Training Jack Russell Terrier puppies is a challenge, so I've provided some practical tips here to help you get started. These early essentials will help to set the foundation for a well-trained puppy in the long run. As well as checking out these tips you'll want to make sure you've signed up for my free Jack Russell training special report.
Teaching Your Puppy Her Name
It's going to be impossible to train an obedient puppy if your puppy doesn't even respond when you call her name. Some puppies will pick up their name naturally from the excitement in your voice when you call them. Others will need a bit more guidance and encouragement. In this case there's a simple technique that will quickly have your pup responding to her name.
Simply take a treat and call the pup's name. Hold the treat around your own eye level. Wave it around a little if necessary to get the pup's attention as you call her name. When she looks at the treat and then makes eye contact, feed her the treat. This will teach her that when she hears her name called, the correct response is to look at your face.
Getting The Most Out Of Rewards
There's a right way and a wrong way to use rewards when training Jack Russell Terrier puppies. The reward must be given immediately after the puppy shows the desired action, otherwise it won't know why it got the treat. Also, the treat must be something the puppy really, really wants. If it isn't the puppy won't be motivated to follow your lead and learn in return for the treat.
Using the same treats over and over again can become boring for the puppy, so vary the type of treats you use. Use treats with different tastes, textures, and chewability, and change when the pup seems to be losing interest.
In my ebook, I explain why you shouldn't use your puppy's absolute favourite treat in everyday training.
Out of Bounds Areas
It's important to establish early on that their are some areas where your puppy is not allowed to go. This is particularly important if you don't want your dog ruining your couches or you want an "outside dog." It's also important for your puppy's safety, keeping it out of areas where there may be poisonous chemicals, keeping it away from places where food is stored, or keeping it away from dangerous stairs.
Standard baby gates can be very useful for blocking off out-of-bounds areas of the house. You can also train your puppy from early on that it's not allowed on furniture or in certain rooms.
If your puppy keeps jumping on the couch, simply lure him down again with a treat. When he consistently jumps down from the couch when you offer the treat, start introducing a word to associate with the action. Then slowly phase out the treats, until the puppy can respond to the voice signal alone.
Alternatively you can buy sprays that are foul-smelling to dogs (but not humans) which you can spray on your furniture to keep your puppy away from it.
In my Jack Russell Training ebook, I explain how to use a command word to create "out of bounds" areas for your dog - basically like putting up an invisible fence.
Handling Your Puppy
Some puppies will naturally be fine with human touch and attention. This well depend a lot on how well the breeder socialized the puppy before you bought it. If it is not comfortable being handled by people, you'll have to condition it slowly to get used to human touch.
Don't over-excite a shy puppy early on as this could make the problem worse. Just pat and hold him for short periods at first. You will need to get your puppy used to beind touched all over his body, but start small with one or two areas, such as the back and belly. Avoid sudden movements.
You should pick your puppy up with both hands. Cradle one hand under his rear end and one under his stomach. Never pick a puppy up by the scruff of the neck.
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