The Biggest Mistakes Jack Russell Terrier Owners Make [5 Blunders to Avoid]


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Owning and raising a Jack Russell Terrier is not for the faint of heart. Jack Russell Terriers make for a faithful companion but present many challenges.

Especially to first-time dog owners or owners who are not quite prepared for what a Jack Russell will bring to the table.

I’ve been raising a Jack Russell for more than 3 years now and can tell you that I certainly made several mistakes along the way and while raising this dog breed.

To help you avoid the same mistakes with your Jack Russell Terrier, I figured a brief guide and discussion of my mistakes may help with the learning curve and get you started on the right path with your JRT.

In this discussion, I’m going to cover what I believe to be the most significant mistakes I made on my journey with my Jack Russell Terrier and present solutions and how you should approach raising and adopting this dog breed.

Let’s dive into it.

Not Fully Understanding How Stubborn A Jack Russell Can Be

It was tough deciding what would technically be my biggest mistake with my Jack Russell, but this deserves to be near the top.

Jack Russells are incredibly stubborn dogs. It takes time to break a Jack Russell of nuisance behaviors and it’s a dog breed that prefers to run the show.

If you don’t understand this before the adoption, you will have a long first few months raising this dog breed.

Jack Russells are incredibly stubborn dogs

We will cover how to counter this stubborn trait of the JRT when we discuss my next mistake, which pertains to training and discipline.

Not Hammering Training and Discipline Immediately

I just mentioned how stubborn a Jack Russell can be and being unprepared can put you in a frustrating situation.

The best way to counter this personality trait with Jack Russell is to begin training and discipline immediately after the adoption.

This also includes beginning the socialization process with a Jack Russell Terrier.

Not doing so will create bad habits for your JRT that are even more difficult to break in the future – and can lead to small dog syndrome.

Start training your dog right when you arrive home.

Although they will not be ready for basic command training yet, you can begin socializing your JRT with other individuals in the home and other pets in the house.

Start training your Jack Russell right when you arrive home

Begin the potty-training process right away as well.

The more you can establish the role of the alpha and the more your Jack Russell begins respecting you and understanding that you call the shots, the better.

Trust me, delaying this will cause your JRT to believe every situation is a free-for-all without consequence.

Reward positive behaviors often and stick with them.

Not Getting In The Right Mindset To Raise This Dog Breed

The items we have discussed thus far are much easier if you have the right mindset going into the adoption.

If you understand that a Jack Russell Terrier can be the best dog you can adopt with some effort and patience, you are going to be much better off.

Patience will be tested with this dog. Especially in the beginning, but the mindset of knowing that and not overreacting to failed attempts during training will make the process much easier.

A Jack Russell Terrier can be the best dog you can adopt with some effort and patience.

Go into the adoption for your Jack Russell Terrier knowing that mistakes will happen, and a challenge will be present.

The rewards are worth the effort you will put in.

Underestimating The Prey Drive, Physical Abilities, and Energy of The JRT

This is one of the mistakes that I still make to this day. Several animals end up dead in my yard because I often forget that Jack Russell is the master of hunting nuisance animals.

It’s what the Jack Russell Terrier was initially bred to do, and it’s in the dog’s DNA. If you aren’t prepared for this, you may be surprised every so often when you go outside where your Jack Russell has been roaming.

This fast dog has crazy digging, jumping, and tunneling abilities.

Preparing for this to protect your JRT from encounters with animals or even escaping the yard is one of the first preparations you should take before and right after the adoption.

Jack Russell Terriers have crazy digging, jumping, and tunneling abilities

Not Fully Grasping A JRT’s True Needs

My last mistake when I first adopted my JRT was underestimating and not fully understanding what this dog needs.

I have talked several times on this website and our YouTube channel about this dog needs to be around you.

It’s how the Jack Russell Terrier gets a sense of purpose and what makes them the happiest.

Additionally, not fully understanding that this dog needs plenty of time daily to burn off energy is a big mistake.

The Jack Russell Terrier can be two different dog breeds if they are exercised vs. non-exercised.

A recommendation I would have for anyone considering adopting this dog breed is to take a hard look at your calendar.

Plan what times of the day can be allocated to a walk or a run with your new JRT.

Plan which days you won’t be able to perform exercise or be around this dog. That way, you can make other arrangements.

You also need to understand that this dog will go through a severe separation anxiety stages in the beginning phases.

I dealt with this during crate training during the first 2-4 weeks of having my Jack Russell Terrier back at the house.

This plays back to what we mentioned previously: this dog breed is happiest when you are around.

Make sure to prepare accordingly for this, so it doesn’t catch you off guard.

Jack Russell Terriers are happiest when you are around

The Takeaway

I’ve said it thousands of times in the past, but I will repeat it. None of this information is meant to deter anyone from adopting a Jack Russell Terrier.

The information we have discussed is simply to educate you and allow you to better prepare and understand this dog breed.

Another statement I often make is that a Jack Russell Terrier can be one of the best dogs you choose to adopt, and I still stand by this statement.

However, for those who are not prepared and can’t handle the grind you will go through in the beginning, a JRT may not be the best dog for you.

Plan, accordingly, do your homework, and provide a Jack Russell with the basic needs that keep them happy and healthy, and you will be in great shape.

Luna and I certainly wish you the best of luck with your Jack Russell Terrier if you are on the verge of adopting.

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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