Every pooch has its own individual personality. There are really just little differences in each particular breed that make up their individual quirks and characteristics. These unique traits may aid in the training sessions or make your job even more difficult to accomplish. With this breed, one of the traits that stand out is that of the extra energy they seem to contain. Among all the dog breeds, it is one of the top energetic and active dogs.
Initially these dogs were bred for the purpose of hunting and later on the agility of these dogs became evident along with their need to express some of that boundless energy in other ways than hunting. High energy dogs can be a bit more difficult if you skip over the training and simply expect them to behave through some type of osmosis. Which is why some type of training is a must, and clicker training is one tool that can really be quite helpful for this particular breed.
Using clickers when used properly can truly offer great results. Even Jack Russell puppies as young as ten weeks old will respond to this type of training.. Note however, that puppies tend to have shorter attention spans than grown dogs.
The clicker is really pretty simple. It’s plastic and shaped so that when you push on it, it makes a clicking sound. The human ear can pick it up easily, which means it will be very distinct to a dog’s far more acute sense of hearing.
While this sounds is very simple in nature, the dog will soon understand it’s purpose. Not in the way humans understand, but in their own doggy type of understanding which is sometimes referred to as programming. Basically, after the start of your training sessions, Jack Russell’s will begin to associate that the clicker means “perform this act for praise”.
As soon as your dog or puppy understands that the sound of the clicker means praise or treats are coming, they will work hard to identify the command you’re giving and respond to it.
The idea is simple. Dogs are conditioned to perform certain actions. Humans can think through a process and recognize benefits of performing far down the road. A dog cannot. A dog needs immediate feedback telling them that sitting when you say “sit” is good. A clicker provides that instant conditioning feedback.
Training Jack Russell’s with Your Clicker
The initial step to take would be to inform the dog that the sound that a clicker makes is somehow related to what it does and what it will do. The process called classical conditioning is a causal connection to two actions. Action begets reaction.
In this case, you will use the clicker and then give your dog a treat. For each Jack Russell, the amount of time it takes to make the connection varies. In my experience, though, they figure it out pretty fast – usually in no more than an hour over the course of a day or two.
When your Jack Russel is then able to equate the clicker with gastronomical delights, it would then respond positively whenever it senses the sounds that it makes. The next step would be to convince the dog that there must be an action that it must perform prior to receiving those treats. Assist them and physically exhibit what you want your dog to perform.
Training Jack Russell’s gets far easier at this point. Whenever the Jack Russell performs the action you’re targeting, you will click your clicker and then reinforce their behavior with a treat or reward.
The moment that the dog becomes familiar with the tasks that they are supposed to do, you may then give constant variations performed in different scenarios, to make them aware that the command applies in any and quite possibly all circumstances.
Finally, add a command to the process and teach the dog to follow a verbal cue – in this case “sit” or “speak”. Over the course of a few days, the dog should be able to perform the trick without needing to hear the clicker.
Remember to only do one command at a time. Training Jack Russell’s with more than one command at a time can be confusing. Don’t worry – they will remember. You’ve just planted a seed deep in their brain and it’s unlikely to dislodge anytime soon.