Jack Russell Terriers are notorious for their boundless energy, barking, and digging. What many people fail to grasp is that Jack Russell Terriers (JRTs) are hunting dogs, specifically bred for hunting small animal pests like rats, moles, squirrels and other critters. The skills which make him a great hunter can make your JRT a challenging house companion. Training your JRT to do what comes naturally provides an appropriate outlet for his energy, instincts, and natural talents. This may make him less likely to dig up your yard or tear open your sofa!
If you live rurally, a JRT can be a very useful method of pest control as they are skilled hunters and their small size allows them to follow quarry down burrows or into tight places. In spite of their small size, JRTs are successful hunters, due to their tenacious, aggressive hunting instinct. They will even go after larger after prey you would not expect them to tackle. Just be careful that his eyes aren't bigger than his bark and bite!
Training your JRT to hunt is more a matter of guiding his natural instinct and providing him with the means to take direction that allow you to control your dog while hunting. You will want to train your dog so he listens to you and can be recalled so he does not get lost. You will also want your dog to check in with you for direction and use his nose to locate prey or pests.
JRTs can go after small prey on the ground or may follow quarry down a burrow, confront the critter underground, and hold it there until you can dig out the pest. Many farmers and rural property owners find JRTs useful to control pests such as rats, gophers, groundhogs or other pests that damage crops. If you are competing, judges at trails will award natural hunting certificates or a below ground certificate, depending on what skills your Jack Russell demonstrates.
Have a good leash that you can easily slip on and off so you can keep control of your dog. Remember to pack water for you and your dog on outings and a flashlight in case hunts go longer than expected or you need to find your tenacious terrier in the dark. Also, having a dog that is in good physical shape for hunting and has a good grasp on obedience commands will make training for hunting much more successful. A ferret finder collar can be put on your dog for locating. This will accurately pinpoint your dogs location, even when he is a few feet under the ground, so you don't injure your dog with a shovel or crowbar while excavating game.