Cheat Sheet

Jack Russell Terriers For Dummies

From Jack Russell Terriers For Dummies by Deborah Britt-Hay

Jack Russell Terriers are energetic and adorable dogs with a few special requirements when it comes to raising them. For example, your pet mouse or snake will be regarded as prey by a Jack Russell, so don’t get a terrier if you already have a rodent or rodent-eater. All puppies have special needs, and Jack Russells are no exception, so consult a pre-puppy shopping list before you bring your dog home.

Tips for Raising a Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terriers (JRTs) are lively and loyal companion dogs. Their unique quirks and interesting personality traits make it necessary to pay close attention to certain aspects of choosing and raising a happy, well-adjusted JRT.

When introducing a JRT into your home, keep these tips in mind:

  • Choose the puppy or dog that best fits your criteria, based on your family’s needs, desires, and lifestyle.

  • Be sure to get all the paperwork necessary to register your dog when you pick up your puppy. It is much harder to secure these documents after you’ve left the breeder’s house.

  • Unless you’re positive you want to show or breed your JRT, have your dog spayed or neutered to prevent an unwanted litter.

  • Prepare both your children and your existing pets for the arrival of a new puppy or dog. Set “rules of the road” for your children so they know how to handle the new pup. Understand that existing pets may need some time to adjust to the new addition.

  • Keep in mind that not all pets mix well with a JRT. Anything resembling a rodent (such as a rat, rabbit, or guinea pig) or any animal seen in the wild (such as a snake) will be considered prey by your terrier.

  • Puppy-proof your house prior to bringing your JRT home. Many common household items can be dangerous or deadly to your puppy if preventative steps aren’t taken.

Training your Jack Russell Terrier brings specific challenges:

  • Realize that your Jack Russell may take longer to housetrain than other dogs you may have owned. It’s not that they aren’t as smart; they simply have their own agendas and could take six to eight months to accept your program.

  • Setting the pack hierarchy right off the bat is an important part of JRT training. Your terrier needs to know that you’re the top dog. Be careful not to antagonize an overly aggressive dog, however, and realize that setting a superior position doesn’t mean intimidating or abusing your terrier.

  • Obedience training is extremely important for a JRT. All Jack Russells should know the basic commands (sit, down, stay, and come) and should perform them consistently.

  • Obedience training takes patience and practice. This means you must be involved in your terrier’s training and must reward and reinforce the commands on a regular basis.

  • Preventing unwanted behaviors from developing is easier than stopping them after they’re learned.

  • You may encounter some tough behavior challenges when training your JRT. Stay calm, keep your temper firmly in check, and approach the solution with a clear head and plenty of patience and understanding.

Caring for your Jack Russell Terrier requires good health habits and routine check-ups:

  • Choose your veterinarian with the same care you use when choosing your family doctor. Don’t be afraid to ask questions regarding services and fees. Be sure to take your terrier in for his vaccinations and address any medical concerns with your vet.

  • All dogs, including JRTs, require routine health care such as worming, coat-and-dental care, and flea-and-tick control to stay healthy. Don’t neglect these day-to-day health issues.

  • Select a dog food that’s appropriate for your JRT’s age and activity level and stick with it. Changing foods can cause digestive upset in your JRT and can lead to allergies or skin conditions. If you’re not sure what to feed your dog, consult your vet.

  • Older terriers and those with special needs require additional attention and care. Be sure to check with your vet if your terrier falls into this category and discuss options to keep him comfortable and healthy.

  • Give your Jack Russell Terrier plenty of room to run and lots of time and exercise with the family. Your JRT needs your attention and won’t be happy if left alone in the backyard.

  • JRTs love to play and need you to be involved in their exercise. Choose fun activities such as beach excursions, terrier trials, or agility training to keep your family and your terrier interested and exercised.

  • Traveling with your JRT need not be a trying event. Plan ahead and do some basic training prior to your trip. You may find your JRT to be a charming traveling companion.

Many of the odd things your JRT does are normal for the breed. All Jack Russells are a bit strange!

Shopping List for Your Jack Russell Terrier Puppy

Before you bring your Jack Russell Terrier puppy home, you need to go on a pre-puppy shopping spree. Following is a list of items you need when you bring your puppy home. As your puppy gets older, you can add more items to the list.

A harness (not a collar) suitable to your puppy’s size Toys such as balls or Frisbees (latex is best) — avoid toys with small parts that your puppy may pull off and swallow accidentally A first-aid kit for emergencies
A nylon or web leash (the adjustable kind is best) Chewies made of hard nylon for teething and keeping teeth clean Nail clippers
A retractable leash for when you start taking your puppy for walks An antichewing preparation or spray to keep your puppy from chewing on your furniture, slippers, and the like A sweater for chilly days
A long training leash for obedience training A doggie bed (a padded box will do) with plenty of soft cloths or blankets — avoid wicker because your puppy undoubtedly will chew on it Shampoo
A cage or crate large enough for your puppy to stand up in when inside A brush and comb Flea and tick products
Housetraining pads if you choose to use them A pooper scooper An exercise pen if you want to keep your puppy confined within the house in an area that’s larger than his crate
Two sets of flat-bottomed bowls for food and water — one big enough for home and a smaller set for travel A baby/child gate to keep your puppy confined A collar and a tag (that contains his name and your name, address, and phone number) for when the puppy is a bit older
A bag of the same type of food that your puppy was fed at the breeder’s facility
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