barking at everything that moves, which can be tricky (but not impossible) to control.
Meet his physical (walks), intellectual (games, permanent education), olfactory (tracking) needs.
Always teach him new things (learning tricks, for example) to stimulate him regularly.