Parson Russell Terriers are big dogs trapped in a tiny package. They can run all day, all night and keep coming back for more. There is no fooling a Parson Russell, as he is highly intelligent, quick witted and an excellent problem solver. They are spirited terriers, fearless and sassy with minds of their own and aren't above causing mischief to get a laugh. Parsons are highly trainable and are famous for their high-jumping antics. When raised alongside children, Parson Russells make fine family dogs.
Their size may make them appealing to apartment dwellers, but Parson Russells are not apartment dogs. They need lots of wide open space to run and can feel cooped up inside a small apartment which will almost always lead to destructive behavior. Fenced in yards are a must, as Parsons will take off like a shot after cats, squirrels, rabbits, bikes, and even cars. They should always be supervised when outdoors because these little guys love to dig and not only will the make quick work of flower beds, but will dig under fences in seek of new adventures.
Daily activities should include both walking and time to run in the yard. Parsons love to chase balls more than anything else. They love it so much, in fact, that many owners believe their dogs are obsessed with playing ball. They will retrieve the ball as often as you are willing to throw it, and when you're done, he'll still want more.
“Earth dog” activities, where dogs are allowed to dig in search of rodents is also an excellent outlet for Parson Russells, as it satisfies their need to dig as well as their need to hunt. These activities are conducted with safety in mind, and the rodents are kept in safe enclosures, so that the dogs can't actually get to them.
Parson Russells are highly trainable dogs and soak up new tasks like a sponge. They are terriers, however and like all terriers, Parsons can exhibit stubbornness if they don't like the attitude of the person training them. Positive reinforcement and mixing up the daily training routine will keep your Parson Russell engaged and interested. Discipline and harsh tones will cause this dog to become defensive which may lead to snapping or biting.
Once basic obedience is mastered, Parson Russells should move on to advanced obedience, trick training and agility work. They thrive on new activity and will be at the top of their class in just about every activity they participate in.
Parsons exhibit many classic terrier traits including excessive barking, willfulness, rudeness to strangers, dog aggression, possessiveness and jealousy. Proper training and socialization from an early age can ensure an even-tempered dog.
Parsons should never be trusted off leash. They will take off like a shot after small animals and it is next to impossible to call them off.
Digging is a common complaint among Parson Russell owners. Turn your back on these guys for one second, and they can be halfway to the center of the earth. Keeping an eye on your dog at all times is important to keep your landscaping in tact and to ensure your Parson doesn't escape under the fence.