Are Jack Russells Easy to Train?

By John Martin - June 6, 2022

Jack Russell getting trained by owner

New owners of a Jack Russell need to learn how to properly train a Jack Russell Terrier. They are highly intelligent and eager to learn, making them quite easy to train.

But it does take a lot of consistent effort to train them well. Lack of proper training can turn them destructive or aggressive later in life.

Here’s everything you need to know about training a Jack Russell Terrier:

Understanding Jack Russell Terriers

If you look into the history of the Jack Russell Terrier, especially what they were bred for and what they used to do, it will give you a lot of insight into the behavior of your Jack Russell.

Since they are hunting dogs, they have a strong prey instinct and will try to hunt down smaller animals. They have abundant energy and need to stay engaged to spend their excess energy.

Jack Russells can also get very attached to their owners and need a lot of love and attention. They love digging, so it will be great if you have a yard or garden where your dog can relax and enjoy himself.

Though they are a small dog breed, they have big personalities. They do not see themselves as small and might often try to take on much bigger dogs if they see them as a threat.


Jack Russells like to keep busy. They were working dogs and always prefer having something to do.

If they don’t get a suitable outlet for all their energy, they might turn to unhealthy or aggressive behaviors.

They need a lot of physical exercise, so make sure you are prepared to give them at least 45 minutes of exercise every day.

Jack Russells usually adore the water, so you can teach them swimming too. They will love to accompany you when you go swimming or hiking.


Jack Russells are highly trainable, but they need the right kind of training. The most important part is to provide your dog with a loving, positive environment where he feels safe.

Jack Russells are highly protective of their family and territory, so if they don’t feel safe, they will not be able to focus on anything you are trying to teach them.

Consistency is the most crucial part of training a Jack Russell. They learn quickly, but you need to be consistent with the training if you want it to stick.

Jack Russells also tend to fancy themselves as leaders of the pack. If you don’t discipline them and establish a clear hierarchy in the house, they might start acting like they are the alphas of the family.

If you are not very familiar with Jack Russell behavior and feel like you need some help, hire a trainer who has experience with the breed. They will steer you on the right course.

When to Start Training Your Jack Russell

It is best to start training your Jack Russell as soon as possible. In fact, you should start training your Jack Russell today, right after you’re done reading this article.

If you have just adopted your Jack Russell home or just brought home a Jack Russell puppy, it is best to hit the ground running and start training from the very first day.

If you haven’t gotten around to starting training yet, it is okay. Better late than never!

The sooner you start training your dog, the easier it will be to help him learn the right behavior. Learning basic rules and socialization should start in puppyhood.

Jack Russell puppies can start training as soon as they turn 2 years old. House training, socializing, getting used to other animals and family hierarchy should be taught as soon as possible.

The more time and effort you invest in the early years, the easier it will be to control your dog in his adulthood.

Also Read: Do Jack Russells Like to Cuddle?

How to Start Training Your Jack Russell

There are many different ways of starting training for a Jack Russell. The basic principles and equipment needed remain the same for most of them.

Reward-based training is by far the best way to train a dog. Dogs are highly motivated by food and attention, which can be used effectively to train them.

Clicker training is one reward-based method that works quite well with Jack Russells. All you need is a clicker, plenty of small treats and a calm environment free of distractions.

Start with the most basic commands. Sit, stay, lay down and come should be the first commands your dog or puppy learns.

It is fairly easy to teach these commands. If your dog has success with the basic commands, you can also try teaching them to shake or do a spin.

Once the basics have been mastered, you can move on to potty training and more complex commands or tricks.

What You Need for Training Your Jack Russell

Here’s everything you need for training your Jack Russell:

  • Treats: Treats are the most effective tool for training dogs. It is best to use small treats while training your Jack Russell dog or puppy. This is because you want to reward your dog for every positive behavior. Large treats will make them feel full and puppies have sensitive stomachs that cannot handle too many treats at once. Small treats work well for Jack Terriers since they are small dogs. You reward them quite often without overfeeding them.
  • Consistent Time: You need to consistently spend time training your Jack Russell. Without daily training sessions, your Jack Russell won’t be able to learn much. You need multiple sessions a day. Having 3 training sessions a day, even if they are only 5 minutes long, will benefit your dog more than one very long training session every day. Sessions should ideally be between 5 to 20 minutes. This keeps them interesting and your dog won’t lose focus or get tired. If you give him consistent time, your Jack Russell will pick up commands and tricks very fast.
  • Leash and Collar: You need to train your dog to walk on a leash properly. It helps manage them outdoors. It is also helpful in training your dog when visitors come to your house.
  • Crate: It is always a good idea to crate train your Jack Russell. Make sure you have the right-sized crate and start crate training. It helps prevent separation anxiety and establish a normal sleeping pattern.

Key Points to Remember While Training a Jack Russell

Here are some handy tips to remember while training a Jack Russell:

  • Positive Reinforcement: Positive reinforcement is by far the best method for training dogs. It is much easier to teach your dog what to do rather than teaching them what not to do. Reward them with treats or praise whenever they do a desired action or show good behavior. Jack Russells are always eager to please and praise will work well as motivation for them.
  • Consistency Is Key: Consistency is the most important thing when it comes to training a Jack Russell. They learn things very quickly, but the lack of a schedule will prove counterproductive to the training process. Carve out small chunks of time throughout the day to train them. Like we said, even 5 minutes per session is enough if you stay consistent with it.
  • Patience: Jack Russells are very smart, but this doesn’t mean that they will learn everything with no effort from you. They need time to learn to behave well and socialize properly with other humans and dogs. They have a territorial and protective nature, which can make it hard to get along with other pets or people outside the family. Be patient if your Jack Russell makes mistakes, it is all part of the process.
  • Small Sessions: Make sure your training sessions are small. It will help you stay consistent and keep your Jack Russell interested. Long sessions can get boring and your dog will act out. If you have a puppy, he might get tired very quickly.
  • Plenty of Exercise: Jack Russells have a lot of energy, so make sure they get a lot of exercise. Do not overextend your dog, but so ensure that he gets a good amount of activity every day.

Wrapping Up

Jack Russells are smart, hardworking and loving family dogs. They can make amazing companions if you train them the right way.

They often get a bad rap as aggressive dogs, but there is no reason they can’t be an affectionate part of the family if you train them well.

Start training as soon as possible, stay consistent and you will start seeing results within weeks.