Fall Sports for Your Jack

a Jack Russell Terrier running with a red ball in its mouth

Summer is over, and winter’s not yet here. The winds are up, the leaves are down, and — how could anyone have predicted this? — your energy-packed canine bud is ready for something new and interesting to do.

The fact is, a Jack Russell Terrier needs a lot of exercise. More than a lot of other breeds. If you’re lucky enough to have a Jack in your life, then you know how true it is.

Exercise won’t just keep your pup fit. It will also help them to maintain an emotional and mental balance, which can prevent destructiveness, alleviate stress, and certain behavioral problems.

Do you know how to tell if your dog isn’t getting enough exercise? Some of the symptoms, like destructiveness and hyperactivity, are pretty easy to spot. Others, like withdrawing or excessive barking, may surprise you.

In a way, it’s comforting to know that a good, regular romp around can not just help clear away the doggy blues, but can also prevent them.

But you’ve gone to the dog park, you’re all walked out. You need something new for your doggy day out. So, what can you try next?

We’re glad you asked.

Fall is a great time for sports. Here are a few that are tailor made for the clever, athletic Jack Russell Terrier.

Every Dog’s Best Friend

Your local pet store has aisles and aisles of products claiming to be the best dog toys around, the only toy your dog needs, and so on.

But they’re wrong.

When it comes to toys, there are two classics that almost no dog can get enough of: the ball and the stick.

Ho-hum, you might think. We’ve done everything you can do with a ball.

But have you?

A can of tennis balls is cheap, and can last a good, long time. And there are a lot more activities you can do with them than you might think. Try some of these.

Wall ball

Use a tennis racket to hit the ball against a wall, so your dog can chase it when it rebounds. You could also throw the ball at the wall yourself. The results are unpredictable, which makes it even more fun. Plus, it will help your pup to burn off a ton of energy.

A ball launcher

If you’re all worn out, but your dog still wants to go, a ball launcher can be a great solution! You can even train your dog to bring the ball back and reload the launcher themselves, like this little guy!

Aqua ball

Are you lucky enough to live in a warm climate? Are you also lucky enough to have access to a dog-friendly pool or body of water? Then why not combine this with ball play for an activity that is entertaining for everyone? Does your dog have dog buddies who like a swim? The more the merrier!

Canicross

This is a fancy word for “cross-country running with your dog.” If you’re the athletic type, like a lot of Jack Russell owners are, then this sport may suit you both to a T. What’s more, fall is a great time to do it.

Canicross started as an off-season training exercise for sled dogs. But over time it has become its own sport.

You can run with your dog informally, either off-leash or on. There are also organized Canicross events and governing bodies. A lot of Canicross enthusiasts use a special waist-belt to secure their dog’s leash. This keeps things hands-free for you, and safe for both you and your dog.

Disc Dog

You might also know the sport of “disc dog” as organized Frisbee. Turns out, in addition to the stick and the ball, a Frisbee is one of the all-time greatest dog toys.

But it can be much more than that. Disc dog, like Canicross, has evolved over time to be an organized sport. It’s also an excellent way for dogs and their owners to socialize with other dogs and their owners.

Disc dog competitors compete to see which dog can catch the most discs, the discs at the greatest height and/or distance, and catch discs with the greatest accuracy.

And if you — or your pup — have an artistic bent, you might want to try Musical Canine Freestyle using Frisbees as a prop. Check it out.

Earthdog

What on…er…Earth is that?

If you’re interested in developing your Jack Russell Terrier’s natural talents and helping them to use their powers for good, then you should check out Earthdog.

The Jack Russell Terrier originated as a hunting dog. Specifically, breeders bred them to follow quarry into their dens and hold them there until the hunter came to dig them both out.

Earthdog tests the natural abilities of short-legged terriers like the Jack to scent and track prey through man-made dens, tunnels and burrows. It’s non-competitive, and the quarry — usually two rats — are protected from the dogs at all times.

In the United States, formal Earthdog trials are governed by the American Kennel Club. But you don’t have to compete. You can also develop your dog’s natural tunnelling skills for their own merits.

Nosework

Nosework is less of a sport than an activity. Like Earthdog, you can use Nosework to sharpen your dog’s natural sniffing abilities and put them to a good use.

Nosework is pretty big, right now. You can often find classes at your local AKC, pet stores, training clubs, and other organizations. It’s fun to do on your own, but if you and your dog enjoy it and want to take it further, there are also organized competitions.

Nosework stimulates both body and mind. It’s also a terrific way to bond with your dog, as you work together. You can do it indoors or out. On top of that, it’s something that dogs, and humans, of all ages and varying physical abilities, can enjoy.

Are You Ready for Fall Sports?

We all need exercise for both body and brain. And the feisty, clever Jack Russell Terrier is no different.

Fall is a great time to get out and try a new sport. And how lucky we are that there are so many great fall sports to choose from.

So, which one do you fancy?

Featured Image: CC BY 2.0 by Sally9258, via Flickr