How to Crate Train a Jack Russell Terrier

Medium
2-14 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Jack Russell terriers are painfully cute, endlessly entertaining, and seem to run on pure gasoline. This is a lot of dog in a cute little package. Like most terriers, Russells are highly energetic and prey driven, but Russells seem to pack in more bravado and umph than even the average terrier. Watching your dog run after her ball for hours or spin in circles out of sheer excitement, it may be hard to imagine her settled calmly in a crate. It is true that your dog must be well exercised before she can be expected to spend time calmly in a crate, but even the craziest of Russells can be taught to love their crate time.

Defining Tasks

Teaching your Jack Russell to love her crate depends on making the crate a desirable place to be and gradually increasing time there so that she does not begin to panic and turn her terrier ferocity on the crate or bedding. Terrier owners should be realistic about their dog's capacity for calm and non-destructive behavior, since Jack Russells were bred to kill foxes and have been used ever since for small animal hunting and rodent control. A happy Jack Russell is usually either running or ripping something, so make sure you provide her with things appropriate to destroy like good sturdy chews, things to "kill" like squeaky toys without stuffing and toys with water bottles or plastic crinkles inside. Always observe your dog with any toy or chew to make sure she will not ingest inappropriate material or swallow without chewing.

Getting Started

If your dog expresses any anxiety about the crate, you will need to start very slowly and gradually so as to desensitize her to the crate. Even if your dog is comfortable in the crate, but you have never kept her closed in before, you will need to build time very gradually so as to avoid creating a negative connection with the crate. It is a good idea to have special toys and chews that are only allowed during crate time, so that your dog will associate the crate with good things she can't get any other time. In general, the larger the crate the better for an active dog like the Jack Russel. The exception is if you are potty training, as a too large crate will allow your dog to establish a potty area and a sleeping area.

The Build Crate Time Method

ribbon-method-1
Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Crates are great
Stock your dog's crate with all kinds of wonderful things, reserving the extra special chews, food toys, or toys that you will use when she is locked in.
Step
2
Come and go freely
Allow your dog to come and go freely for a week or two, until she is resting of her own will in the crate and seems to understand it as a home base.
Step
3
Close and reward
Close the door to the crate while your dog is inside, and give her a fabulous chew or toy. Stay near while she enjoys it for several minutes, then let her out and remove the reward.
Step
4
Continuous practice
Keep practicing as frequently as possible, never extending the time for more than a few minutes, and always reserving the best rewards for crate time.
Step
5
Increase time
Gradually increase time until you can leave your dog in her crate overnight. If at any point your dog cries or seems unhappy, stand near her until she is calm, and then release her. Reduce to several minute increments again until you can build up time without causing anxiety.
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The Rest Time = Crate Time Method

ribbon-method-2
Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Crate near you
Fill your Russell's crate with comfy blankets and wonderful things. Remove other beds and comfy places so the crate is the best place to sleep. Keep the crate near you so your Russell will want to lay in it.
Step
2
Door open
Leave the crate door open, but encourage your dog to lie in it during sleep times and chew on things inside it as opposed to anywhere else.
Step
3
Close door briefly
Begin closing the crate door for brief periods, providing your dog with extra special chews and toys while in the crate.
Step
4
Longer periods
Increase the periods your dog is in the crate, stepping back to shorter periods if she expresses anxiety.
Step
5
Further from you
Put the crate in its final location, checking on your dog frequently at first to be sure she is still OK closed in away from you.
Recommend training method?

The Crate for Food Method

ribbon-method-3
Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Dog in crate
Put your dog in her crate and give her a food releasing toy that has about half the food she will need. Stay near her so she doesn't feel anxious about being in the crate at this time.
Step
2
Practice and increase time
Keep practicing, still staying near your dog but walking away for brief periods as well. Work up to giving her another food toy after she has finished the first without releasing her from the crate.
Step
3
Increase time with frequent rewards
Gradually increase the time your dog spends in the crate, rewarding intermittently for the length of the time she is crated with food toys, chews, and treats.
Step
4
Reward less
Increase the time your dog spends in the crate without reward, still checking on her frequently.
Step
5
Increase alone time
Increase the time your dog spends alone in the crate until she can spend the night alone without food toys. If she displays anxiety, go back a step and work up time again.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Coral Drake

Published: 01/24/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Jewel
Jack Russel
5 Years
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Question
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Jewel
Jack Russel
5 Years

My dog has to be crated for long periods of time during the day as my older siblings can not handle her but she is starting whine more frequently without stopping.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1126 Dog owners recommended

Hello Shelly, I would make sure you are giving pup something to entertain herself with in the crate first, like a dog food stuffed Kong. To stuff a kong you can either place pup's dry dog food loosely in it and cover 1/2 of the opening with a larger treat - so the dog food will dispense more slowly, or place pup's food in a bowl, cover with water, let sit out until the food turns to mush, mix the mush with a little liver paste, treat paste, or peanut butte (avoid xylitol! - it's extremely toxic to dogs and a common sweetener substitute), place a straw through the kong's holes, loosely stuff the kong with the mush, place in a baggie, and free overnight. Remove the straw before giving pup and grab the kong from the freezer as needed - for a time-released treat. You can also purchase several durable hollow chew toys and stuff them at the same time so that you have a stash in the freezer to grab from as needed. I would also be sure to very proactively spend time exercising pup physically and mentally. Often the mental exercise is most overlooked, and that part can help pup release the anxious and pent-up energy pup has from the long crating period. I would spend at least twenty to thirty minutes each day working on training commands or tricks with pup to get pup's brain thinking and concentrating. I would primarily use lure reward training to teach these things in this case. You can also incorporate mental stimulation into other activities with pup, like giving pup jobs to do around the home, once you have taught pup some tricks like bringing you things or putting something into a bin. You can incorporate training into games like fetch with Sit, Down, Come, ect...Or walks, with heeling, Sit, Watch Me, ect...And by feeding pup at least part of their meals in interesting ways, like puzzle toys, kong wobbles, and the dog food stuffed kongs in the crate. When you are home, I would also practice some of the methods from the article I have linked below, especially the Surprise method, so the crate isn't always a boring/unfun place. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Coco
Jack Russell Terrier
11 Weeks
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Question
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Coco
Jack Russell Terrier
11 Weeks

She’s keeps jumping up at the sofa when I’m sitting there and when I say No for her to get down she barks back at me and try’s to bite

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1126 Dog owners recommended

Hello Meena, It sounds like pup is trying to play and is barking and biting for attention. I recommend teaching pup some alternate behaviors to help redirect them during those times. Feeding pup part of their meals in dog food stuffed chew toys, like kongs can also help pup get their need to play and entertainment met more without requiring as much effort from you. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Leave It: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the room: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Free PDF e-book download, AFTER You Get Your Puppy, at the link below if you click on the puppy picture that says AFTER You Get Your Puppy. www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Rosie
Jack Russell Terrier
10 Years
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Question
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Rosie
Jack Russell Terrier
10 Years

She needs a knee operation and has to be caged for 2 months. Can you help me with some tips to get her used to the crate again.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
257 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog's age, temperament and past experiences. It's important to keep two things in mind while crate training: The crate should always be associated with something pleasant and training should take place in a series of small steps. Don't go too fast. Step 1: Introduce your dog to the crate Place the crate in an area of your house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room. Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Take the door off and let the dog explore the crate at their leisure. Some dogs will be naturally curious and start sleeping in the crate right away. If yours isn't one of them: Bring them over to the crate and talk to them in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is open and secured so that it won't hit your dog and frighten them. Encourage your dog to enter the crate by dropping some small food treats nearby, then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the crate. If they refuse to go all the way in at first, that's OK; don't force them to enter. Continue tossing treats into the crate until your dog will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If they aren’t interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days. Step 2: Feed your dog meals in the crate After introducing your dog to the crate, begin feeding them their regular meals near the crate. This will create a pleasant association with the crate. If your dog is readily entering the crate when you begin Step 2, place the food dish all the way at the back of the crate. If they remain reluctant to enter, put the dish only as far inside as they will readily go without becoming fearful or anxious. Each time you feed them, place the dish a little further back in the crate. Once your dog is standing comfortably in the crate to eat their meal, you can close the door while they’re eating. The first time you do this, open the door as soon as they finish their meal. With each successive feeding, leave the door closed a few minutes longer, until they’re staying in the crate for 10 minutes or so after eating. If they begin to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, try leaving them in the crate for a shorter time period. If they do whine or cry in the crate, don’t let them out until they stop. Otherwise, they'll learn that the way to get out of the crate is to whine, so they'll keep doing it. Step 3: Practice with longer crating periods After your dog is eating their regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine them there for short time periods while you're home. Call them over to the crate and give them a treat. Give them a command to enter, such as "crate." Encourage them by pointing to the inside of the crate with a treat in your hand. After your dog enters the crate, praise them, give them the treat and close the door. Sit quietly near the crate for five to 10 minutes and then go into another room for a few minutes. Return, sit quietly again for a short time and then let them out. Repeat this process several times a day, gradually increasing the length of time you leave them in the crate and the length of time you're out of sight. Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes with you mostly out of sight, you can begin leaving them crated when you're gone for short time periods and/or letting them sleep there at night. This may take several days or weeks. Step 4, Part A: Crate your dog when you leave After your dog can spend about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving them crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put them in the crate using your regular command and a treat. You might also want to leave them with a few safe toys in the crate. Vary the moment during your "getting ready to leave" routine that you put your dog in the crate. Although they shouldn't be crated for a long time before you leave, you can crate them anywhere from five to 20 minutes prior to leaving. Don't make your departures emotional and prolonged—they should be matter-of-fact. Praise your dog briefly, give them a treat for entering the crate and then leave quietly. When you return home, don't reward your dog for excited behavior by responding to them in an enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low-key to avoid increasing their anxiety over when you will return. Continue to crate your dog for short periods from time to time when you're home so they don't associate crating with being left alone. Step 4, Part B: Crate your dog at night Put your dog in the crate using your regular command and a treat. Initially, it may be a good idea to put the crate in your bedroom or nearby in a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outside to eliminate during the night and you'll want to be able to hear your puppy when they whine to be let outside. Older dogs should also initially be kept nearby so they don't associate the crate with social isolation. Once your dog is sleeping comfortably through the night with the crate near you, you can begin to gradually move it to the location you prefer, although time spent with your dog—even sleep time—is a chance to strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Potential problems Whining: If your dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether they’re whining to be let out of the crate, or whether they need to be let outside to eliminate. If you've followed the training procedures outlined above, then your dog hasn't been rewarded for whining in the past by being released from their crate. If that is the case, try to ignore the whining. If your dog is just testing you, they'll probably stop whining soon. Yelling at them or pounding on the crate will only make things worse. If the whining continues after you've ignored them for several minutes, use the phrase they associate with going outside to eliminate. If they respond and become excited, take them outside. This should be a trip with a purpose, not play time. If you're convinced that your dog doesn't need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore them until they stop whining. Don't give in; if you do, you'll teach your dog to whine loud and long to get what they want. If you've progressed gradually through the training steps and haven't done too much too fast, you'll be less likely to encounter this problem. If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again. Separation anxiety: Attempting to use the crate as a remedy for separation anxiety won't solve the problem. A crate may prevent your dog from being destructive, but they may get injured in an attempt to escape. Separation anxiety problems can only be resolved with counterconditioning and desensitization procedures.

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Question
Bubba and Tickle
Jack Russell Terrier
8 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
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Bubba and Tickle
Jack Russell Terrier
8 Weeks

Two brothers!!

Should we be crate training them in separate crates?

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
257 Dog owners recommended

Hello! If they get along and aren't being territorial while in a crate together, you can crate them together. I have had customers over the years who crate train littermates together without any issues. But the second they start fighting in there, you will want to separate them.

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Question
Winston
Jack Russell
13 Weeks
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Question
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Winston
Jack Russell
13 Weeks

Our Jack Russell is 13 weeks,myself and partner took him out his first walk first 2 days together and he enjoyed his walk, when we have tired to take him out in his own he doesn’t want to go and cries/shakes sits and not interested in any enticement we do to encourage him to walk. He is scared of all traffic noises and bins but is ok with people and other dogs. He has also started being aggressive and trying to bite at night and doesn’t take notice of any distraction or firm no as he seems to be in a ‘zone’. We haven’t crate trained him though he has a pen where he sleeps fine tho doesn’t spend much time there during the day,I’m wondering if we should have crate trained him and how do we help him not to be so anxious/stressed.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1126 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kerrie, First, the fear of being outside actually shows that pup needs to be taken out a lot more, not less. Start with simply sitting outside with him for 30-60 minutes at a time at least, each day. Practice tricks and commands with treats, play games you can do on a leash, like short range fetch and tug, scatter treats for him to find (but make sure that grass or area hasn't been treated for pesticides). Whenever he acts brave, curious, or calm around something new - like a car passing or new noise - reward with a treat before he reacts fearfully. - you want pup to associate them with good things. Check out the free PDF e-book download, AFTER You Get Your Puppy, that you can download below. Don't worry about what you haven't done with socialization, but focus on the tips for how to help pup adjust in the future. While socially distancing, a long leash and outside interactions can be a great way to help pup adjust to things like people, a six foot leash and walking lots of places - starting by simply sitting with pup in a new area and acting confident, while rewarding pup's good responses, works well for things like noises. www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads For the biting, I do recommend crate training pup, since many pups get especially wound up when overtired, and often need a space to go rest and calm down - give a dog food stuffed chew toy in the crate during these times. You can use an exercise pen with this at first, but pup will eventually out grow that if they get big enough. If you choose to crate train, check out the Surprise method linked below: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate/ I also recommend teaching Out and Leave It though. Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Regular obedience and trick training to build trust, respect, focus and to simulate pup mentally can help with some anxiety. Teaching things like agility - where pup is exercising but also overcoming new things, and socializing pup are all good things to help with confidence in the long run. Pup temporarily having a hard time with something a bit new isn't always bad - as long as you can help pup work through it through regular exposure and practice - that can ultimately teach pup how to be more adaptable as an adult, rather than avoiding those things. The goal is to make sure it's not so hard that pup can't progress and improve with help, taking things a step at a time, and rewarding pup for successes. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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