Jack Russell Terriers may be small, but they are full of energy and determination.
Originally bred for foxhunts, the Jack Russell Terrier requires constant stimulation to stay mentally and physically healthy. Giving your Jack Russell Terrier a job is one of the best ways to meet their needs.
These jobs might be able to help you find a good balance for your Jack Russell.
Jack Russell Terriers were bred for foxhunts, so fieldwork and prey-drive-based jobs are best for them. Consider agility-based competitions and sports, hiking, and chase games. To help indulge your Jack’s prey drive safely, enroll him in Earth Dog classes and competitions.
The following jobs can help stimulate your Jack Russell Terrier.
Keeping them happy and healthy can be simple! You may even want to combine a few of these jobs for the best possible outcome.
Do Jack Russell Terriers Need a Job?
Jack Russell Terriers were bred specifically to hunt foxes. As a result of generations of careful training. Even Jack Russell Terriers today are intense, determined, and driven.
Their primary role on a fox hunt was to drive the fox from its den, or else stay with the fox until their owners arrived to ‘remove’ the pest.
Since they were bred specifically for these traits, it can be extremely beneficial to give your Jack Russell a similar job.
Their prey drive and hunting instincts can be indulged in safe, humane ways due to a variety of sports, training exercises, and play scenarios.
However, you don’t have to stick to prey-based jobs or play. Jack Russells are extremely intelligent and will take on whatever task you give them, including puzzle toys, command training, and more.
No matter how you choose to entertain your Jack Russell Terrier, they’re sure to enjoy the extra stimulation – and they need a lot of it!
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Consequences of a Bored Jack Russell Terrier
Jack Russell Terriers need a lot more stimulation than some dog breeds. They aren’t couch potatoes by any means, so you’ll have your hands full with walks, exercise, and play if you choose to add a Jack Russell to your home.
Stimulation isn’t an option with this breed. You have to provide ways for them to vent their energy and stimulate their minds. They are extremely intelligent and will find tricky ways to entertain themselves otherwise.
Bored Jacks can bark or chew excessively, may chase other animals or smaller animals around your home, and be destructive with your furniture or belongings.
To avoid these outcomes, don’t leave your Jack alone for too long. Give him a job, and offer some options for entertainment throughout the day.
The following jobs can help you avoid a bored Jack Russell Terrier.
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20 Stimulating Jobs for Your Jack Russell Terrier
Since stimulating your Jack Russell is important, you may need to combine several of these jobs and activities to keep them occupied. Get creative with it and your dog will have a blast!
Water Activities for your Jack Russell
1. Dock Diving
If Jack knows how to swim, dock diving may be an important activity for him. Dock diving is an enhanced fetch activity.
Essentially, your Jack runs and launches himself off a dock to catch a toy in the air. The higher or longer he jumps, the better his score will be.
Of course, some events and activities just allow the dogs to have fun. For the smaller, more compact Jack, this might be a better fun activity.
2. Free Swim
Though all dogs are different, most love to swim. Jacks are no different. Free swimming in the lake or pool can be a great way to burn off some excess energy, especially if your dog enjoys the water.
Bring a few of his favorite water toys with you. If you visit a pool with chlorine, make sure to wash him clean as soon as the activity time is over.
3. Kiddie Pool Attendant
If you don’t want to take your Jack Russell to the lake every time he wants to swim, installing a small area with a kiddie pool can be a stimulating activity.
Fill a small kiddie pool with water (about halfway) and put some of his water toys inside. You can try different fetch activities and teach him to try and keep the toys in the water.
Otherwise, he may enjoy splashing around.
Outdoor Activities for your Jack Russell
4. Hiking Trips
Though Jack Russell Terriers have small legs, they may enjoy extended hiking trips or other long walks on uneven terrain.
Since they were bred to chase down foxes, make sure to keep them on a rather short leash while you’re hiking.
Day hikes can be a great way to keep your dog happy and healthy while enjoying some time in the great outdoors.
5. Go Camping with your Jack Russell
Just like hiking, camping can be a great activity for select Jack Russell Terriers. Make sure that your Jack isn’t going to bark at everything that moves outside, and keep him restrained to prevent any mishaps with the local wildlife.
Otherwise, camping and all that it entails can be great for your Jack.
Indoor Activities with your Jack Russell
6. Alarm Clock
Energetic Jacks are all too happy to wake up your household when they’re ready to play. You can use this energy to help get your kids out of bed in the morning.
Make it your Jack’s job to run into their bedrooms and get them up. It’ll be fun for your Jack Russell Terrier and your kids.
7. Housework Help
Jack Russell Terriers possess a keen intelligence. You can train them to perform just about any task or trick.
Getting them to help with the housework – even if it’s just small things – can be a great way to get them involved in something you’re already doing. They can pick up their toys, clean up after your kids, and more.
8. Hide and Seek
Jack Russell Terriers love being around their humans. It’s only natural that a game like Hide and Seek, which forces them to find you in increasingly more difficult ‘hidden’ locations, can help them socially and mentally.
Tell them to sit and wait, and then give them the cue to find you when you’re ready. Your Jack will be happy to search the house to find your hiding spot.
Backyard Jobs for your Jack Russell
9. Play Frisbee with your Jack Russell
Frisbee is a classic dog game, one that your Jack Russell will enjoy. Make sure to toss the Frisbee a little closer to the ground to accommodate your Jack’s shorter legs.
Otherwise, toss it over and over again and encourage him to catch it!
10. Obstacle Courses
Obstacle courses are fun ways to give your Jack a more challenging running course.
Use sturdy materials such as plywood, barrels, and obstacle course kits to create a series of jumps, tunnels, and hoops for your Jack to jump through. You can time him to see how he’s improved!
11. At-Home Earthdog Courses
Jack Russells are natural earthdog competitors, but you don’t have to take him to competitions. You can create an earthdog course to challenge your pup right in your backyard.
You can use the more expensive wooden liners, or you can start with cardboard boxes. The important part is to lay a scent and give your dog plenty of opportunities to burrow.
12. Extreme Fetch
Standard fetch is a great activity for your dog, but Jack Russell Terriers might get bored easily. Extreme fetch uses multiple balls at once.
Throw all of them and let your dog sniff out their locations and bring them back to you one by one. He won’t be quite as bored when he’s hunting down fetch balls!
13. Puzzle Toys
Jack Russell Terriers love toys, so getting him some toys that challenge his mind can be perfect.
Some toys involve hiding small stuff animals in a stump or other tunnel-like plush, which is ideal for your Jack’s earthdog breeding.
Other puzzle toys include ruffle mats, Kongs, and hidden treat toys.
14. Lick Mats and Other Meal Toys
Meal toys can be a great way to entertain your dog while they eat. Some toys feature flipping cylinders, hidden kibbles, and other ways to keep your dog guessing as he eats.
These can also help slow eating if that’s a problem for your Jack. Lick mats are a sensory experience that’s a bit more passive, but still soothes your Jack’s wild energy.
15. Tug of War
Tug of war is another classic game to play with your dog. Jack Russells love the competition of a game of tug of war, but make sure to be careful with their teeth.
Never pull too hard.
You might hurt your dog if you pull the rope with all of your strength.
Training and Sports for your Jack Russell
16. Earthdog Trials
Earthdog trials are events or competitions specifically created for Jack Russells and other burrowing terrier breeds.
These trials involve manmade tunnels, ‘dens’, and scent work that allows your dog to find the critter at the end. No critters are harmed, so it’s a humane way to indulge your Jack’s prey drive.
The training might be a bit expensive, and most of it can’t be done at home. Still, pursuing this activity can be as easy as looking into your local training scene.
Though Flyball is typically a sport for larger dogs, your Jack may enjoy the trials and practice runs. Flyball is a competition sport that uses jumps, balls, and small hurdles to create an obstacle course.
Instead of being driven by food, the dog is driven by the desire to go after the ball. The catching and retrieving aspect makes it great for dogs that need stimulation.
However, Flyball requires specialized training that must be done by a professional. It can be fairly expensive to train a dog for Flyball, particularly if you want to compete.
Still, the training itself can be a great way to keep your Jack Russel Terrier happy.
18. Scent Work
Since Jack Russel Terriers were bred to find wily foxes by scent, they might be great candidates for scent dog work.
Scent Work activities include specialized training and patience. The dog is introduced to a strong essential oil scent. A cotton swab with the scent is hidden on a course, and the dog has to sniff it out.
It’s a great, stimulating activity – and your Jack Russel will be very determined to get the job done!
19. Flying Disc
Some Jacks might also enjoy Flying Disc, a sport or activity that is less expensive to train than some of the other sports we’ve looked at so far.
Flying disc is a natural continuation from frisbee, though the disc doesn’t arc or return in the same way. With patience, dedication, and an understanding of your dog, you may be able to train them yourself.
As with all of the sports here, you can play Flying Disc at home with your dog. The training is part of the fun, even if your dog doesn’t enjoy the competitive aspect.
20. Trick Commands
Finally, your Jack Russell Terrier’s advanced intelligence and eagerness to please can create the perfect opportunity for some great trick or command training.
Jack Russel Terriers are great at learning new tricks if you are patient enough to teach them to understand. There are so many different tricks you can teach your Jack – starting with the basic ‘roll over’, ‘sit’, and ‘shake’.
From there, try to increase the difficulty of jumping through hoops, weaving back and forth between obstacles, and ringing bells.
Keeping your Jack Russell Terrier busy can be a lifelong commitment. However, a busy Jack is a happy Jack! Offering your dog at least a few of these jobs is the key to a great life with your canine companion. This intelligent, energetic breed will reward you for the extra time spent entertaining them!