Any Jack Russell Terrier owner will tell you that Jack Russells are a high energy breed. It’s part of what makes them a great pet for active families.
However, it does come with it’s downsides. Like getting them to walk nicely on a leash.
Overwhelmed by their hyperactive Jack Russell, one owner wrote to celebrity dog trainer Cesar Millan to ask for advice on how to get their dog to walk on a leash.
While you might expect that Millan would give the standard advice about training a dog to walk on a leash, he actually gave some surprising advice.
Who Is Cesar Millan?
Cesar Millan is likely a familiar name to many dog owners. He’s a celebrity dog trainer known as the “Dog Whisperer” from his popular television show on the National Geographic channel.
On his show, Cesar works with all types of dogs and their owners to rehabilitate problematic behaviors. From aggressive dogs to anxious dogs to hyperactive dogs, Cesar has seen it all. He uses his deep understanding of dog psychology and pack leadership to transform even the most challenging pups.
His approach with dogs focuses on calm, assertive energy from owners along with plenty of exercise. He believes owners need to establish themselves at the head of their “pack” in order for dogs to be happy, relaxed, and obedient. By tapping into dogs’ natural instincts, he’s able to effect amazing transformations.
With his wealth of experience training high energy and difficult dogs, Cesar Millan was the perfect expert for this Jack Russell owner to turn to. While Jack Russells can be a handful, Cesar likely has plenty of specialized advice for keeping these active pups under control.
Rollerblade With Your Jack Russell
One of Cesar’s top recommendations for high energy Jack Russells is to drain their energy by having them run alongside you on rollerblades.
I used to do something similar with my West Highland Terrier when I was a kid. I’d strap on my Rollerblades and skate around the neighborhood, with my Westie trotting happily by my side.
So I can attest that Rollerblading with your dog can work wonderfully. The key is being able to maintain your balance and control while your dog runs beside you. You want to make sure you don’t get pulled or tangled if your dog suddenly stops or cuts in front of you on their retractable leash.
If you’re unsure of your Rollerblading skills, you may want to practice first without your dog. Make sure you’re fully comfortable stopping, turning, and skating in a straight line. Always wear protective gear like knee pads, elbow pads, and a helmet.
Once you’ve got the basics down, attach your Jack Russell’s leash and try short practice runs first before attempting longer distances. Bring tasty treats to reward good behavior and reinforce them staying by your side. In no time, you’ll both get into a great exercise routine!
Bike With Your Jack Russell
If rollerblading isn’t quite your speed, Cesar recommends biking with your Jack Russell as another effective way to drain their energy.
Biking has the advantage of being a bit steadier than rollerblades, while still allowing your dog to trot alongside at a brisk pace. It’s a good cardiovascular workout for both of you.
As with rollerblading, the key is making sure your dog runs safely next to your bike. You want to maintain control of your bike at all times. Practice first without your dog until you feel comfortable biking one-handed, stopping quickly, and making turns.
Always wear a helmet and keep your dog on a retractable leash designed for biking or running. The leash should have some elasticity to prevent sudden jerking movements from causing an accident.
Start slow with short distances and many praise and treat rewards for good leash behavior. Pay attention to your dog’s signals – if they start lagging behind or resisting the pace, it’s time take a break. Keep sessions short at first as you build up endurance.
Put Your Dog on a Treadmill
While part of the reason for walking your Jack Russell is to get out some of their energy, Millan actually suggested that the owner tire out their Jack Russell before taking them on a walk by putting them on a treadmill.
This may seem counterintuitive, but it addresses the root of the problem – an overabundance of pent up energy.
Jack Russells and other high energy breed have a tendency to pull constantly on walks because they are so excited and stimulated by all of the sights, sounds, and smells. They overload easily and have a hard time calming down.
So by draining some of that restless energy first using a treadmill, you set them up for success to walk calmly by your side. The goal is to get the edge off, not completely exhaust them. 5-10 minutes is usually enough.
Introduce the treadmill slowly, coaxing your dog on with treats and praise. Always supervise use and start at a slow walking pace. Adjust the speed as needed if they start resisting or struggling. This should be a positive experience.
Soon, your Jack will be trotting happily on the treadmill in anticipation of their walk where they can refocus that pent-up energy into sticking right by your side! It’s an excellent one-two combo.
Walk Better With Your Jack Russell
While Jack Russell Terriers and other high energy breeds can seem impossible to walk nicely on leash, Cesar Millan proves it can be done. It simply requires tapping into our innate pack leader role and understanding dogs’ needs.
Draining excess energy beforehand using methods like treadmills sets dogs up for leash-walking success. Finding faster-paced exercise outlets like biking or rollerblading gives pups a stimulating, physical outlet. Mastering the relaxed, assertive energy and rhythms of the walk establishes the crucial leader-follower dynamic.
With consistency, patience, and affection, owners can transform even the most rambunctious Jack Russell into a model walking companion. The rewards of fresh air, exercise, bonding, and better behavior are well worth the effort.