The Jack Russell is a favorite breed of dog all over the world, but they can also be an energetic handful!
First bred to hunt foxes though, this is not surprising. The breed can play fetch for hours, without stopping. But what about when it’s time to chill out for the day? When you leave a Jack Russell Terrier at home by themselves, will they relax, or will they become stressed?
And how long can you leave a Jack Russell alone? This is the question we’re going to answer in this post:
When can you start to leave a Jack Russell at home alone?
Did you know that you can start to train your Jack Russell to enjoy spending time by themselves from birth?
Think about it – this is much better than spending time with your Jack Russell 24/7 from a very young age, then suddenly disappearing to work for several hours a day.
Truthfully though, there’s no real answer to this question. Some people will say that you have to wait at least a year before you leave your Jack Russell Terrier at home alone, while other people would insist that at least two years are needed for your Jack Russell to fully get used to spending time by themselves.
But your Jack Russell should be at least fully toilet trained before you leave them at home by themselves.
Where should I leave my Jack Russell?
Though you may want your Jack Russell Terrier to get good quality sleep all day when they are at home, it is actually a good idea to leave your pooch in a bright enough area of your home, near a window that provides them with plenty of natural light.
That being said, make sure that there is nothing around that would present a hazard to your Jack Russell, like wires, buttons, small toys, or other dangerous things your pooch could chew on and ingest.
It will surprise you what seemingly innocuous household objects can quickly become extremely dangerous in a Jack Russell’s paws – doorstops can be pulled off, as well as couch feet and loose drawer handles, not to mention that surprise letter containing a new credit card!
Many Jack Russell Terrier owners actually like to crate-train their Jack Russell, so that the pooch is happy enough to spend all day in their cage when their owner is out.
Though this may seem cruel, it is one of the most effective ways of preventing a Jack Russell from getting their nose into what they really shouldn’t.
And of course, you should always leave your Jack Russell Terrier in an area in which they have access to plenty of clean, fresh water and some food.
If you are planning on crate training your Jack Russell Terrier, why not check out some of the great food and water bowls designed for crates?
These bowls are designed to clip or hook onto the walls of your Jack Russell Terrier’s crate, giving your Jackie more room to stretch out, and making your pooch less likely to accidentally knock over the bowls.
Water bowls designed for crates
Many a Jack Russell loves spending all day outdoors, lying stretched out in the sun. Indeed, most Jack Russell Terrier owners will be able to tell you of the extraordinary lengths their Jack Russell has gone to just to get a good sunbathing spot.
But unless you are home to intervene and limit your Jack Russell Terrier’s access to the rays, you really must keep your Jack Russell indoors if this is possible.
What should I do before leaving my Jack Russell at home alone?
Lots of people worry about leaving their pooch at home alone. Will they be okay? Will they be bored? Will they be safe?
These are all valid concerns. But unfortunately, these concerns can cause some owners to overreact when leaving home, tucking their pooch into their bed and petting them excessively on the way out the door.
But you don’t need to do this. Instead, just calmly toss your Jack Russell Terrier their favorite indestructible toy or treat when you’re leaving.
This will help to distract and comfort them at first, and also provide a safe occupation for them, keeping your Jack from chewing up anything they shouldn’t.
If you are still worried about your Jack Russell becoming anxious when you are out, why not consider leaving the radio on for your pooch to listen to when you are out?
This is a great way for your Jack Russell to relax, listening to the same sounds of people chattering that they are so used to hearing at other times.
These days, there are even CDs and podcasts made especially for dogs, in case an errant advertisement or sound effect – of another dog barking, or a squeaker – on the radio prompts your Jack Russell to bark frantically in confusion.
If you have the time before leaving, why not give your Jack Russell Terrier plenty of exercise before you head off? A good brisk walk is ideal, or you could go for a bonding fetch session together.
A calm, un-novel pre-heading out routine will show your Jack Russell Terrier that being alone is no big deal and just another everyday occurrence.
How can I prepare my Jack Russell Terrier to stay at home alone?
You can theoretically start to leave a Jack Russell puppy at home by themselves from a very young age,
just as soon as they are fully toilet-trained. But you must make sure that your pooch is also completely ready to spend extended periods by themselves. So, how do you do this?
Well, when you are at home with your Jackie and they are playing with a toy by themselves, chewing on a treat, or just lying around contentedly, try getting up and leaving the room for a certain time – to start with, around ten minutes.
Then the next day, carry out the same thing again for a slightly longer period.
If your Jack Russell still appears happy enough when you return to the room, keep testing your pooch for even longer, day after day, until you have a Jack Russell who’s happy to do their own thing, regardless of whether they currently have a human company or not.
How should I treat my Jack Russell Terrier when I come back in?
When you come back through the door from work or school, or just back into the room from a shorter training session, does your Jack Russell Terrier bounce up to you, whining in euphoria?
This is standard enough behavior for any dog when their owner comes back through the door.
However, how you respond to this behavior can predict whether your Jack Russell will start to become anxious any time you have to leave them alone.
If you fuss over them, petting your Jack Russell excessively and letting them jump up and lick you all over, this convinces your Jack Russell Terrier that they were right to worry when you left.
So instead, do feel free to pat your Jack Russell’s head if they gently greet you, but don’t corroborate their hyper behaviour.
This is what will let your Jack Russell Terrier know that being left alone for a while each day is routine and normal and that your Jack being expected to entertain themselves sometimes is no big deal.
For more on Jack Russells see my other posts below.
By Michelle McDaid