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Preparing JRT for time alone in backyard during the day

by Michael Bell
(Melbourne, Australia)

I am new dog owner, having just added Jasper to my family last week. He's a 10 month old JRT cross (mixed with another unknown terrier breed). He is a happy, energetic and friendly pup, desexed, vaccinated and chipped just a day before we got him. He's a rescue dog from The Lost Dogs Home, and I don't know his prior history.

Being 10 months, he's right in that adolescent age - no longer a puppy, but not an adult yet. He has some manners, so his previous owners may have tried training, but he also has a lot to learn.

I'm using a puppy training approach, because I have no idea how much training he's had, or what sort of training. Some things he's picked up fast (probably due to prior training), others he has no idea so it really is like puppy training!

I'd like to introduce him to spending time alone outside in the backyard during the day. I can't stay home forever, so I need him to be happy and comfortable outside soon.

I have started by allowing him unrestricted access to inside and outside. The inside area is the kitchen, where he eats and sleeps, so he is very comfortable there. He has been going out to explore and pee, and returning to his familiar inside space. How do I progress from this, to closing the door and leaving him out there? I'd appreciate tips and suggestions please.

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Apr 26, 2014
Leaving JRT outside
by: Lesley

We have a 7yo JRT and this is what we do when we have to leave him. First, he has a wooden kennel with a mattress and blanket where he can go to shelter from cold weather, wind and rain. He also has a little "sun-bed", a free-standing low bed with a sheep skin cover, which we leave in a sunny spot because he loves to sunbathe. Obviously he also has a large bowl of fresh water.
We didn't want him to dig up the back yard, so we bought a childs' sandpit (filled with beach sand) and hid treats in it for a while to give him the idea that it's OK for him to dig there). He also likes to lie in it on very hot days. We provided him with hardy chew toys, cuddly toys and also treat toys (toys that dispense treats when rolled the right way). We have a selection of several of each and change them each day - if you just leave the same ones out there he will get bored. We also have a going-out ritual we follow so he knows what to expect - several steps culminating in me saying "bye bye" and waving which he understands means I'm leaving him.
Having said all of that, our dog is alone for a maximum of 3-4 hours twice or three times a week. Jack Russells need lots of exercise and lots of stimulation, otherwise they can become destructive. I would not recommend a JRT to someone who works fulltime, as apart from that, they also thrive on human company. Our dog, Snowy, also has a doggy door so he can come in and out of the house as he chooses. He has minimum two half-hour walks each day, as well as a swim in our pool (weather permitting) or some very vigorous games of fetch, tug of war etc. The rest of the time, he is very mellow and likes to cosy up to whichever human is sitting/lying down.

Feb 14, 2014
Jack Russell outside alone
by: Brian

Congrats on your new Jack Jasper and thanks for rescuing this little guy. It sounds like you have experience with dogs and training which is great! Do you have a doggie door for Jasper to come and go during that day? That might be a good solution especially since he seems fairly well adjust to being both indoors and out. If you do intend to keep him out for many hours during the day, plan on having a comfortable spot for him to rest while outside - a little comfortable shelter area that would cover him if it were to rain or would be very hot. And also have fresh water there. Some dogs who are outside for many hours feel isolated and may bark quite a bit - definitely something to be on the lookout for.....your neighbors might clue you in to this! Also consider having some toys out there so that he won't be bored. Good luck!

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