How to house train your Jack Russell

Consistency, consistency, and more consistency

We all love dogs, but when bringing a new Jack Russell into the family, some time is required for house training. This involves establishing his living area and where he goes to the toilet.

Dogs are naturally clean creatures, and prefer not to mix up their living area and toilet area. You might observe your Jack Russell cleaning his paws on the grass after doing his business - this is a very common indication of cleanliness for both male and female Jack Russell terriers.

The foundations of house training are building habits and consistency. It essentially boils down to repeating certain actions with them over and over again until they understand that certain places in the house or outside are where they do certain things.

The living area

To train a dog to treat an area of the house as his little piece of territory, you need to make him sleep in the area every night, and let him eat in that area too. A good idea is to place a blanket or towel in his bed so that his own fur and smell become associated with his living area.

Jack Russell eating food

The toilet area

Make sure that he has access to the toilet area (outside on the grass, preferably!) whenever he needs to do his business, and accompany him every time he does it. If he does it anywhere else by accident, don't punish him or shout, just remember next time to take him to the toilet area. Otherwise he'll form a habit.

Shouting and punishing your dog for doing his business in the wrong place will only confuse him, there's not a lot of point to it. There is no evidence at all that making a puppy (or an adult dog) look at his accident stops him from doing it again if he doesn't have access to his toilet area.

As a rule of thumb, healthy adult dogs can 'hold it in' for up to eight hours. If you have difficulty in telling whether he needs to go or not, just take him out every couple of hours or so and he'll do his business by himself. It's just all about making sure he consistently happens to be in the designated toilet area when he 'goes'.

Speed up the process with positive reinforcement

Reward your dog with a small treat every time they 'go' in the toilet area to further reinforce this behaviour. Then he'll make a happy, positive association.

On the other hand, as mentioned in an above paragraph, reprimanding your dog will only confuse him. There is no evidence that negative feedback corrects negative behaviour.

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