One thing is for certain – you know when a Jack Russell terrier is around – these little pocket rockets maybe short in size, but they more than make up for their lack of inches with their irrepressible personalities.
That said, they are terrific companions and fiercely loyal and, given the advice below, can be a wonderful family pet.
As with any new puppy, there are certain steps to follow before you make your final decision to ensure you end up with a dog that suits you and your family’s needs.
Again, it’s worth asking yourself a few questions that are better before you get a dog than further down the line, namely:
Will it fit your lifestyle? If you work all day and there’s nobody home until the evening, is it really fair to leave a young dog all alone? Will you be able exercise your Jack Russell and care for it properly? If there’s any doubt whatsoever, it may be better to wait until all the boxes are ticked.
If you’re happy, find a reputable breeder – preferably one that’s been recommended to you and has all the necessary paperwork to back up their claim that you’re buying a puppy that has been made available for all the right reasons and not because a regular litter provides some kind of side-line. It does happen.
When you’re happy and have agreed a price, insists on all the relevant documents that will be needed to register your pup.
Your first big decision is whether you want to neuter or spay when your dog is old enough. If you’re planning to breed at some point or show your dog, this obviously isn’t an option but the last thing you need is an unwanted litter so make your choice early on.
If you have young children, a crash course in handling a puppy is crucial because though these are a resilient breed, they still have bones that can break so teaching how to hold or pick up the puppy is a must. And tempting as it may be, try not to play fight or tease your pup – this could lead to aggressive traits as he gets older.
Also ensure your house is ready for an inquisitive puppy who will chew anything and everything – including live wires.
Do you have other pets? This should have been a pre-purchase consideration because, being a terrier, rabbits, mice, guinea pigs or suchlike will be considered fair game by any Jack Russell and could cause considerable upset. In fact, any animal that you might find in woods or forests would be in danger in this little dog’s company.
As with a number of smaller dogs, be prepared for lengthy toilet training. It could take six months or more for the penny to drop with a Jack Russell so brace yourself for plenty of cleaning up. This is not a dog with the high IQ of a border collie.
Training takes time so be patient – ditto with the obligatory obedience sessions. They can be sharp and smart, but they’re not always the sharpest tools in the box so persist because it’s well worth the effort. Simple commands such as stay, sit down and so on will eventually pay dividends and is a must for a dog that could follow the wrong path if allowed. Keep treats handy to connect good behaviour. There may be occasions when your patience is strained, but keep calm (literally) and carry on.
On-going care and vaccinations should be administered by a trusted vet – do some research online and find out if there’s a local surgery that specialises in Jack Russells – or ask fellow owners who they recommend.
The same preventions and care apply to Jack Russells as they do for all puppies – care for their teeth, coat and keep them free of fleas, ticks and worms. And find a diet that is both healthy and enjoyable – your vet or breeder will be able to help if you’re unsure, as well as leading pet shop store staff. Poor diet will result in problems and maybe a hefty vet bill, too.
It maybe that the above all sounds a bit negative – it’s not meant to be – but forewarned is forearmed and there is plenty of fun and laughter to be had with your Jack Russell.
Playful little fellows they love their walks and playtime with the family and long-haul UK holidays need not be a chore – they love a long ride in the car and will be apt to sleep most of the way, perfectly happy to be with everyone.
Just remember the golden rules and remember that you’re the boss – not him! Given half the chance and he’ll try and rule the roost. Training, a good diet, exercise and loads of love and you’ll have a happy pup and a terrific little member of the family.