Do you want to train your Jack Russel Terrier to come when called? Professional trainers call this “recall” and teaching it is not difficult. However, it does take a little know-how, practice, and patience.
In this guide, we will show you how to train your Jack Russel Terrier the basics of a great recall, how to turn your training sessions into a fun game, and how to “proof” your dog’s recall so that it will work under even the most distracting circumstances.
A special note about Jack Russel Terriers:
It is important to keep in mind that Jack Russel Terriers have been bred to hunt vermin and they have an extremely strong urge to run after small game such as rabbits or squirrels when scented or spotted visually. It may be unrealistic to ever expect that he is going to choose any reward in your arsenal over the reward of the chase. This means that if you do not feel that it is safe for him to roam about on an adventure, then letting him off the leash, no matter how strong his recall, is taking a risk.
The basics of training your Jack Russel Terrier to have great recall are not difficult, but they do require some consistency and practice. Here are some tips to make sure your recall training is backed up with good practices:
You do not need fancy equipment to train your Jack Russel Terrier to come when called. Make sure you bring plenty of patience and excitement to your training sessions to make sure he stays engaged. In addition, keep your sessions short and fun so that he will look forward to learning with you and associate recall with a fun game.
Get a long line, either a leash or a sturdy rope that is 25’ or longer, before you start to work outdoors in a non-fenced area. This will allow you to safely be away from your dog without her being able to bolt after some prey. It will also let you enforce the recall by reeling her in if she gets distracted while outdoors.
Make sure you are using rewards that are really motivating for your JRT. Although treats can be great, make sure to use other rewards like tossing a ball, pats, and praise, or a quick game of tug. If your JRT does not know what she will get when she comes to you, it can add to the excitement and fun, making her recall stronger in the long run.
He only occasionally comes when I call him ☹️. Will this method work on a 7 year old?
Hello Isabel, I suggest following the Reel In method from the article I linked below. You can pair it with the fun recall games like round robin also, but you will need to practice with the long leash around distractions also to gain reliability. Reel in method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hiya, I adopted a dog who was apparently walked off leash before being rehomed. However, he sometimes runs away without warning out the front door or in a field, when we catch him he’s always wagging his tail. How would we train him to walk off leash and not run away? thank you
Hello Amelia, Check out the articles linked below on teaching an off-leash recall - which starts with a long leash and for you specifically will involve going places with distractions to practice recalls around the things pup tends to run off around. If dogs are a distraction for him for example, then you can get together with friends' and their dogs and practice the PreMack principle - allowing pup to go up to another dog only after he has come first - then greeting the other dog becomes the reward itself after checking in with you. Come and the PreMack Principle: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-to-come-when-called/ Reel In method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall An off-leash heel is generally started just like a normal leashed heel, then as pup improves you practice the heel on a long leash so that pup is following because they are paying attention to you and not dependent on the leash - but you can use the leash to guide back when needed and prevent pup from disobeying and having inconsistent training. Once pup can heel in places like your neighborhood on the long leash, then also go places where other dogs, squirrels, and other types of distractions and practice the long leash heel around more distractions - with pup learning to ignore distractions like other dogs unless told to "Say Hi". I personally prefer starting with a normal weight long training leash - like what you see online and in most pet stores, then going to an extremely light weight but strong one when pup is almost ready for complete off-leash work. The light weight helps the training transfer to off-leash better since pup is less aware of a leash being on them prior to taking it off completely. Whenever pup starts not coming or heeling again well, snap the leash back on for a month and do a refresher training course to deal with any issues - the refresher shouldn't take nearly as long as the initial training but at some point most dogs will test ignoring you again and need the refresher. Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel I also suggest teaching pup to automatically check in with you while off-leash. To do this, go to an open area - even a yard. Have small treats hidden in a treat pouch or pocket and pup on the long leash. Don't say anything to pup but slowly walk around, changing directions occasionally, even if pup isn't watching. If pup acknowledges you and comes toward you, praise and toss a treat to them. If pup doesn't catch up, let the leash give their collar a tug as the leash tightens, then reward if they come up to you to catch up after that. After pup has been rewarded with a few treats being tossed for turning toward you, then practice the same thing, praising pup following, but only giving a treat if pup comes all the way to you to take it from your hand without being told to. I like to practice this exercise periodically between practicing come and a more formal heel. All three serve different purposes and an off-leash dog needs all of them. The official heel will help pup stay close when pup needs to be right by your side - like around other dogs and in tight or more public spaces. The automatic following teaches pup to pay better attention while off-leash, and the come allow you to call pup back to you as needed - which can save pup's life. James Penrith from Take the Lead Dog Training also has a lot of great videos on Off-leash training. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoxuNKpmUs390K7x_rvgjcg Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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