Disciplining a Jack Russell Terrier [Best Methods + 7 Tips]

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Jack Russells are one of those dogs that you may feel overwhelmed with what the best practices are to discipline and effectively train them to be the dog you desired the day you brought them into your home.

I have been in the same situation, and in all honesty, effectively disciplining any dog breed needs a bit of prior knowledge to do it in the most effective manner.

Jack Russells are no different, and without proper discipline, they can get the false sense of belief that they are in charge and run your household the way they please.

Like much any other dog would do in the same situation.

Put simply, discipline is essential for Jack Russells, and discipline is important for all dog breeds.

It is an essential part of the process, and if it is skipped or skimmed over, you may be in for some rough times ahead of you.

That is why I found myself writing this brief post on the topic of Jack Russells and effective disciplining techniques.

I wanted to make a quick guide detailing the best ways to discipline a Jack Russell that will get them to understand that you are in charge but that they are also still loved and cared for.

Consider this your “ultimate guide” towards understanding Jack Russells and how to provide discipline in the best possible fashion.

It is one of the critical elements that help you to understand how to take care of a Jack Russell ethically and adequately.

To make things as streamlined as possible, I have broken down today’s lesson on discipline in the following manner:

If you only want or need limited information or perhaps you are short on time, feel free to skip around in this post using the links provided for you directly above.

Otherwise, give me about 5 minutes, and I will break down everything you need to understand about properly disciplining and training your Jack Russell in the best fashion.


How to Discipline A Jack Russell Terrier (7 Tips)

I am sure that you will find several different approaches you can take when it comes to disciplining a Jack Russell Terrier.

I want to make a disclaimer that I am not attempting to say this is the only path you can take to discipline a Jack Russell or that others who advocate disciplining a Jack Russell differently are not right.

Every dog owner has their approach with discipline, and I am no different in my approaches with how I prefer to discipline my Jack Russell Terrier.

What I can tell you, is that my method has worked fantastic for me and that I have no reservations about advising all other Jack Russells to discipline in the same fashion.

My 3-year-old female, Jack Russell, has molded herself into a great member of the family.

She is excellent with my 3-year-old son, she can remain relatively calm when friends and family come over to visit.

The discipline methods, I have implemented have worked well thus far into my Jack Russell parenting.

Alright, no more ramble, let’s dive into the specific methods that I implement daily and have implemented for the first 3 years of parenting my Jack Russell into the dog she is today.

1.) Positivity and Rewards Always Wins

Positivity and rewarding good behavior are always an excellent discipline and training method with most dog breeds.

It works excellent with Jack Russells as well.

I am not a big believer in punishment.

I believe that by the time you catch a dog or notice a negative behavior, it is too difficult for your dog to understand which action resulted in punishment.

Especially if the discipline is given to the dog well after the offense has taken place.

Yes, I understand that dogs can be smarter than this, and Jack Russells can be as well.

I firmly believe Jack Russell Terriers are perhaps one of the smartest dogs you can potentially adopt.

I have caught her with her ears back, embarrassed of her actions, or realizing she did something wrong.

This can be after digging a hole in the yard.

It could also come in the form of chewing something to the destruction that she should not have been chewing in her earlier puppy days.

It may even come down excessive barking.

Nonetheless, as much restraint as it takes at times to refrain from disciplining using punishment, I prefer always to hold back and save all discipline-related training to a positive interaction with her.

You see, Jack Russell Terriers are a working dog breed that originally was bred to hunt fox.

They want to please their owners, and they are very loyal dogs.

You can use discipline in positive ways, much like making a child perform their chores instead of using other discipline methods that are more focused on punishing bad behavior.

This is how I have good luck.

I love to implement clicker training and teach her as much as I know how to teach.

This can include tricks such as sit, shake, and lay down.

Clicker training is the preferred method of training and only requires a dog clicker and training treats.

Whether it seems like it or not, training your dog in this fashion is still work for them and a form of discipline.

It makes them mentally work for a reward and learn positive behavior instead of consistently being disciplined through punishment after they make a mistake.

Let’s dive into more of the specifics behind my discipline and training techniques to make it excel and work fantastic with your Jack Russell.

2.) Consistency is Key

When is consistency not key with anything we do in life?

Well, the same applies to your Jack Russell.

Rewarding good behavior and doing it consistently from the day you arrive home is a sure way to get your Jack Russell on the same page with you and disciplined in a hurry.

If you want to implement clicker training, remain consistent about the actions and behaviors you are trying to train them with.

If you want to reward them for going potty outside when they are young and want that discipline to stick, remain consistent.

No matter what, you need to get them to realize what you want and for it to become second nature.

Jack Russells are very smart dogs, and if you are consistent with your discipline and training, they will slowly but surely mold into the dog you desired on the day of the adoption.

No doubt about it.

3.) Let Your Jack Russell Terrier Know You Are In Charge

With Jack Russells, you may notice a bit of a stubborn side of them from time to time.

I know I did in the beginning, and it took some time to work this out of her.

You absolutely do not ever want your Jack Russell feeling as if they run the show.

This is a big no-no.

Teach your Jack Russell to walk beside you correctly on walks and never let them stand over top of you.

This makes them feel a sense of power that you want to ensure does not happen.

While it is fun to get on the ground and play with your Jack Russell, ensure you are never giving them the impression that they have any control over the situation.

This does not mean to yell at them as a form of discipline but use some common sense to ensure you are the person in charge.

You stay above them; you walk in front, and they perform actions based on your permission and your approval.

I cannot stress this enough as a positive way to discipline Jack Russell.

It is the best method to ensure you never have a disobedient Jack Russell that feels like they are the King or Queen of the house.

4.) Display A Calm Demeanor and Household

Displaying a calm demeanor or a quiet household is one of the secret tricks to discipline a Jack Russell in a positive way.

The way the household interacts is how your Jack Russell will adapt to their new living situation.

If you are like me and have young children, it can be tough to keep the household moving along in a calm manner, but you need to do your best.

Especially in the early days when your Jack Russell is still a puppy.

Try and get the kids to interact with your Jack Russell in a calm and relaxing manner instead of it always being a game of chase and wild action.

Jack Russells need to understand when it is time to play and when it is time to chill as part of their discipline.

Trust me; you will thank me at some point for offering up this tip.

5.) Exercise Will Always Be Critical with Jack Russell Terrier’s With Discipline

Man, oh man, is exercise critical for a Jack Russell and their discipline regimen.

But seriously, this dog is terrific if you are an active person.

They learn so fast and can participate in activities quickly if you take the time to include them.

The double win is that doing so is going to make them behave and be a much more disciplined dog for the rest of the day.

Consider taking them for a run with you.

You can even implement long walks or other activities such as fetch, swimming, or frisbee.

Whatever the case may be, a tuckered-out Jack Russell is a disciplined Jack Russell, and it makes a world of difference.

They are fantastic runners, and if you are an active person, you will never regret adopting a Jack Russell and having a new partner to work out with that can keep up with you step-for-step with no issues.

6.) They Are Better Than They Get Credit For

This is not necessarily a tip on how to discipline a Jack Russell, but I have found myself needing to talk about this more and more on this website.

I want to be the first to tell everyone reading that Jack Russells are fantastic pets.

They are good dogs, and whatever bad rep they have ever received for being stubborn, overly hyper, etc., I blame the owners raising them.

I know that may seem harsh, but I honestly did not put forth this enormous amount of effort towards disciplining my Jack Russell, and it has turned out great.

Did I have the same struggles you will have with all dogs in the beginning when it comes to discipline?


She did not like her crate training and took a few weeks to get potty training down.

She barked quite a bit and did not respond to every form of discipline I offered, but at the end of the day, she is a DOG.

These dogs are just as capable of being disciplined and trained as any other dog if you are willing to do a bit of research in advance, and if you are prepared.

Okay, rant over.

Let’s move into some of the final methods, dos, and do nots you want to implement when it comes to disciplining and training a Jack Russell and send you on your way.

7.) Always Love Your Jack Russell

My next mini-rant towards disciplining a Jack Russell comes down to a simple principle that all dog owners should always be striving to do better at.

Even for the most passionate dog lovers reading out there.

Love your Jack Russell.

This dog needs attention, and they need praise.

They do not do it to brag, but it is just how they are programmed and how you can turn them into a disciplined, obedient, and great pet.

Show them some attention and let them know when they are doing something you want to see.

They are not stupid in any fashion.

A few times, being rewarded for the desired behavior is all it will take for them to strive for your affection and the rewards you offer.

They want love.

Give it to them.

The Do Not’s to Practice Gaining More Discipline From Your Jack Russell

Before sending you off on your way, I want to cover a few more do NOT’s you should be aware of when trying to discipline and train your Jack Russell.

Here is a quick list for you:

  • Do not let your Jack Russell Sleep Outside of Their Crate for Several Months.
  • Do Not Let Your Jack Russell Display Any Aggression or Wild Behaviors Around Kids or Other Pets
  • Do Not Send Mixed Signals with Praise and Scolding in A Short Amount of Time
  • Do Not Allow Your Jack Russell to Sleep on Couches or Furniture
  • Do Not Let Your Jack Russell Eat Human Food

All these examples above may make disciplining your Jack Russell even more difficult.

The goal is not to allow them to feel that they have control over any situation or do as they please.

Remember, you are in charge and the best way to ensure your Jack Russell knows this is to exert dominance without scolding, physical punishment, and being a loving dog parent towards your JR.

Trust me, it will get much easier after the first few weeks.

Discipling A Jack Russell Takes Patience But Is Worth It

Discipline is not something you can skim over when you adopt a dog.

Jack Russells are one of the dog breeds that need an authoritative figure present and around them and a proper amount of discipline to turn into one of the best dogs you can choose to adopt.

With some patience, a tiny bit of effort, and some love towards your Jack Russell, you can effectively discipline them to correct negative behavior without ever inflicting punishment.

Luna and I wish you the best of luck with your Jack Russells and the journey ahead of you.

Share Your Thoughts

Do you have any further recommendations you can share with the community about how to discipline a Jack Russell Terrier effectively?

Do you have any other methods you implement to discipline your JR?

Be sure to share those thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below.

As always, Luna and I appreciate you stopping by and reading today, and we will see you again next time.

Josh Martin- Founder and Creator of Terrier Owner

Josh Martin is the proud owner of a female Jack Russell Terrier Named Luna. Josh founded TerrierOwner.com to share the stories of owning a Terrier and to help all terrier owners with the struggles, excitement and common questions that come with being a new terrier parent.

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