Are Jack Russell Terriers Easy To Train?

If you’re looking for a Jack Russell to adopt that synonymous with the easy, then I have some news for you. In fact, the best advice I can give is not to expect anything easily with a Jack Russell as a pet. Sure they’re adorable and extremely cute, but that’s all I can say in the soft department.

For the most part, JR is adventurous, highly energetic, and independent. They have an innate prey drive because the breed came into existence as hunting companions to work foxes. As a result, each Jack Russell terrier has sharp instincts, aggression, fierceness, and all such other attributes.

But with all of this, the best part of adopting a JR is that you can train it, especially if you work with the dog in the way he loves. These terriers have electrifying energy, so they need ample exercise, playtime, and mental stimulation daily. Combine all these with consistent training, and only then can you expect to have an agreeable, even friendly Jack Russell to live with.

Factors to Consider to Train Your Jack Russell

Once you adopt a Jack Russell, it is best to start training it as early on as possible. There are streaks of independence, aggression, ferociousness, and distrust in the dog.

To curb it, you must establish a firm and consistent training routine so that the dog familiarizes with its boundaries, manners, positive practices, and its environment, etc.

It is imperative to understand, judge, and recognize certain factors in your dog, to be able to design a training approach that caters to its specific personality. Let’s take a look at them below:


By temperament, you will find a JR workaholic. If you do not channel all it’s pent up energies into productive practices, you will unceremoniously allow it to fall into dubious activities. You can takes notes from experience JR pet parents regarding this.

For starters, you need to acknowledge that your Jack is not a toy dog; he’s a true terrier. He requires an abundance of mental and physical stimulation. If you live in an apartment, you need to thoroughly think through your decision to adopt a Russell terrier as a pet.

If you do adopt, then you must be ready for long walks daily. If you have a yard, you must fence it off before bringing in the dog. Carry regular checks on the fence line to ensure you have terrier-proofed it.

Terriers dig excessively and bark crazily too. If you are ready to take on all that, then I congratulate you on your patience and courage.

Understand Your Jack Russell Terrier

You need to study the history of Jack’s breed before you plan to adopt one. You see, they came into existence as hunting companions. They started out as working dogs, born to kill rodents.

This is why your Jack, too, will undoubtedly attempt to kill chipmunks, rabbits, squirrels, and all the other small animals within its radius.

Hence, Terrier clubs in the US caution against leaving more than two Russell terriers unattended. This is even if they’re both your pets. You can expect several unpleasant to disastrous consequences occurring in this event.


When I talk about training your Jack, I emphasize the importance of discipline and consistency. Simultaneously, you must also note that it is imperative to provide the kind of favorable environment that your dog specifically needs.

When we talk about a JR, even negative attention is better in comparison to no attention at all from the owner. Jacks are always attention-hungry, and a lack of this can turn the dog into an unpleasant creature.

At the very least, you will experience excessive barking, aggressive behavior, barking, digging, etc., one your lack of attention irks the dog.

If you find yourself incapable of meeting the dog’s exhausting demands, you must consider hiring a trainer for the task.


This is the age where you need to capitalize on training opportunities the most. Once your dog turns two or more months old, you must begin with serious training. By serious, I don’t mean the mere house-training only. I also mean socializing the pup with other dogs, cats, and people.

JR’s and other dogs have a thing against cats, so your first goal must be to make your puppy understand that its feline counterparts are off-limits. You know that every JR terrier will want to hunt smaller animals, including cats away, so the sooner you place a restriction, the better.

If need be, I always encourage enrolling a puppy into RT kindergarten to teach it basic dog manners and obedience. But most importantly, I stress the need to teach your dog, gently but firmly, that you are the boss and the dog must obey your commands. Negligence here could turn your fine bred dog into a monster.

Now that I have helped you reflect on the factors to consider that will impact your training approach, let’s focus on some other important details. As a first-time pet parent to JRT, you will surely encounter challenges but, worse, yet make some mistakes.

Here is a list of top mistakes you must avoid when training your terrier.

Mistakes to Avoid When Training Your Jack Russell Terrier

1. You Commence Training Late

If you want your Jack Russell terrier to develop the best habits possible, you must start training it as early on as possible. I always recommend the most important skills of “stop biting” and basic house-training.

Owners often make the common mistake of waiting for a couple of months before they start training. This is detrimental and damages your dog’s temperament.

Begin trying to explain the rules and helping your puppy understand them. Teach it to obey the rules and reward the dog for its accomplishments.

2. Inflicting Pain or Hitting in Punishment

This is the worst thing to do in a pet parent-dog relationship. It will destroy the trust you want to build in the pet and also damage its personality. Hitting or yelling is just not the way to correct your dog, and such a practice will wreak havoc for life.

You must develop a firm and commanding approach to stop your dog with a “No” when doing something wrong. Then also applaud its positive behaviors but giving it small treats and praising it. This is the best form of teaching for your Jack Russell.

3. Not Opting for Positive Training

When you design a training strategy for your dog, make sure to opt for the positive training option. Clickers or treats are the best because it teaches them the difference between good and bad behavior.

Are Jack Russell Terriers Easy To Train?

4. Forgetting Your Puppy’s Limits

Every Puppy JR has its limits, and as a pet parent, you need to discover that. Then when you begin training, you must stick to approaches that align with your pet’s limits. There is only a certain quota that it can learn and a certain speed of its learning potential.

Here, I don’t mean to limit the number of skills you must teach your dog. You can teach it all you wish; I only ask you to give your JR time without overloading him. Patience is the key to helping your dog train and develops well.

5. Losing Control

Jack Russell terriers can turn wild and rambunctious. However, no matter what you say, losing your control in such a situation will be highly damaging.

You must strive to control yourself from screaming, panicking, hurting the dog, locking it in a room for a day or so because you don’t know how to tackle it, etc.

You must distract your dog with toys to chew, mental and physical stimulation while holding your calm all the while. Your dog will pick up on the same traits after you.

6. Not Maintaining Consistency

You cannot expect your Jack Russell to understand “maybe” or “sometimes.” Instead you must give them rules about what your dog has the permission to do and what it does not. For example, if you don’t want your Jack on the bed, you must never let it get onto a bed in the house.

Simultaneously, make sure that you don’t put your pet off-limits for everything in the house. If you are not ready to give it space and accommodation in your household, it is better to rethink adopting it in the first place.

7. Not Taking Notes for Your First Training Experience

Beginning as a first time pet-parent, you will feel lost and directionless if you attempt training without prior teaching.

Always make it a point to take help from experienced pet parents or professional trainers so that you don’t muddle through when you start training your Jack Russell.

Final Thoughts

Jack Russell terriers have boundless energies, being hunting dogs. They may look like cuddly lap dogs, but they are sharp, energetic, adventurous, and fierce in truth. They are a handful to tackle and challenging to train.

However, training a Jack Russell is entirely possible and will be worthwhile if you take the right approach.