How to Train a Jack Russell Terrier to Sit

Easy
2-10 Days
General

Introduction

Your Jack Russell is as lively as you would expect. They jump up and down as soon as you even look at their leash. When dinner time arrives they can be found tearing around your feet barking at the top of their lungs. You love seeing them this excited, it’s just a shame they don’t look forward to obedience training that much! Because your little terrier is just a puppy, you know the training they get while young will shape their temperament and obedience for life.

Therefore, training your Jack Russell to sit is important. It is the first step in a training regime that will probably span over a number of years. This type of training is fantastic for establishing yourself as pack leader and asserting your control. Not to mention, it’s a great way to spend some quality time with your little buddy.

Defining Tasks

Fortunately, training a Jack Russell Terrier to sit is pretty easy. This is because they are naturally pretty intelligent and respond well to training. The biggest obstacle comes at the beginning when you show them what you want them to do. However, once they understand that, you just need to reinforce training with consistent practice and an effective motivator.

If your Jack Russell Terrier is a puppy then they should be at their most receptive. This means you could see results in just a couple of days. But if they’re older and never been good at following instructions, then you may need up to 10 days. If you are consistent and training proves successful, you will have laid the foundation to teach a range of other, more advanced commands. As an added bonus, you’ll now be able to instruct your dog to sit before crossing a road or until you give them permission to eat from their bowl.

Getting Started

Before you get to work, you will need to check you have the essentials. The most important component is tasty treats or some of their favorite food broken into small pieces. A toy and a clicker will also be required for one of the methods below.

You will also need to set aside 10 minutes each day for training. Practice in a quiet room where you both won’t be distracted.

Apart from that, you just need enthusiasm and patience, then work can begin!

The Timing Method

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1 Vote
Step
1
Meal time
If you’re struggling to keep your dog's attention or motivate them, then try training at a different time. A particularly effective time to practice is half an hour or so before meals. This is when they will be most eager to please.
Step
2
Positioning
Give the command when you are standing in front of the dog while they are close to and with their back to a wall. This means they won’t be able to walk backwards to follow the lure, which could mean they sit much easier.
Step
3
‘Sit’
Give your ‘sit’ instruction in a playful voice, remembering that your pup will learn best if they think they are playing a game. Plus, hold eye contact as you give the command, this should further hold their attention.
Step
4
Reward
As soon as you see signs they are sitting, hand over a tasty treat or their dinner. Make sure they get it swiftly and throw in some verbal praise to further reinforce the point.
Step
5
Lose the treats
Practice several times each day. But as they improve, stop guiding the dog and just use the command. By this point they should associate the instruction with the action. You can then slowly cut out the rewards.
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The Food Lure Method

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Step
1
Getting ready
Lead your dog into a room and capture their attention with a treat. Stand directly in front of them and hold it in front of their face. Make sure they can’t get to it, but that they know something mouth-watering is inside your hand.
Step
2
‘Sit’
Now give the ‘sit’ command in a clear voice, but make sure you use a playful tone. Jack Russell Terriers learn best when they think they’re playing a big game. You can also use any word or phrase you like for the instruction, just pick something you'll stick with.
Step
3
Guide him
Now slowly rotate your hand over the dog's head. Move slow enough that their head naturally follows your hand, which forces them into a 'sit' position. You can also use your spare hand to gently push their bottom down to start with.
Step
4
Reward
Hand over a treat within three-seconds of them sitting down. Any longer and they may not associate the reward with the action. You can also give them some verbal praise and play with them for a minute or so.
Step
5
Consistency
Now all you need to do is practice a few times each day. The more often you practice, the sooner they will get into the swing of it. Once they are into a habit of it, you can slowly phase out the treats.
Recommend training method?

The Clicker Method

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Step
1
Get them clicker familiar
A clicker is an effective way to communicate with your Jack Russell Terrier. Used consistently, the sound of the clicker will act as a signal letting them know when they have behaved correctly, hopefully speeding up the learning process.
Step
2
‘Sit’
Hold out a toy or treat in front of their face and then give a ‘sit’ instruction. Make sure you give it only once though, otherwise they may think they don’t need to respond to you straightaway.
Step
3
Show them
Now you need to get them into the 'sit' position. So, take the lure and slowly move it up and over their head. As they try to follow the toy they should have no choice but to sit.
Step
4
Click & reward
As soon as they sit or nearly sit, you can click to let them know they have behaved correctly. You can then follow it up with a tasty reward or playing with the toy for a little while. Remember the happier they feel the more they will want to play the game again.
Step
5
Lose the rewards
Spend a few minutes each day practicing this trick with your Jack Russell. Once they are into the swing of it, you can then start to gradually cut out the rewards. Just continue to use the clicker to let them know they are on the right track.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Abby
Jack Russell Terrier
5 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Abby
Jack Russell Terrier
5 Years

Abby never learned to do anything like sit, lie down, or other basic commands. She will come, but its not always reliable. I started teaching her to sit, but I can't use treats as she looses her focus and will only stand up on her hind legs to beg for the treat. if i dont use treats, she only half pays attention to what im asking her to do. She won't lie down either and i'm starting to lose hope in being able to teach her anything.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
112 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ella, Thankfully, there is more than one way to teach sit. Using treats and luring a dog into the sit position is the most popular way because most dogs respond to those types of methods best, but not all dogs are the same. I have attached a link to a different article on teaching sit. There is a method called "The Pressure Method" there. Use that method. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-sit When you are first teaching her to sit using the "Pressure method either hide less exciting treats in your back pocket out of sight to show her and giver her AFTER she does the sit and not before, or use toys and a quick game of tug of war or a very short ball toss to her as a reward. I would also highly recommend simply integrating her sit training into the rest of her day and using life rewards to teach it. For example, when you take her for a walk, when you get to the front door, before you open the door, tell her to "Sit". Give her two seconds to think about it and then show her what to do using the "Pressure Method" from the article I linked above. When she sits with your help, praise her, then open the door and at the same time tell her "Okay" to let her know that she can get up. She will not be able to sit for long at first but include the "okay" because she will learn to hold the sit position for longer the more you practice it, and "okay" will let her know when it's okay to move. Other times to practice her sit are when she wants to go say hi to someone. Before she says hi have her sit with your help, then praise her and let her go greet the person as a reward after she sits. Have her sit before you put her food bowl down if she is not food aggressive. Have her sit before you throw her a ball. Have her sit before you pet her when she wants to be petted. Have her sit before you let her on the couch if she is allowed on the couch. Essentially, whenever she wants something during the day have her sit to earn it. Do this by telling her to sit, showing her how to sit by using the pressure method, and then letting her have what she wants as a reward for sitting down. This will not only help her learn to sit but will also increase her respect for you and help her learn to have better self-control and calm down. As she improves, giving her a couple of seconds to think about what you said before showing her what to do, should result in her sitting down when told to more and more on her own. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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