Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Potty Training Your Jack Russell Terrier Puppy

So, you have your JRT puppy and it is a bundle of love and excitement.  Cute, cuddly, and sweet.  But do not forget that a puppy is also a large commitment.  With a JRT more so than most.  And one of the more difficult aspects of owning a JRT is the most dreaded...potty training.

Jack Russell Terrier, Dog, Canine, Pet

I, personally, have two female senior JRT's.  I have potty trained both...twice.  Keep in mind that JRT's are a very empathetic breed, and when there are sudden changes in the household routine, in my case a death, they are very likely to backslide on any previous training they have been given.  In my case in particular, potty training.

My first go around with the potty training was when the girls were just a few weeks old, right after getting them.  It is essential to understand, that with a JRT's rambunctious demeanor, that their focus is sometimes limited.  They are quick to learn, but they are also very easily distracted as well.

Jack Russel, Sweet, Dear, Small Dog, Pet

When I potty trained the girls the first time around, I chose to go the positive reinforcement route. This worked really well for me, as they did train in no time.  But in  addition to the reinforcement, there were steps that needed to be followed on my side as well

The most crucial thing to keep in mind about potty training is consistency.  JRT's, more so than other breeds require a regular routine.  This is best started and established from day one.  If you start from day one with getting up at 7am, and having your puppy out to walk at 705am, keep to that schedule all week, every day of the week.  This will establish a time line for the puppy to understand that it will get to relieve itself at a certain time each morning.  If you work from home, or are a homemaker, then establish a time mid-way through the day so that the puppy will also understand that routine as well.

Dog, Dogs, Pet, Holland, Model, Outdoor

If you work out of the home, and are gone during the day, one of two ways to help with their potty training are puppy pads (if you chose to keep the puppy isolated in a specific area or room), or crate training.  It is pretty much a given fact that a puppy will not soil where it sleeps, so a crate is a great technique for training as well.

In my second go around with the girls, I was working out of the home, so I went the crate training method.  Although I was hesitant at first, this method proved to be faster, and more effective for them.   The one thing I did not want to do was have them see the crate as a form of punishment.  So the only time they are in the crate is when I am gone from the house, working, or at night when they sleep.

Dog, Jack Russell, Animal, Grass, Nature

You should walk the puppy when you get up and then again right before leaving the house. You would then put the puppy in the crate, and leave for the day.  Upon returning, you would immediately remove the puppy from the crate, and allow it to go outside.  When the puppy is finished, and you have praised it for its good deeds, you may bring it back in and allow it to move about the house, interacting with the family.

It is essential that the puppy knows that when it does its business outside, and not inside, that it has done good.  Praises such as sweet talking, hugging, and loving the puppy are great positive reinforcements.  In the case of my girls, these positive reinforcements worked.  Some JRT's require a little more incentive, and that is where using tiny nibbles of treats might work well.  Either way, positive reinforcement will get you a better result than negative.

Hunting Dog, Jack Russell, Terrier, Dog

There are those that claim by using positive reinforcement, or treats, lets the puppy have the upper hand.  In my experience, I can say that that is not always the case.  So, use the method that works best for both you and your puppy.

When the puppy is allowed to roam freely around its environment, it is crucial that you watch for "signs" of the puppy needing to go out.  With my own JRT's some of the signs are:  walking back and forth between where I am and the door;  plopping down to sit suddenly; pacing and acting very anxious, and the one they use the most is when they come and find me, look at me, then take off for the door.  When they exhibit the signs of needing to go out, do not hesitate.  Take them out, let them do their business, and praise them when finished.

Dog, Doggy, Jacket, Jack Russell

Training a puppy, in any aspect, takes patience and routine establishment from you...the owner.  The puppy needs you to teach it, and given the proper time and established practice, your JRT puppy will train in no time.

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