Can Jack Russell’s be left alone?

If you're like me and you want what is best for your Jack Russell. Here, you can find out if Jack Russells can be left alone and for how long.
Jack Russell sitting on grey sofa
My dog Pippy the Jack Russell Terrier

We can’t all be at home 247 because of our dogs, most of us go to work to make a living or have some other commitment outside of the house, if you’re lucky enough to take your Jack Russell with you this is perfect, but for many of us, we want a dog or have a dog but are worried to leave them at home. If you are wondering if you can leave them alone and for how long? I have had 4 Jack Russell’s, and I was working full time. Here I can explain and help you decide what can work best for you and your Jack Russell. I can give you some ideas on ways to help ease the concerns that you may have.

Can Jack Russells be left alone? 

Yes, Jack Russells can be left at home without any problems, depending on the age of your dog the number of hours that you can leave them can vary between puppies and adult Jack Russells. There are many ways you can ease the alone time or break up the day for your dog. Check out some of my ideas below.

Its the inevitable you will have to at some point leave your Jack Russell home alone, to either go shopping, to the pub, see family, friends and the biggest of all, to work. You need to work out the amount of time that you can leave your Jack Russell. Nothing worse than coming into a sad dog, or a dog that has angered your neighbours for continuous barking, some dogs even chew the furniture out of boredom or frustration. And, let’s not forget that nature will call and your Jack Russell will need to go potty at some point.

Jack Russell dog in a dog bed
Pippy in his bed just before I go to work.

Firstly let’s work out how many hours you can leave your dog at home for, the table below should help you achieve this.

How long can Jack Russell’s be left home alone?

 Age of Jack Russell

Time

Additional information and reasons

Puppy

1 – 2 hours a day

Puppies have smaller bladders and will need to go potty more often.

Adult dog

4 – 6 hours a day

They usually sleep when your not at home within this time.

Elderly Dog

2 – 6 hours a day

Depending on their health, they may need a lesser time, or if they have toilet problems.  

The above is a guide, and some Jack Russells can go a bit longer, and some can’t go as long, you will need to understand your dog to find their limitations.

The below can happen when your dog is left home alone for too long.

  • Scratching
  • Sad and depressed
  • Biting themselves
  • Chewing on furniture and furnishings
  • Howling and barking
  • Toileting

Most working days are 8hrs plus travel time getting to work, so if that is the case, don’t worry, there are other options for you and your dog.

Consider getting additional help.

Hiring a dog walker

You can consider getting a dog walker, search for locals in your area that are trusted. A dog walker will collect your dog and take them for a walk then drop them back at home. It’s quite costly, but you can then go to work without worrying about your dog.

Hiring a pop in service dog professional

If you don’t feel comfortable letting someone else take your dog out for a walk, you can hire a trusted dog person to do pop into your home and visit your Jack Russell. A dog professional can go round at a set time to your house let them out for the toilet and have a little playtime with them, then be on their way. Please be aware pop-in visits are also a costly service. 

Ask a neighbour or family member to check in on them.

If you don’t have the money to hire dog professionals to walk them or pop into your dog, your other option is to ask family members and see if they would be so kind as to pop-in to your dog. Another option is asking neighbours since they are nearby it wouldn’t take much to nip from their house to your house, that’s if you can trust them and they might even appreciate seeing a dog for some playtime. Doesn’t hurt to ask!

Head back home on your lunch break

Another option and this is what I used to do is nip back home on my lunch break. I even got a little bit more exercise a day. Since I worked 10-minute bike ride away from my house, and I had an hours lunch break. I was able to spend 30 minutes each day when I was doing an 8hr shift. You could speak with your manager and see if they can arrange for you to take your break in one go so you can care for your dog. Doesn’t hurt to ask!

Doggy daycare

Putting your Jack Russell into daycare is the most expensive option than all. However, you know they will be looked after and bouncing with joy meeting other dogs and having lots of playtimes. It’s defiantly the best option but a costly one.

Provide mental stimulation

Jack Russell with a dog toy in his mouth
Please provide them with toys when you leave the house

When your dog is at home, please provide them with toys and chews, this can keep them entertained longer whilst you are out of the house. We all know that Jack Russells love their toys.

Can Jack Russell’s suffer from separation anxiety? 

Yes, Jack Russells can suffer from separation anxiety, and since they are a breed that loves being around their owners and are very loyal to their owners, they tend to have it more commonly than other dogs.

Separation anxiety check

If your Jack Russell has been used to having someone at home all day, before you start on the full-time hours, you should complete the separation anxiety test. Jack Russell’s love being around their owners, so checking that they won’t suffer from separation anxiety before it’s too late would be a good idea. Read here on ways to spot, help and stop dog separation anxiety.

Where should you leave a Jack Russell Terrier when you go to work?

There are many options that you have. When I had Jack Russell puppies, they were in a playpen when I went to work. I also made excellent use of the Amazon Echo Show camera function. I would point it to the playpen, and I would do drop-ins from my mobile and check on my Jack Russells. When they were older, they had the run of the house as I could trust them and they were well trained. However, it’s up to you where you should leave your Jack Russell and depends on the dog as well. These are your options.

  • The whole house – Only if your Jack Russell is well trained
  • Your dog to be confined to one room – choose this option if your Jack Russell is slightly trained but needs more training.
  • Dog crate – This option will need additional help as being confined to a cage for 6 hours is a very long time.
  • A playpen – This is a good option as they have more room to move about and if not yet fully trained. It is a good idea to use a playpen for puppies, as you can also lay down puppy pads.

Whether you want to put them in a cage or let them have the run of the house, it’s entirely up to you. All of the options above are fine, you need to find out which one is best suited to you, and your Jack Russell. But please be warned if you opt for the crate the time of leaving your dog will be drastically reduced. So, you will defiantly need to consider the extra options above. 

Perhaps you will have a playpen or confine your Jack Russell to one room in the house. These are all fine. Always provide them with toys. I kept specific toys for when I was out of the house, so they didn’t get bored with them. Having tough toys and toys that are interesting is also a great idea. 

Before you leave your dog alone

Make sure they have been fed, watered and you have left freshwater out for them. You will also need to take your dog on a walk, burn off some energy and the chance to go to the toilet. This will help your Jack Russell settle down, and they will be much happier and relaxed when left on their own.

When you arrive back from work

dog in the garden
Let your JRT in the garden as soon as you arrive back

Check for any problems that may occur since you been out of the house, take them straight into the garden if you live in an apartment take them out for a walk. This will make them feel so much better and forget about any boring time that might have had.

If you have been out longer than expected

We all know that this is a possibility, and the main problem is that your dog would have wanted to go to the toilet. If he or she has gone to the toilet in the house, please do not tell them off. They aren’t meant to hold their toilet for so long and also a lot of dogs that are trained will be very upset by having no choice but to go. By telling them off, this will only make it worse. Just carry on with the normal routine of taking them out for a walk or in the garden.

The camera can help ease your anxiety. 

Like I mentioned above, I used Amazon Echo Show to spy on my Jack Russells and to check if everything was okay. This helped me so much with my anxiety as I was anxious about leaving them because after all, we love our dogs like our own children. There is also many specific camera’s that you can get on the market, but I already had the Amazon Echo Show and found another great purpose for it. Ps, you can talk to them through it also, but I never did as I think that it would confuse them and might make them excited, so my advice is only ever to use it to look at them, don’t engage.

Conclusion

We know that yes, Jack Russells can stay at home alone. However, there are a few details to consider and some additional planning involved. Don’t let this put you off getting a dog or getting out of the house and doing what you need to do. If we all thought like that no one will have any dogs, so by finding the best solution with the help from the above, you could have a long and happy relationship with a Jack Russell as a pet.

Additional help guides

The below may also be of use to you if you have a Jack Russell Terrier and would like to know more.

Can Jack Russell Terriers eat chicken?

Jack Russell Terrier Personality

Dog Separation Anxiety – What is it, and how can you stop it?

Share your tips

Do you have any tips? If so, please contact us we can add them to the above, this way with us all sharing our tips we are helping each other and all the lovely Jack Russells out there.

About the Author

Teresa loves animals and travelling around the UK! She currently has two dogs and two cats. She loves caring for and sharing her knowledge of pets. Qualified Dog Groomer and currently studying Canine Behaviour. She has been part of the Dog Friendly Team since 2016

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This site does not constitute pet medical advice, please consult a licensed veterinarian in your area for pet medical advice.