How Much Exercise Does A Jack Russell Terrier Need? [Complete guide for all life stages]

Jack Russell Terriers are high energy dogs that require adequate exercise and stimulation to keep them happy. They were originally bred to hunt foxes from dens, so they needed to be agile little dogs with loads of energy. When Jack Russell Terriers don’t receive regular exercise, they tend to bore easily and can become destructive, sometimes leading to aggressive behaviors.

How much exercise does a Jack Russell Terrier puppy need?

Puppies certainly don’t need as much exercise as adult Jack Russell Terriers, so it’s important to keep track of how much they are getting and ensure they don’t overdo it. Their joints and the growth plate at the end of their bones are still developing and too much exercise could cause damage as they grow. On the other hand, not enough exercise, puts them at risk of obesity and behavioural issues.

Puppies 3 months of age and older, should have 5 minutes exercise for every month they are old. That means, a 3-month-old puppy would need 15 minutes of exercise and a 9-month-old puppy would need 45 minutes of exercise per day.

Walking is the best form of exercise for a Jack Russell Terrier puppy. Running should be avoided because as mentioned above it’s not suitable for their joints. Furthermore, consistency is the key and building up the duration of exercise should be done slowly. It wouldn’t be wise to have sporadic short walks during the week and then expect your puppy to go on hour long walks on the weekend.

It’s also important that puppies have plenty of sleep to recharge for those zoomies!

How much exercise does an adult Jack Russell Terrier need?

Jack Russell Terriers 12 months of age and older, need at least 60 minutes of exercise each day to keep them happy and healthy. This can in be done all at once or be spilt into two or more sessions. The best exercises for an adult Jack Russell Terrier is walking, running, swimming or games or a combination of these activities.

Many Jack Russell Terrier owners choose to exercise their terrier twice a day – once in the morning and then again in the afternoon. This helps to keep them stimulated by spacing out their exercise throughout the day. However, it really depends on what suits your lifestyle. Whatever you choose, it is important to remember that routine and consistency are vital for keeping your terrier happy and exercised.

How much exercise does a senior Jack Russell Terrier need?

Just like humans, as Jack Russell Terriers get older, they will start slowing down. However, it is still important they get plenty of exercise to prevent obesity and ensure quality of life in their later years.

Walking is probably the best form of exercise for your older Jack Russell Terrier. As they get older, it is important to be mindful of their limitations and not push them further than they want to go.

A senior Jack Russell Terrier, over the age of 8 years old, still needs 60 minutes of exercise per day but it should be spilt up into 2 or 3 intervals. For instance, a 30-minute walk in the morning and a 30-minute walk in the afternoon.

Choosing the right time of day to exercise a Jack Russell Terrier is definitely more important as they get older. They can become dehydrated more easily on hot summer days and on cold days they can be more susceptible to arthritic conditions.

Always look for signs like excessive panting or sitting and refusing to move that tells you your Jack Russell Terrier is uncomfortable or tired before undertaking or during any exercise.

How much exercise is too much for a Jack Russell Terrier?

The amount of exercise your Jack Russell Terrier needs really depends on their age and overall health. It is important to monitor your terrier’s energy levels and if they still have pent up energy, then they probably need more exercise.

However, if they appear flat and exhausted, it may be necessary to reduce their amount of exercise and let their body recover. Signs that you are over-exercising your Jack Russell Terrier to watch out for include:

  • Excessive panting during or after the exercise
  • Extreme thirst
  • Lagging behind when they are normally stepping out in front
  • Lameness, limping, stiffness, or a reluctance to walk or continuing to exercise
  • Appearing exhausted after the exercise, or sleeping or laying down more than normal

If your Jack Russell Terrier shows any over exercising signs, it is best to reduce the amount of exercise for a few days or more. Once they have recovered, it is important to build up again slowly and monitor them closely for any signs of over-exercise.

How can I keep my Jack Russell busy when I’m not home?

Chances are if you are regularly exercising you are Jack Russell Terrier and they still spend a lot of time tearing the house apart, they could be lonely or bored and needing more attention.

This is where having a second Jack Russell Terrier or other companion could be the answer.

The idea of having two dogs can seem overwhelming, but they will keep each other company when you’re at work, school, or out running errands. If your Jack Russell Terrier struggles with separation anxiety, a second dog can be there as an emotional support offering the attention they need to stay calm, cool, and collected. Plus, they’ll have a new playmate to focus on rather than destroying your house!

What are the best types of exercise for a Jack Russell Terrier?

Walking with your Jack Russell Terrier

Walking is probably the easiest and most common form of exercise for your Jack Russell Terrier. This seemingly simple task has a positive impact on many aspects of your terrier’s (as well as yours) overall health.

When choosing a leash for your Jack Russell Terrier, it should be comfortable for both you and your terrier and not too long – four to six feet is ideal. You might also consider using a harness rather than a collar to avoid strain on your terrier’s neck.

Running with your Jack Russell Terrier

Running is a fantastic way for you and your Jack Russell Terrier to exercise together. There are many types of belts and attachments and leashes for you and your terrier to use. It’s important to ensure that whatever you use does not restrict any part of your terrier’s natural movement when running. Some good running shoes for you are important too!

It is important to remember that running is not suitable for puppies as the growth plate at the end of their bones is still growing, making them more prone to injury. Similarly, running isn’t advisable for older terriers as it can be hard on their aging joints, especially those with arthritic issues.

Jack Russell Terriers, like humans, need to start off running slowing and for shorter distances to build up their endurance. Could you imagine what would happen if you clipped on their lead tomorrow morning and took them on a 5-mile run? There’s a good chance they would be that sore, that they wouldn’t want to go again the next day.

It is best to start by doing an easy mile and work your Jack Russell Terrier up to longer distances if everything goes well.

Swimming with your Jack Russell Terrier

Swimming can be an amazing exercise for Jack Russell Terriers and for the most part they love to swim.

One minute of swimming is equal to four minutes of running, which means just 15 minutes of swimming a day could be all the exercise your Jack Russell Terrier needs. That is a huge saver for the time poor!

Swimming is low-impact and non-weight bearing, meaning it allows your Jack Russell Terrier to enjoy exercise without putting stress on their joints and tendons. It also improves your terrier’s range of motion which allows them to move in a different way to when running or walking. This makes swimming an especially beneficial form of exercise for Jack Russell Terriers with joint disorders such as arthritis or dysplasia.

Playing fetch with your Jack Russell Terrier

Fetch is a great form of exercise as it is fast paced and fun and Jack Russell Terriers just love chasing moving objects. Once you teach your terrier to fetch and bring it back to you, it is a great way for them to burn off some of that energy. It is also easy on the owner and suitable for less active people.

For puppies, it is important to use rubber ball or object to fetch rather than a stick to avoid damaging their teeth.

Playing tug of war with your Jack Russell Terrier

There’s an old school myth that playing tug of war with a dog can lead to dominance and aggression. Truth is, there is no evidence to suggest a link between a game of tug of war and behavioural issues. By letting your Jack Russell Terrier “win” during a game of tug of war you are teaching them that engaging with you is fun and rewarding.

It is important though, not play tug of war with a Jack Russell Terrier that is already aggressive or showing early signs of aggression. Tug a war won’t make your terrier aggressive but it might intensify unwanted behaviours that are already present.

The best toys for tug of war should be durable and flexible and are typically made from rubber or rope. They normally have a comfortable handle on one end that keeps your hand away from the dog’s mouth. 

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